It has definitely been an eventful start to 2016 for me.
A lot of new experiences and unexpected moments to look back on as January came to an end. And that is exactly why taking up Vidya's Gratitude Circle Blog Hop & Everyday Gyaan's MondayMusings is perfect - it allows me the chance to reminisce on all the things that brought a smile to my face in the first month of 2016.

Old traditions:


Celebrating the start of a Brand New Year with the same medical college roommates I've been celebrating it with since 2000. Sure we've packed on a 'few' extra kilos and lost a 'few' strands of hair too over the years but it's heartening to know that deep down, we haven't changed at all.
Rest assured, we tried out the yummiest that Mangalore has to offer - fish pulimunji & rava fry, squid in 4-5 different varieties, pork & prawns and of course, the iconic Mangalorean Chicken Ghee roast. 

Celebrity spotting:


My first trip north of Delhi also got me my first celebrity sighting of the year right at the airport.
You may know Priyadarshan as the director of Bollywood comedy hits of the early 2000s including Hera Pheri, Hungama and Hulchul but I remember him for such gems from the golden era of Malayalam cinema as Kilukkum and Chithram. He was simply brilliant in those movies, making you laugh out loud for 2 hours before abruptly changing the tone and leaving you teary eyed as you left the theatre. He knew how to make you care about the characters in his movies.


Prior to leaving, I had joked with my colleagues that I was going to Delhi to meet the chief minister. Turns out I was almost right. I did end up meeting the ex-chief minister of Delhi, Sheila Dixit, at the wedding (more on that later). In fact, she was the one who encouraged Renjith and me (the two docs who flew down from Kerala) to join the troupe that day as we danced our way to the wedding hall.

Hey, how do you say no to a chief minister?!

New land, New Delhi:

I honestly didn't know what to really expect of Delhi after all that I read about it for so long. As it turned out, it was one of the best trips I've had in years. The love and warmth that we received from the groom's family... you instantly feel like a part of the family instead of just guests. Add to that, so many places we have only read about in articles and magazines and here, all of a sudden, you get to see them in person.

Bellinis for breakfast? I don't think we are in Kerala anymore!
And do not be fooled by those unassuming pale brown score of six in the plate on the right. 
Eating those wasabi prawns was basically "crunch, munch, crunch, munch, crunch, SMOKE COMES OUT OF NOSTRILS."

60 feet wide, 90 feet long, 37 kilograms.
No, those are not the dimensions of the pizza I had for lunch.
This is Tiranga at Connaught Place, 
the second largest national flag of India.


Meeting old friends:

If a chief minister had me dancing on the streets, Sushmita Malakar had me going around in circles. Literally actually, as we sat on the top floor of the revolving restaurant Parikrama and bitched gossiped cursed fondly discussed our fellow bloggers while the evening turned to night.


Ours is a wonderful example of the funny ways absolute strangers become friends. Before this, we have met for barely an hour over a year ago (she found me hogging at a breakfast table in Goa; I am all about making a memorable first impression, you see.) But we kept in touch and with time, became each other's confidantes. We are there for each other when needed - as a shoulder to lean on, a friend to laugh with or just share our inner insecurities without fear of judgement. Out of a 1000 Facebook friends, you can count yourself lucky if you have ten people who fit that description.

An Awesome Punjabi wedding: 

For those of you who haven't attended one till date, you really need to add it to your wish list. I've been to a lot of weddings over the years but I've honestly never had as much fun as I did here. There was dancing on the streets, awesome food, dancing in the hallways, awesome drinks, dancing at home... did I mention dancing?

The pre-wedding sangeet




The morning of the wedding. A stark contrast to the solemn nature of our own
Keralite weddings! And yes, he is sitting on top of the drum.


Pre-wedding section where everybody gets to refresh themselves 
before entering the gurudwara.

The function within the prayer hall was beautiful & serene. 

The reception: Also, the coldest weather
I have faced in my life.


The Bloody CR/SR/JRs:

It was nice to catch up with the old Bloody chief, seniors & juniors (remember this video?) and see how far they have reached in their lives.
Two cardiac anaesthetists, two general anaesthetists and 
me, Snoopy's chauffeur. 

