The year is drawing to a close…

…and what a year it has been. Its been the kind of year that I’m happy seeing the back of, and waving good bye and good riddance and such like. Annus Horribilis. I need 2010 to be an Annus Miraculus. Or whatever a nice year is called in Latin without the queen getting into the naming of.  Now that I’m on the verge of waving 2009 off into the void of time/space where I can only return if I ever live to see a time machine and maybe a young Michael J Fox in it, would I like to go back to 2009 ever? No. Not in my life. Never. I would have to be brought back molecule by molecule, screaming into the ethers of space vacuum (soundless screaming I think that would be, if I’ve got my sci-fi right), fighting valiantly all attempts to have this year happen to me again. But the year has had some good moments. And I have had some serious mindshifts. For those who have been regular readers of thirtysixandcounting, you would understand how earthshaking these mindshifts have been in the house of Manral.

I’ve come to appreciate Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, “Women are like tea bags, you dont know how strong they are till you put them in hot water.” And boy, have I been scalded this year. Scalded pink and raw.  Hopefully, the next year will have the water at a more pleasant temperature. Overboiled tea leaves can turn bitter. I’m not turning bitter.

I am not overboiled tea leaves. To think of it, I’ve ditched the tea and coffee habit and now I am healthier than ever thanks to my new great regimen that involves me staring longingly at the coffee jar, and physically restraining myself from twisting the lid off and brewing myself some. To be honest, during the initial days of going off tea and coffee, I could be found sleepwalking to the coffee jar, spoon in hand ready to spoon some granules straight into my mouth. It was not easy. I am the kind of person who takes her addictions very seriously. And coffee has been the kind of addiction that has seen me through trying deadlines and pressure cooker levels of stress. It would seem disloyal to ditch it so abruptly, but one must be ruthless. Given one’s hands had started senile trembling if I was deprived of my morning cuppa. To be honest, going healthy, stopping tea/coffee/carbonated beverages and overeating has been the biggest thing I’ve done for myself this year. Add to this cutting down on needless shopping for self and child. I think I’ve earned my halo, polished to mirror shine.  I’ve started taking exercise seriously. Not serious exercise mind you. Just a regular one hour evening constitutional. At a relatively easy pace, going upto the brisk if one feels the need for a little sweating to prove to one that one has exorcised some grams of fat. They are stubborn things these grams of fat, they have the survival skills of cockroaches. In the aftermath of a nuclear war, the only thing that will survive are cockroaches getting oversized because all the fat from the humans has migrated to surviving cockroaches. Which is all well, because they can then open fat farms.

Another big lifechange for me has been the giving up of unnecessary buffet dining. I stick to a la carte. Its worked out better. I order less. I can actually see my fellow diners across the table and not find my vision blocked by the mountain of food on my plate. I dont feel compelled to ‘get my money’s worth’ and proceed to the buffet counter for a minimum of six rounds, and then request a wheelchair to be taken to the car due to lack of mobility caused by insane overeating. I have nightmares of getting stuck into my chair at one of them buffets and needing a carpenter to be called in to extricate me.

I also began getting Serious White Hair this year. I mean serious. I mean white hair that pops up in nostrils and eyebrows and places on the body unmentionable in a public G rated forum that makes you feel truly old and at the point of giving up the ghost. I gave up hair colour. I turned to henna. I decided not to tempt fate into multiplying the number of grey. Wouldnt do for the child to still be in the primary and moi to look like I was ready to marry him off. I’ve stuck to henna. The grey on the scalp gets camouflaged a bit. The grey elsewhere I ignore. The spouse knows better than to bring it up in a casual conversation. He may be a brave man, but he is also not a foolish man. On the flip, the spouse has gone completely salt and pepper and rocks the look. Life isnt fair. Should I decide to let the grey be untouched, I will find people offering to help me across the street.

Recession deprived me of another one of my most favourite things to do in life vertically speaking. Shopping. No more impulse buys. No more strolling into stores and buying new clothes, shoes, bags, just because. In fact I think my last pair of new shoes and two new hand bags were bought in June. By the man. As a birthday gift.  That was me falling down in shock and breaking the floortiles. Six months of no new bag is a first. This calls for a news crew to be here, interviewing me. This calls for me to write a book on how I cured myself of Shopaholism by Going Broke. This is the kind of book that I just see as a best seller, and me doing book tours and appearances on television where I just hope the host gets my name right and holds the book upto camera for three seconds before moving onto the next guests and leaving me free to yawn and snooze off on the comfy sofas they normally have for this kind of show.

 This is the kind of self restraint that I admire in folks like monks and nuns and such like. I think I could try the bed of nails next. If I can stay away from shopping. And buffets. And coffee, I can pretty much do anything I set my mind to. Except cook a decent meal, maybe. Is the shine from my halo putting the sun to shame?


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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10 Responses to The year is drawing to a close…

  1. Ruchira says:

    wow – that’s some self discipline – to cut back on tea coffee and shopping ! I am really impressed. Cutting back on tea coffee and exercising more was my resolution for this year and I failed miserably 😦
    Perhaps this yr hasn’t been that great for you – but two good things did happen – the brat’s doctor appointment where he was declared in good health and your laser operation that enables you to now see like a hawk!
    Hope the coming year brings loads of happiness to you !


  2. mandira says:

    boy! has this year been one of developing will power and restraint or wat? hats off to you, isnt easy resisting temptation, no matter wat kind…

    but look at it this way.. it cant be a bad thing to develop will power, can it?if i were Calvin’s dad i wud say it builds character! 😛


  3. Aarabi says:

    i hear ya! i know exactly how it feels to see the back end of this year. believe you me, just reading your blog, some of the peeks into family, and the stuff you’ve been through (as well) have actually given me some strength to hold on to my own sanity.
    independance thou art not as glam as thou seem-et! 😉


  4. Heather says:

    I hope the henna for your hair is working out well! I have many friends who love it. If you’re ever in need of a fresh supply of henna, let meknow 🙂


  5. Gigi says:

    2009 gave you vindication and confirmed your gut feel about the brat! The doctors gave him a clean bill of health. That alone is a reason to celebrate the year and look back fondly.
    Becoming a recessionista is not so bad! Haven’t you read scores of articles in the NYT? It is now chic to be frugal 🙂
    Congrats on kicking the caffeine addiction and dropping the weight.
    Hope you stimulate the economy and get to indulge in a bit of retail therapy next year!


  6. Lefiera says:

    Hey there, been following your blog for a month or so. I know what you mean……I’m so glad the year is over too. Goodbye 2009!!!


  7. sands says:

    no tea, no coffee and then no shopping……you are a saint for me from now…..and then you say you didn’t gain anything out of this year?


  8. Kiran Manral says:

    Ruchira: Those two were the highlights of a real bad bad year. True. 🙂

    Mandira: Yup, I’m become a real character now…

    Aarabi: 🙂

    Heather: Thank you. I will.

    Gigi: Yup. That bit about the brat is good news enough to make my year, many years to be honest…I’m being a recessionista now. Thats my next post.

    Lefiera: 🙂 I hope 2010 is a good year.

    Sands: Well, and no alcohol to start with nor ciggies. Only one unmentionable bad habit. 😉


  9. Gymnast says:

    And in 2009 , you earned a most loyal reader in me . Honestly , i love whatever you write and i love the way you see things.

    You rock!

    Hope 2010 is good for you.


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