It’s that time of the year again! The time for reflection on the year gone by.
My word for 2021 was “Wisdom,” and I think I have grown a bit wiser this year owing to the tough circumstances. If you’re interested in reading my previous year’s reflection post, here’s it.
I posted an overdramatic last post of the year on my Facebook profile (which is more private than my page), saying I’d be happy to slam the door on 2021’s face and wished I’d never see it again.
Firstly, let me clarify that I fared better than expected in 2021.
I started to move around more, take stock of my sleep schedule to some extent. I read and wrote way more than I did in 2020, which was barely anything at all.
The only things I invested in were books and courses. I have way more books than I can read, and I just purchased more books a few minutes ago. But that’s perfectly fine because boredom will never be an issue for me.
I read mostly short stories and non-fiction books, including memoirs and poems. I never got around to reading a full-fledged novel, even though I bought plenty of them in 2021.
Even though I planned not to create more content in 2021, I did that the most. I had enough content already, and as you can see, my website is a WIP right now. I’ve successfully migrated my blog, and it’s a self-hosted blog now. Hurrah!
I’ve been working on the backend of my blog in my free time. This new site is a time-taking project (as all good things do). The only completely functional part of the new website is the Blog page because I’m using it actively and it was the first page I worked on post migration. The rest of the pages need to be updated with the latest information. Watch out for an announcement on when I’m completely done working on this baby and what’s new and changed at “The Tina Edit.”
The hard work is already paying off as “The Tina Edit” is the 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗜𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗯𝗹𝗼𝗴 on the “Top 100 Writing Blogs for Authors in 2021” in the world alongside the “who’s who” of the international writing community. This makes my heart swell with pride, and I’m more certain than ever that I’m on the right track, baby!
I wrote consistently and blogged the most number of posts in 2021. I took part in two strenuous blogging challenges, #A2ZChallenge, and #MyFriendAlexa hosted by Blogchatter, which I was sure I would not participate in this year. But I had a “Eureka” moment before both these events and how they fit into my blogging goals. I plunged into both at the last minute and completed them successfully despite my busy schedule.
While I blogged the most in 2021, I sent submissions to only two publications this year both of which got accepted. I’ve been published in two international anthologies, “The Kali Project: Invoking the Goddess Within / Indian Women’s Voices,” Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards (NIEA) for 2021 and “But You Don’t Look Sick: The Real Life Adventures of Fibro Bitches, Lupus Warriors, and other Superheroes Battling Invisible Illness” by Indie Blu(e) Publishing, a progressive, feminist micro-press, which I’m incredibly proud of being part. I’ve also been published in AnankeMag, an international digital magazine creating conversation on Inclusion & Diversity. Strangely, I didn’t write any fiction this year.
I’m still jinxed when it comes to the NaNoWriMo challenge. I was hoping to make my NaNoWriMo debut in 2021, but that didn’t happen with a personal event that clashed around the same time, and I was organizing the entire thing. I tried to sneak in another similar writing challenge, my maiden “The First Draft Club” by the Himalayan Writing Retreat but flunked royally there too. But the personal event that I’d organised went by like a breeze.
Professionally, it was a good year. Revelation would be the right word. A door that I’d never fathomed envisioning for myself appeared right in front of me in the middle of 2021. Apart from that, I was approached to spearhead some interesting projects that had me excited about work. In fact, 2022 opened up another exciting opportunity to spearhead another big client project. 2022 seems like a jam-packed year on the professional front, and that’s definitely a good thing.
The pandemic times have made me realize the importance of money and health in uncertain times. Money and health will still be the major focus areas for me this year, too, as the coming times will not be easy on any of us.
Family And Friends
Family will continue to be the foremost priority.
The months from March 2021 have been emotionally draining. The second wave of the pandemic had us all concerned and anxious. My husband was in the 20% workforce that was asked to report back to the office. While this is still unsettling for me, there’s comfort in knowing that it’s not the entire workforce in the office and the safety measures are topnotch in their facility.
While the daughter’s school had given us the option for physical or online school from September 2021, we were all on the same page of not sending her to school yet and continuing with the online classes.
I’ve finally cozied up to the idea of working from home and have been treating it like a professional space—no more working in PJs and erratic timings, which have been a sanity saver.
I’ve been confined in my home most of the year and had to say no to several social meetups and commitments owing to the pandemic. It’ll be this way for some time.
Conversing with friends over WhatsApp Video calls have been the much-needed energy boosters and stress busters in these times.
