"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Reflections - Looking back and introspecting at the year that just went by : 2008.

Since last week every medium of communication whether TV, Newspaper, Radio, Internet is flooded with shows/articles/interviews about asking people how the year 2008 went for them.

For majority it was an eventful mixed year and one which many would like to forget what with the economy taking a severe beating, the financial global meltdown, the recession slowly but steadily creeping in, job losses, lays off, meager increments(if at all increments), the many terrorists attacks(for Indians) and particularly the last ghastly one at Mumbai which in a way shook the entire world and made everyone realize that terrorism is a bigger threat than what they would have anticipated.

So it made me think how did i perceive the year 2008 and how it had affected me at different levels of my life.

If i see 2008 in general from a broader majority view, the first half was better than the second half. But for me as a matter of fact the 2nd half was more eventful and favorable than the 1st half.

Jan'08 - July'08 :
Looking back exactly a year from now, i have to say that the new year didn't seem to turn out as i would have expected. The after effects of taking a sabbatical from work and getting back to education and learning was something which i had never imagined. It was getting tougher and tougher motivating myself and pursuing my education. Very often i used to feel, as if my life has come to a standstill and even though taking a sabbatical was entirely my choice and not forced upon me, still i felt whether i made the right decision or not. On top of that whatever i used to do, somehow at the last stage it got stuck. I did try for some avenues to get back in the groove of working, both full time and freelancing, but things never really materialized. What was more irritating was that i didn't knew why it was not working. Talks used to start, they seem to get along positively and then just at the last step, it used to get stuck or have an outcome which i didn't expected to happen. Thankfully my family, my near and dear ones, the fabulous community at Animation Mentor(where i was learning) kept me going, i felt i was not alone and that these things happen when once takes a break from work and decides to study further. They were also very supportive of my not favorable work endeavors and motivated me to keep learning and not letting these small obstacles come in my way. I can never thank all of them enough.

In the first half of the year only, my dad decided to undergo a minor surgery for his nose, a problem which was coming back on and off since quite sometime and it was time to get to the root of the problem and remove it completely. Though by gods grace the surgery was a success, the problem was removed once and for all, still after surgery recovery took a bit longer than expected and it was quite painful for him. But seeing him now, the endurance of pain didn't seem much since he is doing great now. Thank you god.

Immediately after this, a new ray of hope came out of nowhere. My family decided to move to Mumbai as it was more conducive for my dad's work and also for my career in Animation in the long run. For me it was totally like a dream. I had stayed in Mumbai previously for about 2 years and i loved the spirit, the enthusiasm of people in Mumbai and in general the city itself. I had never ever imagined, i would go back and that too with my family staying there itself. Suddenly i felt a renewed spirit just for the thought of moving to Mumbai. From then on i was totally engrossed working out the details of our moving, finding apartments at the same time clearing our stuff in our old house in Chennai. It was a lot of work and i was enjoying every bit of it. It was not that Chennai was not good, we had stayed there for 10 years, just that for some reason it didnt offer me anything new, i was feeling as if life had taken a detour. When i used to work outside Chennai, at any holiday from work i used to yearn coming back to Chennai, the primary reason being that my parents were here and i also had couple of close friends staying in Chennai. But then in Dec 2007, one of my friends went to US for his higher education, another one was deep in a relationship and was getting married in June, so may be all these reason combined, i was waiting to move out of Chennai, so when the Mumbai news happened, no one was more happy than me !

In all the crazy busy work of moving to Mumbai, getting things done, a sad thing happened. My maternal grandmother passed away. It was truly testing times for all of us and specially for my mom. On one hand the big move of moving to a new city and on the other hand the deep loss of her mother. No wonder it says that women are more stronger than men emotionally and rightly so. Hats off to you mom for handling both the things at the same time so effortlessly.

