2008 was a watershed year for me. Since some of my naïve readers might think that ‘water-shed’ is what Raj Kapoor’s heroines do to their clothes when it rains, let me clarify, watershed means, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary,

a crucial dividing point, line, or factor : TURNING POINT

A number of significant events happened, which I am listing here:

1. Nikki entered her teens: My daughter became a teenager: she turned 6 years old. There are several evidences which prompt me to urge important international organizations like U.N.O, W.H.O or M.N.S (not sure whom to approach) to reduce the official age which marks the beginning of teenage from 13 to 6.

For instance, when we asked her,’ What do you want to do this weekend?’ she would reply, ‘What are the options?’

When I was a kid, this question was asked by girls who were, around 25 years of age to the question, ‘Which boy do you want to marry?’ This question was usually asked by a harassed father, with deep furrows on his forehead, worrying about his provident fund money, and holding up 3 – 4 photographs of ‘eligible boys’. Each of those boys would be at various stages of balding, wearing safari suit/smart trousers and full-sleeved t-shirts and posing against a stylish futuristically-styled vehicle like a Maruti 800 or a Vespa scooter.

But, now, 6 year olds have the beaten those 25 year-olds, who would get nervous at the question and twist their dupatta-edge round their fingers, agonizing on the options (‘So what if he is bald, he has a safari suit..’)

Nikki often gives me feedback (‘Why don’t you wake up earlier: you can get a lot more done that way!’), compliments (‘your hair is looking good today!’), marital counseling (‘Why do you give papa so much work?’) and career advice (‘why don’t you become a teacher in my school?’).

On this note, the other watershed event was:

2. Prithvi did not grow up: At least, mentally. Physically, he towers above other 2 year-olds as he lumbers across his tiny school compound trampling over the smaller kids, and pulling little girls by their hair.

On the other hand, he continues to lag in ‘maturity milestones’ compared to his sister. He still pees on the floor and laughs as if it were something funny. He still cannot recognize any color: red is blue, orange is green and white is pink. He has a lesser-evolved view of what toys are meant for: they are smashed, destroyed with the vengeance you’d see on the face of a fashion model as she walks down the ramp (but seriously, why do fashion models look so stern and angry? Is it because they are trying too hard to not laugh at the clothes they are wearing?)

One day, on my way to work, I was caught in traffic jam. On some deeper exploration, I found out that it was caused by a group of auto drivers. No, not the stuff about how they drive badly, swerve and block. They had, in fact, parked their autos and climbed some trees. The trees gave them a vantage point to peer above the HAL boundary wall to watch a helicopter landing. On the other hand, women, selling vegetables on handcarts, continued to snake past, trying to get to the weekly market on time. I wondered: ‘Why don’t they also dump their carts, climb trees, to watch the helicopter land?’And then AHA! In a moment of sudden realization, it dawned on me why Prithvi is not growing up!

3. Alok played golf, watched CNBC and researched on reasons for avoiding my checklists: Most of his time was spent doing the above. I used a lot of technology in sending him checklists to complete: SMS, email, reminders. I also brought in process improvements like deadlines and SLAs. But, finally what worked were traditional and time-tested methods like threats and emotional blackmail.

4. I worked out and wrote a book: The deal is simple: since I am writing this myself, I get to write nice things about me. I entered the year with 2 resolutions: lose weight and write a book. Somehow managed both to some degree of satisfaction.

On the whole, I enjoyed just every moment, just being with Alok and Nikki and Prithvi: worrying all the time for them, trying not to control-freak on everything and telling myself to take it easy all the time!

On a more serious note, 2008 was a great year: I celebrated friends who got married, had babies, excelled at their jobs and cried with those who faced tragedies. Every passing day made me realize how many blessings I have. It made me pray and thank God for them.

For 2009, my resolution is to fret less, relax more, worry less, and enjoy more. And keep praying for health and happiness for me and all loved ones. Nothing else matters.