Social Life And Events
Seriously? You must be joking!
I’ve been selective about the virtual events as well, turning down quite a number of them last year. But I did nod my head for some interesting ones.
I was approached by Booksomia, India’s no.1 premier publishing platform for under-17s for an interview in March and a blogging workshop for children in summer. I’ve continued to be part of the jury for “Beyond The Box,” an incredible creative writing platform for children and adults founded by my multitalented friend and multiple award-winning author and entrepreneur, Anupama Dalmia. It always feels special as I’ve been one of the venture’s earliest jury members, and every time I’m approached, I’m amazed to see how far it’s grown and so beautifully.
I was also invited as the first guest in the “Inspiring Indian Bloggers who are Moms” series by Kushal Singhal, Award-winning Parenting Coach and Founder of Mom Chipper. We discussed blogging, writing, parenting, amongst other things, in our conversation.
To celebrate “International Blogger’s Day” and Manas Mukul’s 11th Blogging Anniversary, I was part of his mammoth blogging celebrations in a panel with author, blogger and TOI columnist, Radhika Sharma Acharya. Radhika Sharma Acharya talks about her blogging journey in the first half of the series while I share my blogging experiences in the second half, called ‘Blog Story’ inspired by Taylor Swift’s song, ‘Love Story.’
Kaveri Purandhar, Founder of “Pretty Much Everything” invited me as one of the panelists for a fun, comprehensive, and insightful FB Live session on publishing. My co-panelists included Amit Nangia, bestselling author and the brilliant mind behind Airtel’s “Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hain” ad, Anupama Jain, award-winning author and Founder, SeniorSchoolMoms, and Atul Purohit, founder of the award-winning Writco app and Write India publishing.
All in all, I was largely protected last year in these dire times, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
2021 has also been a HORRIFIC year for me.
I lost a dear aunt, my Mum’s youngest sister, to an unfathomable rare disease in July. It is still shocking, and our entire family is still grappling with the irreplaceable loss.
My late aunt was a mother figure and looked after me when I was a baby and toddler. The one big regret I have is not calling her on the phone for her birthday on April 17th last year as I usually do. I sent her a WhatsApp message to wish her, little knowing, that she would be no more in a few months. How I wish I had called her up and spoken to her. Better still, the chance to meet her and hug her tight. It’s unbelievable that these little wishes will not come true anymore.
I have a lump in my throat and heaviness in my heart that has been dragging me down over the last few months. My mother has been ailing with chronic back pain that’s left her immobile for months now. It’s been a nightmare for the family and especially for her, as she writhes in pain every second of the day. The only consolation after months of darkness is that we are slowly coming to the root of the problem.
It was the year when my mother and I swapped roles. I have started playing her mother and giving her the emotional strength she needs in her weak times. I do not know what I would have done if I lived far away from my mother in such a situation. I cannot keep thanking God enough that we are all living close by in these terrible, uncertain times.
It’s endearing to see old couples in love. It’s a heartwarming sight to see my father, who’s having his health issues too, play the caregiver to my Mum in her trying times.
It’s a riot and joy to watch my pandemic-born twin nieces grow up. It would be an understatement to say they were like the ray of sunshine in these dark times.
It’s intriguing how your life can run parallely on two tracks of joy and sorrow at the same time.
And so, I carry a broken and heavy heart into 2022, knowing fully well, it’s not going to be easy. But, I’m prepared and ready, trusting the Universe has our back.
If I’ve learned anything from the past two pandemic years, it’s been to give people chances.
We do not know what cross they are carrying and suffering from. Not everyone has the courage or even privilege to share their problems.
When I look back at the actions of some people now, I realize it’s because of how harrowing their journeys have been. How much in pain they really were, and it was manifesting in ugly ways!
I wish I could hug the person who was rude to me instead of retaliating with the same coin. In hopeless cases, then love them from afar.
2021 has taught me to let people be and love them however they are and irrespective of whether they like me or not. Maybe we’d be the same or worse if we were carrying the crosses that they were.
Of course, one needs to be discerning of people and situations and set up boundaries from toxicity.
2022: Here’s Looking At You
My word for 2022 is “Balance,” and on that note, here’s wishing you a happy, safe, and prosperous 2022! Also, my heartfelt gratitude for the immense love and support for “The Tina Edit.”
Signing off with the song I’d talked about initially at the start of this post because I love Elsa’s sass, individuality, and strength –