Jan 9, 2019

Happy New Year, dearies!!!

Yep, that's what it says, nine days after the fact! That is what happens when you go gallivanting off at the end of the year and return with a nasty two-week virus that cripples but doesn't incapacitate. This results in a sojourn in a germy twilight with umpteen symptoms and just a semblance of life. 

Not any more! Today I finally took down the Christmas lights, filed away the bills and papers of 2018 and dusted the cobwebs out of my flu-ridden brain. Cleared out my desk, copied what I needed for this year into my new BuJo and diary and put the old ones away in the archives. Now I am truly done and dusted with 2018. A tardy friend said in wishing me a week after the New Year, "I wasn't caught up in the wrong timeline. Just tardy as usual." I have the privilege of blaming the virus for my tardiness!

So what has 2018 done for me? In the second half of the year, it threw me back into work and that too, teaching!!! So now I am no longer the woman of leisure (which a homemaker never is) I used to be. Getting back into work mode after a fifteen-year gap has thrown a spanner in my works in a major fashion. Besides, my work place is a new institution which is in a state of flux, with barely enough staff and therefore requires a lot of adjustment and commitment more than a part-time job requires. In addition to teaching, the lecturers have to share clerical work. This has disrupted all my routines and now I am still struggling a bit to get my life back into a semblance of normalcy. 

I have had to suspend a lot of activities that I love doing. There are days when I dread getting out of bed because it is a working day (a common malady among the working people I believe), but on the whole it has been an enriching experience so far (in all matters except financial - still to receive salary!) in that it has brought more people into my life, new colleagues, students and a motivation to put back some care into my appearance now that I have to meet people on a daily basis! 

The greatest thing that going to work has done is that it has forced me to take a good look at all my activities and pushed me to cull out all the inessential things that I kept doing on a daily basis. For instance, I have stopped wanting to try new craft techniques and buying supplies for them. Instead I am concentrating on a couple of projects at a time and planning to finish the supplies that I already have. I have become more jealous of protecting my craft time too. Now I schedule time each day so that I can work on my projects on a daily basis.

The thing that is still disturbing me the most is the Sabarimala issue and all the hoopla and violence surrounding it. This year, I am taking a break from it and going to concentrate on domestic life so that our home will be a peaceful haven from all the madness going on outside. My cousin who was literally at death's door has survived and made an almost full recovery. That is one big thing that I am grateful for this year.

Our year-end journey to Chennai fulfilled a wish that I have been nurturing in the past year. On our trip to Hampi,  I had learned that the Balagopal icon in the Krishna temple on Matanga hill now resides in the Chennai Government Museum. So off I went pulling my family to the museum on our first day in Chennai. But the Chennail Museum is a vast network of treasure caves with no maps. Docents I spoke to had no idea where the icon could be. I decided to try the bronze section. We saw a lot of Shaivite bronzes that were absolutely breathtaking. But the Vaishnaivite bronze display was closed for maintenance. That was where the idol was likely to be. Choking down the disappointment, I went to see the displays in the main building.

In the first hall, I looked at examples of stone idols dating back to the Pallava era and going forward. I had completed four such alcoves when the next one took my breath away - it was the alcove for idols from the Vijayanagara period and there was the Balagopala I had been searching for!!!! He was mutilated, with parts of his arms having been chopped off in the attack, but the sweet expression of the baby Krishna is intact. The description says that King Krishna Deva Raya had carried off the icon from a temple in Udayagiri fort in Andhra. I don't blame him in the least, because that sweet expression could have beguiled any one.

That was the highlight of the Chennai trip for me. Well, there was a little interval at a silk sari shop in Kanchipuram...ahem! As well as another at the biggest Higginbothams store... well. 😊

For those who asked, Akrami is alive and well. He has made a full recovery and there are no lesions to be seen. We suspect he has got a new girlfriend since he makes only sporadic appearances clamoring for food. We are looking forward to having him curled up on our front mat in the mornings.

That's all from Karthi this new year! Hope you all had a wonderful beginning to 2019!

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