I celebrated my 25th birthday with a 2-day solitary trip, minus cell phones and tourist guides, to the town of Tepoztlan in Morelos, Mexico; on my birthday I hiked to the pyramid del Tepozteco. You’ll find a blog entry about it somewhere– most memorable birthday ever.
Text messages have taught me a lot about editing. I almost always type messages longer than 160 characters, then read them several times trying to bring them down. And I get weirdly happy when i manage to bring it down to the exact character limit (paisa vasool). Yes, geeky.
I got my first thesaurus when i was seven, long before i knew what a thesaurus was. I first used my thesaurus in fourth grade, when i decided that the peacock in a certain essay of mine wasn’t just happy but rhapsodic. And no, i didn’t know what rhapsodic meant. I just liked the way it sounds (I still like the way it sounds).
I am obsessed with closure. I spend each New Years’ eve writing long gratitude emails to the folks who made up that year. I spent the last day of my twenties doing a gorgeous solitary 9 km hike along the Greek coastline. I celebrate endings just as much as beginnings, love taking the time to acknowledge the past instead of always hurtling into the future.
Between the ages of 7 and 14, I was sure I wanted to be a lawyer– by the time I was in eighth grade, I had even picked the law school I wanted to study at! I dropped that dream suddenly in tenth grade, I don’t remember why, but I’m glad I came to my senses.
I think in at least three languages. I also write my diary in all 3 of them. My biggest fear might be that I’ll lose one of the three.
When I was six, I used to say that I wanted to be a teacher because, that way, my kids would get into school easily (I was completely scarred by how difficult it was for my brother and me to get admission to school since we had moved to Delhi in the middle of the school year). I’m back to that dream. but for very different reasons now.
I have been paragliding in the Himalayas.
I have had twenty four surgeries in as many years. Or maybe 23. Or maybe 25. I’m finally starting to lose count.
I still remember the dream I had the first time i was under general anesthesia. I dreamed i was being chased by a bull because i was wearing red. I can still picture the scene.
As I was slipping into anesthesia when I had my third corneal transplant, weeks after finishing Study Abroad in Argentina, the doctor asked me to count to 20. I got to around 12, then murmured, “this is really boring! Can I count in Spanish?”. I was already too drugged for him to protest so he agreed, and I remember feeling really happy counting trece, catorce, quince…
The combination of pink and green nauseates me– literally makes me feel ill. I believe there was a reason nature made green-pink blindness the most common form of color blindness (I am partially green-pink blind myself, so I’m allowed to say things like that!).
I have mixed concrete and loved it. And I think my proudest moment was watching a family cook on an ecological stove I had constructed.
I have seen an opera at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires because a friend bought me tickets for my birthday. We followed so little of it that, 30 minutes into the opera, he nudged me and exclaimed “Did you realize it’s in English?!” We left in the intermission thinking the opera was over, only to discover the next day from another friend that we missed the second (and, she claims, much better) act.
I have ice-skated in an open air rink in -40 degree weather in Mongolia.
I spent my early childhood in the Himalayas and, even today, I’m most relaxed in the mountains and next to rivers. One of my childhood homes– the one I remember best– was completely destroyed when the river Beas changed its course two years after we moved to Delhi. The land on which i have the fondest memories is now a riverbed bordered by a few dirty cafes.
I published my first book and started the organisation that will probably become my life’s work before I turned 30. And then I turned 30 with gratitude because I’ve always felt more comfortable with the idea of being 30-something than 20-something.
Throughout 11th and 12th grade, I used to get up at 4:30 AM every morning, so that I could have plenty of me-time before my school bus came at 6:45.
When I was three or four, my brother and I ran home from school very excited about an unexpected holiday. When our parents asked us why, we happily told them that our teacher had been murdered (she was found in the school’s water tank). If that makes me sound like a horrible person, consider that the teachers at this school rubbed bichhu-buti (posion ivy) on our legs as punishment for not doing HW and forced us four year olds to use the forest as a toilet even though there were toilets in the school.
The first three deaths amongst people close to me all took place while I was on a different continent and unable to attend the funeral. I think that might have warped my understanding of death a little.
When I was five, I studied in a missionary school that I absolutely loved, even though we could be punished if we spoke in Hindi, and even though our morning assembly started at 9:23 AM (or, for some reason, that’s the figure stuck in my mind). In 1st grade, we had to pick a “hobby class” in school, and I chose stamp collection.
In 11th and 12 grade I managed to get my 2 closest guy friends to make birthday cards for me. I think I embarrassed the life out of them, but those are still the most beautiful cards I have ever seen. I have since continued to be closest friends with men and to embarrass them appropriately.
I have facilitated a workshop with 16 teenagers in North-East India, where there were 11 spoken langauges in the room, and where for minimal understanding we had to translate everything simultaneously into English, Hindi, Assamese, Sadhri, Bodo, and Khasi. Never looked at communication the same way again.
I once convinced my grandmother I am lesbian in order to get her to STOP bothering me about getting married. Unfortunately, it only worked for about 6 months.
I consider myself the luckiest person in the world in terms of having good friends and good teachers. I know, I know, many people think they are the luckiest in that regard. But I really am.