I imagine you all in various stages of preparation across the globe. Some of you are just waking up, others, in my timezone, are planning to valiantly fight New Year's Eve pressure and stay in with a good TV show and hot chocolate. Some of you are somewhere far and warm, and you're probably not even going to read this until it's 2017 already and you're back home and you're looking up at grey skies or blue with speckles of cloud, in the midst of traffic and you're wondering, "Now what?"
How was 2016? For me, it was a time of things FINALLY COMING TOGETHER.
* The home we had been working on all of 2015 was completed and we moved in in March. For the first time ever, there was an entire flat designed just for us. From the floor tiles to the particularities of the bathroom, to the kitchen we can leave open when we have parties or close against curious cats to a massive terrace that more often than not became our refuge. Plus all my books had a home in a writer's room out of a storybook: Jane Austen green walls, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, a massive desk, lots of light--I got a lot of work done there. Just when we thought we'd never want to leave Delhi again, we went off to Goa for a month, having promised a friend that we'd dog-sit while she was abroad. And we said--driving down green roads, eating our daily fish thaalis--how nice if this was our life too, and for the first time ever, we made it happen. So now I have not one but two beloved homes, and we're making it work, as unbelievable as it seems.
* I wrote a LOT in 2016 and for a while it seemed like I was just writing into the ether with nothing really happening. I won no big literary prizes, I wasn't making as much money as I wanted to, but (another first!) for the first time in my ten year freelance career I was not just breaking even, I was actually making a little money, and this made me feel like it was finally worth it--all those days of being broke next to rich friends, of choosing the cheaper option, of skimping and pinching, and putting off till I got more money--it had turned into something concrete--a career, not just living on a pipe dream and parental handouts. I also signed three books with Harper Collins this year, and while I'm not happy about my editor and friend leaving the publishing house, I did manage to finish another book, the first in a series retelling the Mahabharata. I'm hugely excited about this as it's the first time I've attempted this kind of writing, a genre-shift for me, and the first of the Girls of the Mahabharata: The One Who Swum With The Fishes, Satyavati's story, will be out summer of next year.
I feel oddly guilty about liking 2016 so much when I know so many of you didn't. And really, that all boils down to the fact that this was a year just for me. It was a year of inward thinking and not looking at the outside so much. It was a year of coming to terms with the introverted stuff that's important to me: homes, books, writing, and making space for those things within my life. I had great times with my friends, I had great times with my family, and with my partner, and our cats, but ultimately, 2016 was the Selfish Year, the year when I examined the questions of who am I and where am I going a lot more than I did any other year so far.