Last night, I went out to celebrate New Year’s Eve (I am going to sleep today) with the Anonymous Aunty and as we went chin chin, I went ‘what a year it has been!’ And what a year it has been, indeed. A year of -learning, of validation, of gratitude, of bucket loads of endurance!

Do you believe in destiny? In a pre-determined plan? In astrology-the guessing game? I, myself am not much of a believer of anything, actually! The only thing I believe is I don’t know (even when I do, it’s my all time favourite reply). But this year after spending an enormous amount of time on the road, I am turning into one.

You know, many moons ago, a few months before my brother passed over to the other side, he went to an astrologer. He was crazy about a girl, whose parents thought he wasn’t ‘well settled’ and like a lot of girls, we all know, she did not want to go against her parents. Needless, to say, our Majnu, was very tortured. So, he tried everything to get over her. Started seeing someone else ( nicer and more attractive), went into therapy, went to Malaysia to work but you know how that God forsaken useless organ works, it just wants what it wants. Ironically, his time of death (given by the hospital) and the last call he made to the love of his life, are a minute apart.

Anyway, he went to an astrologer with my Mum and when this person made his chart and mine, he wanted to meet me. At that time, I was in Pushkar and was young enough, to discard everything as rubbish. I didn’t go. His chart said there would be a death in the family before the end of January. He passed away on the 29th of Jan!

Four years later, I went to the same person and he said to me, ‘you were the only one who could have saved, him!’ Now, I am no God but the guilt of that and being at the boy’s house ( fast asleep), who was recovering from a major accident, the night my brother passed away , would have forever burdened my soul. But the no of times I got saved in those 54 days, where I was just a fraction of a second away from being hit by a truck or a bus, the number of accidents I saw on the road, just being on that trip itself, where the money appeared from to keep me moving, makes me suspect what is meant to be, will be!

That astrological chart, my brother got made for me, states that the years 2014-2017, would be some of the most trying years of my life. They were horrendous. It states from a person who is driven by emotions, I will turn into someone very practical. Sounds about right and the only person who will be able to ‘control’ me, will be my husband. Oh, hell no! Hatho ki lakeeren din bar din, badal rahee he! So, who the hell knows what all of it means! Where are we coming from and where are we going to, will forever remain a mystery to me.

Through, the lows of the previous years, I tried to learn forgiveness. But this year, I also learnt before letting new or old people back into my life, I also need to watch two things. Watch carefully, who claps when you soar and who gloats at your failures. That will just save lots of heartache. Forgive but don’t be foolish.

Other than this priceless lesson, there have been plenty. ‘ Karma doesn’t work on the whims and fancies of your reputation.’ Has this year validated me or what! I will refrain from getting into how, out of respect for all parties concerned. But let’s just say, you can lie to the whole world and it’s mother but what goes around definitely comes around! Jo karo ge, vo bharo ge!

I come from a family, where all my sisters are better educated, better looking, better human beings than I am.When I look at their lives, I wonder how our stories turned out so different and I know more than ever, it’s because of my Mother. My Mum, hasn’t taught me anything, that a woman should traditionally learn- cooking, taking care of the house and least of all playing second fiddle to a man. There are plenty of women out there, who have had the guts to fight the age all traditions and not play the conventional roles, their mothers played. But in my case, being like my Mum, teaches me to be myself. That’s a tremendous advantage. Though, it’s like having a child rather than being one, which comes with it’s own challenges and frustrations, the lesson is to appreciate her more as a human being.

An important one has been learning how to channel the angst. A yoga teacher told me when I was little, I should stop eating non vegetarian food, I have ‘too much garmi’. Before your mind goes into overdrive, he did’nt mean what you think he meant. My teachers over the years went on to call it my, ‘mental energy’ and my ‘ excessive passion’. I just call it my Mother’s genes. But whatever this surge of energy is, which takes me up and down various roller coasters, at a time, on the downside turns me into a masochist. On the upside, up until very recently, I have been unable to channel to my advantage. But I am learning and it is slowly becoming an asset more than a liability. If transformed correctly, it could turn into ‘Chardee Kala’- a state of positivity that Sikhs are expected to be in.

One of my student’s recently broke down in class, for being yelled at by her parents. ‘But Ma’am they have never said anything to me!’, she said as she wiped her tears. It’s not the first time a student has cried in front of me. Like all teachers will tell you that is the most important part of our job, to be someone they can talk to. But this just took me aback. ‘My God, how hard it’s going to be for her to get used to life,’ I thought. I remember, in that moment thanking my Mum and Dad, for all the beatings I got. It toughened me up, enormously! Our irregular, not so normal, childhoods are a blessing!

Other than the question, ‘ aap ka dharam kyaa he?’, on the road I was also asked by most of the older people I met, why I wasn’t married and then given a lecture about it. Usually, if my relatives or friend’s ask me, the standard reply is, ‘ I want a hot, 18 year old boy.’ Trust me most people just don’t say anything after that. A friend’s Mum had a funny rebuttal, ‘ beta ye to matrimonial valo ko nahin, placement valo ko bolna padega.’ Of course boys are never told that.

My relationship with men, has become like smoking. I quit both a few years ago and if I sometimes, engage with either, the next day, I realise why I quit. Men are like cigarettes, highly addictive and injurious to my health. But nevertheless, I did find the answer to the question,’ but at least tell us what kind of a man are you looking for?’ I’m sure, if you’re single, you’ve been asked that. ‘ Doesn’t it make you wonder if it’s a man or a McDonald’s meal, you’re ordering? ‘I would like a large with extra mayo!’

But I shit you not, I gave it a serious thought. This is what I came up with-‘Fearless, Fuckable and Fun.’ Doesn’t matter if he is poor or rich, unattractive or good looking, a Gavaar or well educated, I can work with all of the above. But someone who is entertaining, isn’t an imitation of most and someone who likes everything I don’t (sports, science, maths). Superficially- Age is no barrier but would prefer someone much younger or much older, would prefer someone taller ( for procreation). Most of all, someone who is not the least bit intimated by my aggression and who would take on the World for what he believes! Try giving this on Jeevan Saathi.

Over 16,700 kms of driving through this country, a total of 66 days spent on the road and one incredibly long drive from Raipur to Delhi ( by 7 a.m I fell asleep and almost drove into a tree), later, I realise it’s an incredible life and I am so blessed to be able to do what I want, when I want to. Every less fortunate person, I meet on the road makes me realize I lucked out. Gratitude, gratitude and more gratitude, is the biggest lesson.