The year that was : My top ten list of 2011

The New Year has a strange effect on people, it seems. Most of us tend to feel happy ( while some of us sulk) at the thought of a New Year. Well, I am happy, by most measures; even if  life is a bit harsh, and not “perfect”.  Looking back at 2011, I do feel I have lived a year full of thinking, reflection and action. The year gone by was good – actually very good by some measures. Here is a list of the top ten things that I did or happened to me in 2011.

  1. I was called Mr.Kahn  – This was hilarious, in fact ironically well-timed, when my name was misspelled as  Sabith Kahn, in the Maxwell Perspective, our school magazine to which I had contributed a few articles – just as another Mr.Kahn  (Dominique Strauss Kahn) was being held for a rather heinous crime in NY City. For once, I did not like how my last name had been mis-spelt. Most of the times, I don’t mind. This time around, I was pissed. Seriously.
  2. Turned down two jobs – Yes, I did it. Just when I needed them the most.  Turns out that it was the best thing to do, because the “leaders” running these organizations were scumbags, vile, hateful and obnoxious people. Speaking of “seeing through BS”.
  3. I started a new company – Yes, a non-profit, at that. MENASA was formally incorporated in October 2011, though the idea of the organization took seed in my mind at the beginning of the year.
  4. Finished my first novel, started work on my first non-fiction e-book – I started and finished “Citizen of Paradise” in the summer of 2011. It is sitting in a publishers office now, as we speak; awaiting a decision. I hope it sees light of the day in 2012. Insha Allah.
  5. Moved to live in DC – The political capital of the world. I also realize how small, provincial, DC politics can be. At the same time, it is a great city to live in. I am not complaining.
  6. Suffered a heart-break ( or was it two ?)  – Yes, that happened too ! But there is hope !
  7. I became a born-again Muslim – Just kidding. I have always been a practicing Muslim, but 2011 brought me in touch with my own identity, much more than I needed to. I can thank the Republicans for that. Thank you Mr.Peter king and the other crazies in the US. I think I am happy in my skin, but the amount of vicious attacks against president Obama ( for being a “secret” Muslim) and other anti-Muslim propaganda did make me very conscious of my identity. Much more than in India, I would say. Identity politics is really dirty business.
  8. I re-discovered the joys of Chicken Tanduri with Hummus  – Yes, I  started cooking, with a vengeance. I can feed people, and I think this is a measure of a man. Really, whether one can cook and feed others says a lot about a man too. Don’t believe me ?  Ask any lady, she will tell you.
  9. The year I discovered the “volunteer” bone in myself  – Yes, I did volunteer a LOT. Much more than I thought I could have or wanted to. I serve as the Executive Director of MENASA, the non-profit I have founded, in a volunteer capacity.
  10. I realized that I can actually write – in English.  No kidding. The year 2011 was also the year, during which I was asked,  during job interviews( more than 3 times), if I could “write in English”. Hmmmm….how do you think I replied ?