Arbit thoughts on New Year's Eve

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I'm shocked that the first decade of the new millennium is over. I still remember my sister and I were watching Titanic as 2000 dawned. And close to midnight, we ran to the balcony and counted the seconds to 2000 on her watch. I was a gawky 14-year-old, and she, a college student. She's now a mother! God, I feel so old!

I've been reading so much about the Margazhi season recently, that I am longing to go to Chennai so badly. I'm fiercely jealous of anyone in Chennai right now, and anything that people have to say about the city and the December kutcheries, etc., are capable of causing a spiral into nostalgia. As a kid and as a teenager I used to hate attending a lot of these kutcheries, but thinking back on them now, I figure I rather enjoyed them once I was there. Visions of accompanying paati (all gleaming in her silk saree) to a TM Krishna kutchery in Music Academy, and with amma to TTD for a Nithyashree kutchery seem like glimpses of someone else's life. Not to forget good ol' Krishna Gana Sabha that we used to go to thadukki vizhunda, simply for the sheer proximity of the Sabha to our house. And as years moved on and kutchery outings became rarer, the TV - especially the Margazhi Mahotsavam on Jaya TV - slowly became the window to the world of December season kutcheries.

The other day I asked my mother if Salem had any such thing. Her response indicated Salem didn't even feature in any musician's plans. Obviously, I thought. What wouldn't I give to go back to my life in T.Nagar - to five years back - when life, home, friends and everything outside of Singapore centered on Chennai!

When I think back on 2010, I feel it was a strange 'non-happening' year - despite everything that happened - an escalation of responsibilities at work, carrying the DSLR pretty much everywhere, and opting to have fun by watching movies, eating out and simply yapping away. I think I used up most of 2010 making plans for 2011.

Of course, Spark was among the biggest things that happened in 2010. My writing habit has been whipped back into shape, I have been having great fun editing people's works, reading the brilliant things a lot of them have to say. My awe for anyone who can write poems has increased manifold.

New Year in Chennai meant a trip to Muppathamma Kovil beating its crazy crowds. I haven't been home for New Year's in three years. Midnight would have made no difference at home because I'd be fast asleep :) Tonight, I'm determined to catch the fireworks in Singapore and take some photos of them - fingers crossed!

I know 2011 is going to be a big year. I see it coming. I feel strangely optimistic and confident, and yet my brains are telling me to stay calm and be practical. Keeping in line with my usual levels of resolutions, here's what I plan to do in 2011:

- take Spark to new levels
- more photography. Joining a beginners' class soon!
- travel. Greece is happening next year. I still can't believe it :)
- ice cream at least once a week, but reduce the number of chocolates.
- a return to those long walks I used to take in NTU.
- chart out a proper plan to volunteer/give back - no sporadic money donations,  something bigger.

That's enough, already. Cheers to the New Year! Hope 2011 has more happiness, no disasters or war, amazing health and fun!