It is a quiet Thursday night.
I have been at home all day, but then, I wanted to stay in.
Like most of the other members of our species, after thinking about the many things that I could do such as, taking out the trash, clearing the pile of laundry lying at a visible distance, or doing the dishes that have been in the sink for so long I bet I saw a mini ecosystem developing around it this morning, I finally decide that the best thing for me to do would be watching the good ol’ telly.
I have repeatedly seen all 236 episodes of F.R.I.E.N.D.S so many times that I have now reached a point where I have started noticing a lot of things that escaped my attention during my initial viewings of the show.
The changing artwork in the coffee house, Chandler Bing’s fluctuating weight, Joey’s different hairstyles, the wooden pole jutting out in the living room supporting the set, actors standing near windows and doors waiting for their cue, and so on and so forth.
For the first time, however, my thoughts are drawn toward the studio audience.
I wonder if the laughs are organic or forced.
At least in the case of a show like F.R.I.E.N.D.S,I can vouch for the authenticity of the laughter, the jokes were after all incredibly funny. But then I think about shows such as the King of Queens, a sitcom that dragged on for 9 long seasons which in spite of a stellar cast and interesting premise felt more like a punishment to me than entertainment.
‘I really have to find something better to do with my day’, I tell myself, and my eyes start scanning the room again.
I hear sounds from the kitchen and my imagination starts going wild, I wonder if gremlins are coming to life in the sink amidst all the debris. I stare at the laundry basket and worry if some of the clothes have moved out of their secure location to the floor by themselves.
Fortunately for me, my eyes land on the date and time showing at the bottom right corner of my computer screen and I instantly break out of my funk.
One more day before another year comes to an end, and a few more hours before I step out into the cold for my favorite tradition of taking a walk on New Year’s Eve.
After letting out a deep sigh, I start my review of 2015.
And as I always I begin by thinking about how fast it went by.
Just to make sure that I am not the only one who feels the same way, again, as always, I call my mother and she agrees with me (of course, after shouting at me for waking her up in the middle of the night).
2015 went past us like a blur.
I dive deep into the sea of memories in my head and swim around for a long time before I realize that even though 2015 was a very eventful year, three things particularly, stood out from the rest.
Although mostly unplanned, 2015 for me was a year of travelling.
In my 28 years of being on this planet I have never travelled as much as I did this year, I am not sure if I will ever beat the record in the future (though I hope to God that I do), but over 50,000 miles across 3 continents in planes, trains and automobiles is definitely a young man’s game :-)
"Travelling really is the ultimate test of a person isn’t it"? Billy my co-passenger asked me soon after our flight to Baltimore landed at the airport.
We had experienced multiple delays that morning, our landing was rough and, even though I wasn’t eavesdropping I noticed Bill’s laptop run out of charge just before he could save a presentation he was planning to deliver at a meeting later that day.
A few deep breaths later, he composed himself, found a charging spot at the airport, and got back to work.
It took me some time to understand what he had just said, but when I thought about it, his words made so much sense to me.
We can test our limits only by stepping out of our comfort zones, this happens all the time when we travel. Our capacity to adapt, reinvent ourselves, make quick decisions, and improvise on the spot are tested constantly when we are on the move.
For every mile I travelled, and for all the experiences along the way I am grateful.
Wait a minute.
I’m not talking about myself.
But yeah, 2015 was also a year when most of my friends got married, engaged or into serious relationships.
23 people to be exact. 46 if you include their better halves.
One of them very lovingly referred to his wife as an 'incurable wound' in his wedding announcement (still trying to wrap my head around that one).
I rejoiced with every notification on my social media pages and all the invites that showed up at home and in my mailboxes online. The idea of someone finally finding that special person in their life was something worth celebrating.
I think the only reason humanity is still around is because, in spite of all the wrong that happens around us, there is still love to be found, that fact that people are still falling for each other getting married is proof of this.
A year of learning.
I will remember 2015 as a year when a many of my personal theories about life were disproved.
Take for example, the theory I had about making friends.
I had always believed that as we grow older, it becomes increasingly hard to make friends, but this theory of mine turned out to be absolutely wrong.
All it takes to get through to someone is being able to spend quality time with them, even if it’s just 2 minutes. Nothing else matters.
Another thing that I believed in when this year began was that, in order to receive God’s grace in our lives, I thought it was important for us to do things to prove we were worth it.
The truth, however, stunned me. God’s grace is not something that we deserve, it is something that is given to us, something that comes looking for us, especially when we are at our weakest. The countless ways in which we are protected day in and day out by invisible forces that we often don’t see is evidence that it is impossible to earn grace on our own accord.
Perhaps the best part of 2015 for me was when I heard a phrase that brought about a major change in the way I approached various challenges in my life, especially the ones concerning other people.
I don’t really know where I heard it first.
It might’ve been on the radio, someone's t-shirt, a bumper sticker or even a text from a friend.
This is what it said – ‘Inside every person, is someone you haven’t met yet’
This is universally true and something I have always known but this quote helped me set it in stone.
No matter how much time you spend with a person there are always going to be facets to them that we don’t understand, or appreciate but if given a chance everyone can, and will surprise you.It always helps to give others the benefit of the doubt and walk a mile in their shoes before arriving at a conclusion about them or the situation.
And as my friend Karthik would say, make sure their shoe fits you first before you start walking :-)
I hope 2015 was a great year for you all too and that 2016 will be better in every manner possible.
A heartfelt Happy New Year to everyone reading this. Stay Blessed.
Until next year,