Once upon a time, a certain Bigshot Blogger (read Vidya Sury) decided to respond to an article on Oprah’s website: 11 Things Every Woman Should Write Down Before the Year Ends. Then,  the smart woman (Vidya, not Oprah!), passed on the tag to a Ms Ever-ready Blogger, Richa Singh, who passed it on to the Super(woman) Blogger, Shilpa Garg, who passed the tag on to Ms Ever-Enthusiastic Blogger, Meena Menon, who passed it on to little old me. So here I am trying hard to live up to their super posts.

1. What Younger You Would Like About Present You
My younger self would jump up and give me a high-five for the fact that I’m finally learning to stand up for myself. No one messes with the present me! “You want to play games, go play them in your own yard.”  Yes, I’m getting more comfortable with who I am. So what if I’m a late starter?  At least I’m learning to say no and not feel any guilt. For all of this, I must credit my number one cheerleader, Jose!

2. The Watched/Read It List
I hardly watch movies – but thanks to Romedy Now, I’ve watched several in the last few weeks. The one that stands out for me is – Living Out Loud. It reminded me that illness or change of circumstances can make us re-look at life and our priorities.  It told me that it’s never too late to do what you’re passionate about.

And books – this has been a year for books. I’ve read about 150 (amended to read: 138) of them this year. The life-changing on is Julia Cameron’s – The Artist’s Way.  It has helped me to silence my inner critic!

3. The Mistake You Never Want to Make
If there’s one thing I can’t stand is self-righteous behaviour! So if you ever feel that I’m beginning to sound or act that way, you have my permission to reach out and give me a whack on my head. I’m serious.

4. Your Ideal Outfit
I’m wearing it – jeans with a loose blouse – but it would be nice if both were a smaller size! 😉

5. A Deep, Dark—Shhh—Secret
I bite my nails – the more interesting the book I’m reading, the more I chew my nails! Okay, go on now, analyse that!

6. The Most Unexpected Compliment You Ever Got
This was a shocker from earlier this year – it wasn’t just the person but also what s/he said: ‘You’re the most sensible one in your family.’  Ha….If only my family realized that! But now that it’s the public domain they might take notice – and see how true that is.

7. That One Quote
This is something that has given me loads of strength ever since I was a teenager – it’s a verse from the Bible which comes with a story of its own for me – I’ll be sharing the background soon, but here it is:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Another one that just occurred to me is : Being awesome is the best revenge. Thank you, Karen Salmansohn.

8. The Best Surprise You’ve Ever Had
This was the nicest thing that was sprung on me during my visit to the Philippines. It was a Sunday and it happened to be my birthday. My hosts, a lovely group of young people, took me to Church and after Mass there was a surprise birthday party complete with pizza and singing. Complete strangers came up and wished me. If that wasn’t enough, I was taken out for dinner and suddenly the waiters came in singing with a cake! It was 1994 and this wasn’t something that happened in India then. I was so touched and grateful.

I’m glad that I’ve reconnected with many of these lovely people!

9. Your True Happiness
It’s always the ordinary everyday stuff that makes me happy –  Jose, with Pablo thrown in for good measure,  sharing the cooking (and the eating), laughter and conversations, working on our computers or reading books in companionable silence. And then it’s the crazy conversations with friends – a little leg-pulling, some banter and lots of encouragement!

10. Your Favorite Failure
This is a difficult one for sure. But I’d say it’s when my business plans didn’t take off like they were meant to – which gave me the freedom to move to Mumbai and on to my present life – and also discover blogging – a whole new world!

11. An Amendment to the Bucket List
I don’t have a bucket list  so there isn’t one to amend. But there’s one big decision I made this year – I don’t plan to publish a book any more – via the official route, at least. I realize I don’t have it in me to do what it takes to sell a book. Instead, I’m going to be writing more and working on sharing what I write in other ways.

This wasn’t as easy an exercise as I thought it would be. But I’m glad I undertook it. It helped me clarify a lot of things for myself.

2013 has been very kind to me – as I bid the year goodbye, I do so with gratitude for the love, the friendship (old and new), the good health and all the experiences I’ve had. And I’m grateful to you, my dear readers.

I wish you the very best in 2014! God bless you and your families.

PS: Also read posts on this topic by Kajal Kapur, Pratibha Pal and Prudhvi Lata.