Yes, that is my 'lust' face.

In 2009, as our bloody junior, she used to drive us nuts.
Now she just drives us!

One thing I found hilarious was the way the groom kept introducing me to his fellow doctors - "This is my senior. Do you remember last year we shared the article about the guy who would make his daughter a pole dancer instead of a doctor? This is da maan!"
Turns out a lot of my peers there actually had loved it and shared it! Talk about your blog's reputation preceding you! 

Birthday:

Well, another year of experience added to my crown. Didn't really expect a cake since it was a low key thing this year around so that was a wonderful surprise. God bless the few who make the extra effort to let us know we matter. 
I wanted one candle for each year of my life but the Fire department 
refused to grant permission for such a dangerous bonfire.

Stand by Me:

I guess I'm doing something right somewhere. When things got a bit tense soon after, I was surprised to find not just moral but outright support when I took a stand. I'm kind of used to friends and even family disappearing in times of need to avoid getting into any hassles. So an open show of support was heartening.

Pride & Privilige:



Even more heartening was a message from an old teacher. At some level, we all wish we had the approval and thumbs up sign from our guides. This felt good.


It's only a month down and already three of the things in my 2016 Vision board have materialized in some form or the other (travel to new destinations, meet old friends.)
That is heartening cause there are some really tough hurdles to accomplish still left in that board.
But hey, a good start to what will hopefully be another memorable year. Have a great month everyone.

You can find the gratitude posts of January for other bloggers here.

#MondayMusings
Also linking to EverydayGyaan's Monday Musings.

33 Comments

Absolutely best post to read to kick off my February! What a heartwarming round up of January. It certainly looks like you're channelising the Secret and attracting good things. So happy for you and yes, eager to know more about Sheila Dixit! Love all the photos and oh, the captions even more :)
Cathy Graham said…
Glad you had such a great start to the year, Roshan with all the fun things you did. Loved looking at the photos and reading about it. That wedding looked amazing. I like learning more about the different groups in India and the Sikhs are a group I like learning more about. Just watched a very sweet movie about a Sikh guy in New York City being a driving instructor and his friendship with a woman going through a divorce. Learning to Drive it was called. Ben Kingsley was great. I found it a heartwarming movie and so interesting to learn more about what it means to be a Sikh and being an immigrant, too. I love learning about other cultures. It's such fun to be a part of Blog A Rhythm and be able to learn about India through all the bloggers. Fascinating!
Vidya Sury said…
Roshan, your post is so very feel-good! Nothing like getting together with friends you've known for a long time - and classmates? Fantastic! I am blessed to be besties with some of my classmates and we're practically like soul-extensions of each other! So happy you had such a memorable Jan! Punjabi weddings are always super-fun and boisterous. :) So you're a bigger celebrity now! The CM is following you around eh?

Priyadarshan - you've summed up his movies perfectly. I've seen all those - and Kilukkam - omg. Such fond memories!

Hugs! Stay blessed!
Geets said…
Wow..!!! What an amazing kick start for the New year..!! The gratitude list is lovely.. and the wedding.. Ah! I've been to couple of such weddings and they are only bliss.. fun, food, drinks, dance, music.. what not! And this time it was pretty warm in the North compared the amount of chilly winters we get here!

The humor in the posts made me smile quite a few times :) Thanks for writing it that way Doc :)

