Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye, 2013. Hello, 2014!

2013 comes to an end, and boy, what an eventful and interesting year it has been!
This year, I witnessed plenty of happy moments, exciting occasions and downright sucky times. Here's a random list of the most important events that occurred this year for me:

1. Partnered with a good friend to set up a food based business that was bound to work.

2. Shut the whole plan down after investing 4 months into it to finally figure out that it wouldn't work at this point of time, not with the finances that we had.

3. Went for the last 'army' holiday with the family to Manali, Kasauli, Shimla and Chandigarh.

4. Won the Subway Global Challenge - was one of the 5 winners from around the world, and seriously, this is the first time that I've ever won anything on such a large scale.

5. Dad retired after serving in the army for 34 years. Got a cake for him that looked repulsive, but he didn't care. He was completely gutted about retiring though, all of us were. Being in the army life made all of us who we were.

6. Lost my hale and hearty grandmother the day she left Bangalore. She was staying at our house for the past year and was the one who was most excited about my win. One of the nicest women I knew, she commanded a lot of respect from everyone in her city and society. The oldest of 9 siblings, she worked 5 jobs (first woman to work from her family) in the 1950s, to feed her entire family and educate all her nephews and nieces. 25 years later, she became the Headmistress of a school that always had a male Headmaster. She eventually became a speaker of women's rights in her town until my grandfather passed away. The past year with her was lovely and my only regret was that I missed out on spending time with her all these years.

7. Went to the U.S. for the very first time for the Subway win and travelled internationally by myself for the first time as well. It was one of my best trips ever. I met a lot of fantastic people, and learnt so much more than I could have ever imagined. The entire experience was very enriching and I was grateful that I was picked as one of the winners.

8. Met a close friend after 7 whole years. It was almost unreal, because she moved to the U.S. and her chances of returning to India were slim. I never knew when I was going to see her again, and I did this time. We spent only 2 days together, but it's like nothing ever changed. We simply picked up where we left off. We were still the same, just that we had a lot more to talk about.

9. Watched one of my best friends get married, and soon realized that marriage was all that my friend circle was discussing lately.

10. One of my best friends had a baby girl, and I became her godmother. Also, here's a fun statistic: 14 of my friends got married this year; 9 are now pregnant.

11. My work as a freelancer was expanding and more clients started to come in.

12. Moved after living in the apartments at MG Road for 13 years. That's more than half my life.

13. Collaborated with a friend who set up his company and handed one part of his business. This allowed me the independence and flexibility in my work, yet get a fixed salary and company protection in case clients don't pay up (as has happened with me before).

14. Wrote a blog about how Shahrukh Khan blatantly plagiarized from an earlier speech by J.K. Rowling. Got attacked, received threats, lost my mind, ended up having a nervous breakdown. Ended up in the news and 'went viral' for all the wrong reasons. Went underground for a while till the chaos passed.

15. Landed my biggest client yet, an international one. Expanded my work, worked endlessly, worked hard. Amazing experience so far.

16. Ended the year today with closing another big client and have clients give me excellent feedback on my work so far, and that they're looking to continue working for the next year as well.

It's been an interesting and a highly eventful year. Here's hoping that 2014 surprises me much more.

That's 3 generations of women in one picture. One of the last photos we took with my grandma.
She's in a better place and watches over us everyday.


Sanchari Mukhopadhyay said...

lovely!! :)

Paresh Kale said...

Wish you luck for the future endeavors. Also, a very happy new year to you and your readers :-)

Agratha Dinakaran said...

Thank you, Sanchari and Paresh! Hope you have a fantastic year ahead! :)

gopi krishna said...

I read this bit on "The Hindu"

"With many of the belief that it is best to ‘think globally, act locally’, blogger Agratha Dinakaran “would like Bangalore to be the cleaner, greener city it used to be. I think people need to be accountable for their actions and should refrain from littering around. When we do so, we also teach the future generations that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat the roads and footpaths as an open garbage bin. Also, could men stop taking leaks in public? I see well dressed men pulling over in their cool cars, just to step out and answer nature’s call. It’s disgusting!”"

