Even the most optimistic of optimists would agree it has been a terrible year. Considering what others have gone through I have come through this relatively unscathed. A trip to San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference and another week that I was to spend in New York with my cousins. That was the extent to which some plans did not work out for me. I was lucky to secure a new job in the middle of the pandemic, where so many are losing jobs or facing pay cuts My family and me have been relatively safe through the ordeal so far. Relative to the circumstances of so many others I would say it has been as good as it can possibly be. However, with nothing much to do outside, I have been reflecting on the past and when I think about the last decade it has been pretty great.
It is funny that a thing like a visa can be taken for granted by so many. Yet towards the tail end of the year, I got a visitor’s visa to the US for the next 10 years. It would enable me to make 4 trips there over the next decade. Trips that were the highlights of my decade.
In February of this year I took my first trip to the US for my uncle’s second wedding. The wedding was on a cruise ship which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. 7 days of lounging around, eating excessive food and just watching the ocean go by. Considering how precarious a cruise ship vacation will be considered in the future I am glad to have had this experience.
This was the year I left my job at Ubisoft to join an indie studio that was to be my workplace for the next 8 years. I learnt so many amazing things, met some incredible people and had so many of my life altering experiences in the entire time that I spent there.
If I had to choose one year as the best of the decade, this would be the one. It was the year that I had one of the best trips of my life. It started with the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco which itself was an incredible experience. However, I also had a chance to walk across the iconic Golden Gate bridge have a ton of fun with friends and also manage to spend a weekend with my cousin who just happened to move to Newport Beach in California around the time. That was not all. I spent 9 days in Peru before heading back home. My dream of visiting Machu Pichu that had begun almost 13 years ago when I first read about it had finally come true.
However, the most important thing to happen that year was that I first met the girl who was to become my wife.
I got married this year. Without doubt a significant event in anyone’s life. But everything about it was magical. The time before the wedding, a mini bachelor party and the honeymoon trip after.
Another conference to the US and while this was a much shorter trip with not many people accompanying me, it was still a fun trip and I met some nice people. I love amusement parks and this one let me go to California’s Great America.
I had seen those videos of baby turtles coming out of the sand and making their way towards the ocean. This was the first time I experienced it at Velas beach in Maharashtra.
In keeping with the tradition of trying to do a longer trip around the time of our wedding anniversary we went to Bhutan. A magical little country so close to our borders, it was a refreshing trip in every possible sense. The incredible natural beauty, the warmth of its people and its commitment to keep things that way were an important lesson how a small country has made conscious choices to maintain their heritage.
I only used to give a passing glance to news about unrest and other goings on in Kashmir until I decided that I must go there for a trip. I was still unsure, and it seemed like I was reading regular articles about trouble in the state right up until I was scheduled to leave.
I am so thankful I decided to go. It is without doubt one of India’s most beautiful places. A place with wars fought over it. I not only felt safe there we had a great time talking to and socializing with the people of the region, a tourism dependent region that has been devastated by the continual unrest.
It is also the year we knew we were going to have a baby
A long due family trip to Uttarakhand with Mom and Grandmom was special because it was the only trip we had done, with just the 3 of us. It is home to one of my favourite writers Ruskin Bond. We missed seeing him at a bookstore visit by all of 20 minutes. Still I consoled myself by buying a bunch of his signed books.
The other highlight of the year, the decade and perhaps future decades as well was the birth of my son. Nothing would ever be the same again.
Another year. Another trip. This was our craziest one yet. My cousin’s destination wedding on a small island named Isla Mujeres off the coast of Mexico. Making it all the way there with an 8-month-old kid in tow was an adventure by itself.
Somehow it all worked out. A sunset wedding on a beach is a magical sight and the baby was on his best behaviour throughout 😋