Cheers
Rekha Dhyani said…
You sure have had a wonderful January. I am sorry I realized you are in Delhi much later. Otherwise we could have met. That message from your teacher is what touched me. Straight from the heart. God bless you, Roshan! Here's to the remaining eleven months. Have a great year!
Rachna said…
Roshan, how very nice. Loved the roundup. Being with old friends is just the nicest. Punjabi wedding balle balle! And Shiela Dixit. :-)
SHANAYA TALES said…
Wow! Your 2016 is off to such a great start! I cannot recollect much from January - except a snow storm, that kept us under house arrest. Bleak! Here's hoping for a better Feb for me, and a wonderful rest of the year for you. :)
A fabulous and very joyful recap of January. And much needed positivity for most of us, Doc.
You're lucky that you have earned / made friends who will always be there for you.
Here's hoping that you have a lot more joy to come in 2016.
Kala Ravi said…
Its just Jan and you have an entire post filled with your revelry! Wow! Way to rock it Doc! Your enthusiasm is infectious. Here's wishing you many more eventful months...all the very best!
tulika singh said…
Was that just one month? I hope you sing/dance/spot celebs/meet friends and have fun all year through. Loved the happy pictures. Now to go look for a Punjabi friend and wrangle an invite to his/her wedding.
Thanks Shailaja. Yes, it is yet again another version of the SECRET indeed and definitely early indications seem to be positive for now. As for the ex-CM, well what can I say? Zero security... she was just another person in the crowd, frankly. That surprised me in some ways, and I mean that in a pleasant way.
Funnily enough, I haven't seen that movie myself. Our own Bollywood films tend to make a caricature of Punjabis in general but where weddings are concerned, I seriously doubt you can get a better function than theirs. And believe me, this was as big a cultural experience for me as it is for you reading it. I have never experienced anything like this myself.
I know what you mean... we all should be blessed to have long term besties who have stayed with us through thick and thin and appreciate us. And yes, technically I can say the CM was behind me the whole time (since she was literally behind me!!)

You can still watch Kilukkam even today and after laughing through all the madness of Jagathy and Innocent, when that iconic background tune starts to play towards the end, you still get goosebumps.

I actually heard that from the people there - that this was what was considered a 'warm' winter in Delhi! And that's scary... I was chilly all day long and especially on that final reception night, we were literally seated around the coals! :D
Don't think I ever had a holiday where I was wearing a jacket throughout
Didn't know you were in Delhi!
Touchwood will visit there a lot faster the next time.
Totally agree. When I see that list again, friends make up a huge part of it. Well, that and food obviously :D
Ah yes, I have been reading about the storm at your end. Can't imagine a situation like that ever in Kerala. Here's hoping Feb is a 100 times more awesome for you to make up for Jan!
Sid, as Shailaja mentioned, it is part of the whole 'Secret' concept again. Deliberately focusing on all the positives and (thanks to diminishing memory cells) forgetting the bad moments.
And yes, learned from experience who will be there (even if just morally) by your side during bad times.
Hahaha... if happiness is infectious, I'm glad to be a carrier :)
haha... yes, just one month. And boy, I should be so lucky to have such moments every month. But more importantly, definitely go blackmail all the Punjabi buddies to get married fast so you can enjoy!!
jaish_vats said…
That has been an amazing start to 2016....wishes for the fun to stay all year round
Vinitha Dileep said…
Wow, What a memorable January you had! Did you have 31 days just like us or did you manage to sneak in an extra couple of weeks last month? Wishing you such amazing months throughout this year, Roshan. :)
Vidya Sury said…
I am going to do exactly that. I've saved it up as a treat after I wrap up a project tomorrow. I am sad to say I have the VHS cassette that doesn't work any more :(
Shalini said…
Such a great time you had! I always wanted to get married to a North Indian so that I can dance all week long. Kerala weddings are depressing. It gets over in a day!!! (well, I wanted to get married to a butcher (Dad's idea as I crave for non-veg food), owner of Dairy Milk (you know why)..but let's just skip that).

Such a heart warming post, Roshan! May you be happy always!
bellybytes said…
May the rest of the year be as happy and eventful.
Eli Ert said…
Oh that was quite a month- so much fun events! Happy for you mister lucky:-) Made me smile to read through this post and look at the pics . with the minister... wow HAhaha- too funny. I was lucky to go to a Punjabi wedding too - omg - will never forget - so much crazy fun! Amaaazing:-)
Thanks :) I hope so too.
haha.. best comment ever. Yes, when I look back it does seem like more fun than a month should have ideally :)
Haha... great minds think alike. I too always wanted to marry the daughter of Cadburys!! :D
Eli, thanks. Lucky is not a word people usually associate with me. And glad you got to enjoy the experience too!
payal agarwal said…
Wonderful post. Lovely pictures. Weddings are full masti time in north. We have kind of extreme climate here. Thank God, weather was quite pleasant this year.:)
Yes, Payal. That is a major difference between the North and South. More often than not, the weddings down South are a solemn affair. So this was a wonderful change to watch :)