Are you equally disgusted with Westerners taking their dogs out into the streets and parks for a poop? Potty training for pets, I say.

I haven't read all of your blogs. So I am reserving my judgement whether you are a "modern" Indian or a "Western" one. You do know the difference between the two, right?

Jai Hind!

Agratha Dinakaran said...

Hi Gopi! Did you take a minute to stalk me there? If so, your efforts definitely paid off. :)

In my experience of travelling abroad (at least the U.S. and Singapore), I saw people cleaning up after their dogs pooped. Yeah, they usually had a bag/tissue/something to scoop up the dog poop and bagged it to dump it later. There might be some who don't clean up, but that's being irresponsible.
Most Indians *don't* clean up after their dogs in public. They take the dog to a park, let it poop and bring it back home. No responsibility there either.
Third, why did you bring up the dog poop issue? Are you comparing dogs to men who are supposed to be civil beings in toilet training? Enlighten me!
And finally, you can save your judgment for whatever you want, I don't care. I'm not going to be bracketed into categories so that you can judge me, so if you must know, I'm a woman.
Do you have your answers sorted now?

gopi krishna said...

Nope. You didn't answer my question starting with "Are". Then we will talk. Good day.

Agratha Dinakaran said...

I'm disgusted with anyone who let their dogs poop in public, Indian or foreigner, does not matter. People should be responsible.

Again, I find it hilarious that you compare dogs pooping in public to men peeing in public. They're not the same thing, so I find the men peeing more disgusting than dogs, simply because men, being civil beings, should know that it is quite repulsive and learn how to act responsibly.

gopi krishna said...

Now we are talking.

I did not do any comparisons. I asked you for a reaction. You have been a good sport.

PS: Dogs know what to do. I have asked you specifically about people taking out their dogs. Dog owner mindset: Cuddles and lickings for me. Piss and Shit on society(Poop pickers excused).

Are you seeing the human parallel?(Nothing hilarious here)

On your advice, I am taking dogs out of the equation.

I have seen videos of inebriated Western men and women pee(happy?) in front of pubs and bars including celebs(paparazzi stuff). . This is reality TV on a channel that still airs in India. Thank God,public anger got this kind of programming out of India. Since you are all for accountability, let me tell you the concerned channel got warned, got banned, and then came back "sanitized". Mind you, objectionable "programming" is still trying to sneak in and make inroads(A big hurrah to "citizens").

Have you seen Indian women pee in public? If you replace pee with defecation in this sentence, I can share something which is very unflattering to Shahrukh Khan(WASH ambassador). Aren't his fans your bete noires(Blogpost titled "When I was cyberbullied")?

We will get to big, big words like judgement and civilization, that is if you play along with me.On second thoughts, since you took a lot of umbrage when I used the word "judgment" in my first comment, I withdraw it unconditionally. You also said something with a logical inconsistency, but I will let it pass. With your consent, I want to replace the word "judgement" with "opinion".

Since we are on the very public blogosphere, I am assuming I can form an opinion about you.

Adios Amigos!

Agratha Dinakaran said...

Funny, you perceive that I think very little of my country, that while I frown something that happens in India, I will excuse the same if it were to happen in another country.

Judgmental much? (which you proved already, but anyway)

Peeing/pooping in public is disgusting, regardless of gender and nation. Funnily enough, those who do so abroad are actually fined, but here, everyone gets away with littering and peeing treating the streets as public lavatories.

In all of my 24 years, I've only seen one woman peeing in public and I was disgusted (this was in a much smaller town in Tamil Nadu). A family member later told me that there was only loo in that area of that town, and some women didn't even have access to that because of caste issues. I felt horrible after that.

But is that the same here? NO. I see men getting out of their cars and peeing on roads. Random dudes who stop their bikes to pee. Auto drivers. Pedestrians. Every single one of them. No caste issues. No limited access to loos. Just using the streets as their lavatories. Ugh.