On my learning front, I was in Class 2 - Body Mechanics when the year started and was quite excited for this class as this is one of the most important foundation classes for any animator. It was no easy by any means but thanks to my wonderful wonderful mentor Dana Boadway who had the perfect blend of encouragement and constructive critiques, i learned a lot and was quite happy with what i did in Class 2. Class 3 - Introduction to Acting and it was a huge learning experience for me. I stumbled, struggled a lot, used to feel quite de-motivated when things was not working out as desired, but then i was determined to not let these obstacle put me down and kept holding on. When i look back i am glad i never quit !

Aug'08 - Dec'08 :
I was finally happy with a renewed sense and excitement now since we had moved to Mumbai. Its not the moving which is a long process, but the pre-moving and post-moving activities. Settling down in a new city from scratch is no small task, but its not boring also. New city, new house, new environments...the only thing i personally like to remain constant is change. Getting new connections for internet, phone, cable tv, etc etc...opening new bank accounts, finding whats available where near our place for our every day needs...all these take time no matter how much we try to push it and make it happen. I knew i wont be able to concentrate on Animation Mentor during my moving and hence i had taken a break for 3 months so that i can settle down properly and not do my course half-heartedly. And it was a very very judicious decision the way i see it.

It was barely a week in Mumbai, when i got my first good news. I was selected as a Student Volunteer for the upcoming Siggraph Asia happening in Singapore in December'08. I was totally elated. For me getting selected was huge and considering how big this event is, i was feeling out of this world. Whether this was linked in someway of my moving to Mumbai, i dont know, but all i knew was that moving to Mumbai will be a good positive development for me and my family.

In September my Brother-in-law, sister and niece had come to India for their yearly holidays and one month passed faster than i realised. We had gone to Goa for 4 days and had a super time there. Holidays with families and friends are a must regularly as it strenthen bonds and also makes life worth living for.

They went back in October first week and for few days it seems something was incomplete. I guess all good times comes to an end, so that other in-queue good times can happen as well. For me the best time of the year is from October - January, as the festive season sets in. October is the festival of lights - Diwali, which is India's biggest festival. Its like Christmas in US. Everyone is in a festive spirit, loads of social gatherings, good food, sweets...oh i just love Diwali !

Times definitely seem to fly fast when you are having a good time. November already arrived ! It was time to apply for my Singapore visa. Even though chances of a rejection was quite slim for Singapore, still considering what i had at stake, i was quite on my edge from the time i applied and when i finally got it !

It was December ! Just a week for my Siggraph Asia and Singapore trip. I was virtually on a totally different high.

Siggraph Asia and Singapore trip was one of the most memorable times of my life. Though i would cover those in a separate detailed post, but my reflection on 2008 cannot be complete without what happened at Siggraph Asia. Not only did i got an opportunity to be a Student Volunteer, i also got awarded for being chosen among Top Ten Student Volunteers at Siggraph Asia ! I was totally ecstatic !

Also even after Siggraph, i stayed in Singapore for some days and enjoyed every moment of it. I stayed with my Cousins and 5 year old niece and had a fantastic time. Never felt like i was away from home. Some relationships just get better and better as they age, just like wine !

Christmas in Singapore is a feast to the eyes in every sense of the way. The entire place seems to be in the mood for Christmas. The most happening Orchard Road is decorated fabulously. Hordes of people on the streets, all having a great time. The spirit is for sure contagious !

I guess its already been a more than intended long post...so yeah all in all it was a good year for me, leaving out a few events. Cant complain really, rather i am thankful to god for many memorable times, good opportunities and giving a beautiful ending to the year 2008 !

I have no reason to believe this year 2009 wont be as memorable or even more than last year at different positive levels.

I wish you all, the same, believe me.


1 comment:

Josh Corken said...

I am sorry to hear of your lose, but am glad your family made it through the hard time and that you were happy moving. I can't imagine how hard that must have been. My condolences.

It sounds like you had one productive year, and I will agree that SIGGRAPH Asia was the top of it all! I am so grateful for that opportunity and cannot wait for New Orleans and Yokohama!

P.S. Since school will be starting next Monday, a post of this magnitude will probably not be able to be read by me, considering how busy I will be. I just thought I'd let you know. Haha!

Take care!