© SACHIN BHATNAGAR

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Life - An Inch Closer

Today, I've inched one year closer to being in diapers again. No, this is not a grim reflection of some underlying current in my life but is a genuine reminder that life eventually returns to the same state as it begins and one mustn't forget that, ever. And while I'm decades away from losing myself to a droopy, drippy old age, a passing year does bring about life's lessons, all 8760 hours of it.


These lessons are an important step and while they may or may not make you wiser, they do provide you with a mouthful of experience. This past year can be best described as a road trip with it's smooth and long roads, that suddenly take a wrong turn into the rocky unknown, before winding back again, only to go back into unchartered territory.


But isn't that life itself? Raw, unabashed and naked? We all derive a degree of pain in the success and splendour of others, but what we forget is that behind that perceptive splendour, sits a lot of agonies that only the bearer knows well. This is the way we humans are. That happy person over there is merely a great actor! If you find this offensive or depressing, consider the case of the late Robin Williams.


This past year was particularly well as a maturing exercise. I've matured more in the past 365 days than perhaps in the year before that. And there is a change in progress that is only making me stronger. I've taken a stock of lavishness and have wrestled it against practicality. Naturally, practicality won even before the duel began.


On my love for food

I love food, I love writing about it. But I have given up on the runaway grazing that had almost engulfed me. I still love food but I eat out far too less now. I have been addressed as a food blogger, which I'm not. I neither have the stamina nor the capacity, money and time to unabashedly hog, snap and document food like a twenty-something. But it's always great to sit with my family of foodies, every once in a rare while now, to enjoy food over a glowing conversation. The conversation is what makes the worst of dishes palatable. And isn't that worth? I say it is.


On health and appearances

I've always been unhealthy and overweight, to say the least. In school, I was the primal subject of bullying and unlike most people, I don't like to remember my school days and it is a dark and closed chapter in my life. I never discuss this, but the experience left me mentally scarred for years.


I love how time most certainly heals wounds and in my case, it not only healed mental agonies, but it also brought about a degree of self-awareness. The 2018 version of me loves to joke about my appearance. If you can laugh at yourself, no one can ever hurt you. I wish I had this wisdom back then.


Decades on, I'm still overweight and unhealthy and I try my best to work out, limit eating out but I'm not trying to set an example. This is what I am and I'm not trying to be somebody else. I still falter, give in to that sweet temptation of hogging on a three scoop sundae but at least I'm aware of what I'm doing now, as opposed to last year. I joined a gym and I try to be regular at it. Here, my greatest strength has been my wife, who has given me the much needed moral support to achieve goals and face challenges. The drive to be healthier is going to persist now, no matter how many ebbs and flows it goes through.


On family and kids

The family ecosystem that we Indians are blessed with has always been a foundation pillar in my life. It has led me through storms. This past year saw my lil one grow a year older, become wiser, outspoken and informed. She's developed a firm personality of her own, which, unlike kids back in our day, is way more mature than I could ever imagine. It is thrilling and challenging at the same time. She argues like a teenager already and that goes to show how kids of today, are mentally better equipped to handle the chaos that awaits them ahead. We sometimes discuss how she is able to understand things which we usually expect a grown up to comprehend correctly. I'm not talking about materialistic facts, but of mental and philosophical prowess. This goes to show the many unknowns of the human mind. Fascinates me every day.


On working from home

I work from home, which, to some is a utopian dream. Nothing could be further away from the truth. Working from home is the most challenging thing I've ever faced in my life till now. I'm still struggling every day, to inculcate discipline, energy and most importantly motivation to go on and climb up. To those who are in a 9 - 5 profession, I'd only say that this isn't at all a utopian dream. It is as tough as any other profession or work. This past year has been of great learning, of trial by fire, and of stabilizing the mind to obtain mental clarity for the future. This is an ongoing process, a work in progress.


On the Machiavellian nature of life

In summary, life is a beast that you have to reckon with, every single second of existence and as time moves forward, you can barely predict its next move. The beast can be docile, enjoyable and lovable on one instance and Machiavellian, the very next. Such are the flavours of life.


Going forward, I like the new 2018-19 edition of me. It panics less, is patient, healthier and absorbs vexes better. The only thing I'd like to fix is anger. Now I'm almost sounding like a brand new model of a washing machine that cleans well but makes a bit of noise during the rinse cycle.


On that note, I wish you happy days ahead, until we meet again.

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