Since we are on the public blogosphere, the time you have taken to stalk me to manipulate your question into framing me as a gender/nation hater lets not just me, but everyone who sees your obviously skewed question, form an opinion about you too.

And, bracketing women to "modern" and "Western" women so that you can reserve your bitter judgment does not speak highly of you. At all.

gopi krishna said...

Hi Agatha!

Something came up.

Oh, just calm down. You are getting all aggro on me.I was just trying out "Understanding Modi". This is new to me. I don't usually even comment. Modi addressing a young audience said: Modernise, Don't Westernise. He was of course reminding everyone of what Swami Vivekananda said:" Learn all that is good from the West. Reject all that is bad." Now everywhere around me I see a lot of po-mo relativistic BS. I am looking to take a stance this time. Only voted once in my life.

Just two points:
1. Your words: disgusting, repulsive. My words: mildly irritating, slightly annoying(this is your profile word.)
2. I usually avert my eyes and get on with it(I always thought this was the civil thing to do.)

Different perspectives. Can live with that.

Good luck with your blogging endeavors and life adventures.


Agratha Dinakaran said...

1. I think peeing in public is disgusting. And I will use that word. You think it's 'mildly irritating'. Ok. I still think it's disgusting. And I will cling on to that opinion.

2. I'm not glorifying everything that happens in the West. I do think, however, if people who peed in public were strictly fined for it, they aren't likely to do so again in the future. For years, when people in Bangalore were asked to wear helmets, no one bothered. The moment they started fining people riding without helmets, everyone around immediately started wearing helmets. That's how things will work here.

3. There are plenty of people like you who avert your eyes and get on with it. This "ignore and move on" attitude has made too many of us regressive, and mute witnesses to plenty of spectacles. From something as simple as refusing to tell someone off for peeing on the road to men molesting women on buses, or public abuses. We just keep quiet and move on and expect others to do something to make this a better nation.

Good luck to you too.

gopi krishna said...

1. Disagree. Shahrukh Khan gets the other side of the coin ( Talk Asia -CNN interview, but he seems to have reneged on building lavatories for our mothers and sisters in villages who still shit by the railway tracks, etc. No points for him.

2. N R Narayana Murthy of Infosys said: Infrastructure, Motivation, then Education/Preaching. If deterrence (safe travel only) works in Bangalore, fine by me.
A coin has only two sides. A social issue is a virtual slot machine. Have you heard of urinary incontinence, Urinary tract infection, Irritable Bowel syndrome? Full points to our mothers and sisters who put modesty over even health concerns. We men are such pigs, aren't we?

3. Averting of eyes refers to decency. Getting on with my life refers to my own limitation "on location". Mr. Murthy's point again.

Namaskaram (Telugu for Namaste)

Agratha Dinakaran said...

1. I think it's disgusting. It is, to me. And I'm not changing my opinion. You're not making any sense by bringing Shahrukh Khan into this.

2. Do you know why so many women in India contract all those infections? Because they're forced to pee in some places due to lack of access to proper toilets. They pee by the fields, dirty streets, exposing themselves to all kinds of infections and are at a higher risk at men. But I'm not even talking about these people, yet you want to. I'm talking about the men in cities who have full access to public loos, loos in their houses, in malls, etc. They have a place where they can pee, but won't, because the Indian system allows them to and are yet not being fined for it. Them peeing is not the same as women peeing in the fields because of limited access to toilets.

3. Yes, avert your eyes to all accounts of thefts, eve teasing, mugging, rape incidents, and keep minding your own business. Also expect the same behaviour when you're in trouble. You'll only get what you give.

I can't believe you've taken the time to stalk me online after reading my comment in a newspaper. Man, you must be so offended that someone (a woman!?) thinks that men shouldn't pee in public, because hello, that's your freakin' birthright!

It's disgusting. Deal with it. Get a life. And stop trying to stalk people online so that you can attack and judge them.

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