2017- The year that was.

Traditionally, this is an exercise I undertake every year on my birthday. Taking stock of the year gone by and goal-setting for next year. But, this year, I am making an exception. January being my birthday month, I thought waiting for another 16 days is as good as writing about 2017 today.

What triggered this was a blog post I read of an amazing woman Amelia Boone. A legal counsel with Apple Inc. as also an athlete, she truly inspires me in many ways. Her blogpost, which I read first thing as I opened my eyes and lay in bed gathering enough courage to get out of the cosy blanket and hit gym on this particularly cold January morning, just made me realize how grateful I should be of the year gone by.

People who know me closely, know about the various challenges that I have overcome in life to reach where I am today. And with the gloomy winter setting in, I was feeling low about life and contemplating on thoughts that mostly leave one disturbed and little depressed. But, the blogpost cheered me up and brought back the focus that I need to survive the long winter ahead of me.

Last year was beautiful and if I look at it, it was full of trials and tribulations as also the rewards that come after you have successfully overcome your biggest fears. I have five major things to be grateful to God for. These things have definitely made me stronger and as I jot them down henceforth, the idea is not to trivialize the small blessings that came my way, every day.

1.  Becoming an Advocate-on-Record in Supreme Court: The year started with butterflies in my stomach. It was all about whether I would clear the exam or will I flunk. It was my first attempt and the winters went by waiting for the result to come. As I stood in Court No. 12 completely unaware that the result had been declared, Rajiv Sir came and told me that I had cleared. I remember very distinctly, telling him that he must have accidently seen the list of students who may be in the other list. As I rushed to see the list, the whole journey from Court No. 12 to the display board outside Library 1 felt like‘a journey of thousand miles’. It was there, right where it was supposed to be. In the list of people who qualified and became AOR. I had never heard my parents be so happy and proud of me as they were then. I had never felt true happiness until that moment.

2.  Establishing my own independent practice:  After becoming an AOR came the second challenge, of establishing my own independent practice. First generation lawyer that too female, in field of litigation, establishing independent practice, definitely looked like an uphill task. Sometimes, I felt like quitting but then something or someone would always say, just hold on for a little bit more. And with baby steps, I have been able to establish a thriving independent practice. Many people were instrumental in supporting me and they all know how deeply indebted I shall always be for their faith in me.

3.  Being part of Hadiya case: Usman, my friend and little brother (not younger because he is growing old) asked me to file Hadiya case during summer vacations. He said it will be a case which will change your life. Little did I know that a case has the capability of changing your life. The ups and downs that came during the case made me realize how we take our freedom for granted. It made me realize that the patriarchal nature of the society is so deeply ingrained that a woman’s voice will always be shut and her freedom sabotaged. It made me realize how much the society has increasingly become intolerant to a particular religion. It made me see how I was so vulnerable to be sabotaged by people who were once my ‘friends and well-wishers’. It brought out in full view how for men (pretending to be ‘friends and well-wishers’), it was easier to character assassinate a woman who was working hard every day, just because they could not overcome their insecurities. It brought me to a situation where being strong was the only option and I did just that, stayed strong.

4.   Running my first 11k: A couple of years back, I was obese (I am still over-weight). I couldn’t walk, the knees had given up and walking 100 ft was a challenge. I always wanted to run. But, as I grew old, it felt like a distant dream. Walking itself felt like a task, running a far-fledged dream. Then, I met Mr. Khullar in gym and life changed. He had finished 21k three times and he motivated a few of us to run. In a matter of 3 weeks, he got us all to run our first 11k. Running is done not just by your muscles but also with your will power. When the last kilometre was left and as I could see Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, the energy came from somewhere, some muscle I dint even know, existed. But, I did it and now I run every week atleast 3 times and I love it. I only pray to God that I continue to run. It is emancipating.

5.   Finding true love: The year showered me with love. So much love that I never knew I deserved. My parents love me so much and without their love, I dont think I can survive. My siblings, Prachi and Prashant, have been my pillars of strength; it is their unconditional support that makes me stronger every day. My niece Anadita has been most beautiful and loving person in my life. She has been my love and will always be the love of my life, until of course my brother has kids and then they will join the bandwagon. Most of my friends, my dear dear friends, have been so supportive and caring that I have never even for once (even for a nanosecond) felt lonely. The year gone by has blessed me with the support of some really amazing people who are now my true love.

What a wonderful year it was! 2017. So many things to be grateful about. Numerous heartbreaks, innumerable happy moments. God has been kind. Hoping that his blessings stay with me through this year. Life is Good. TOUCHWOOD!

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