Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Do you know people who are obsessed with Obama? It was a whole moment in pop culture, right next to the owl necklaces and purple-coloured mood boards. I feel that the whole crowd died down faster than I could spell 'orange' but hey, it made an everlasting impact on my memory. When I think of folks who like(d) Obama, I think of 2016 when I first met someone who was low-key into him. Cute. 

Turns out, the doctor's prescription of 'take a trip to the tropics' was more than just pep talk. It was fucking fantastic, running the hell out of the country and escaping to the beach. I also learned new things about myself, including how I'm willing to forego everything and everyone while chasing an azure sunset and watching Arab-German men play Hip-Hop and smoke weed. I couldn't have written this trip better and I realised that I've truly grown leaps and bounds in a decade, and then in the last five years was worth every overpriced rupee to baht conversion I did. 

Thailand has offered me a new lease of life. I am the world's sleepiest and the most active person all at once. My hormones are alive and kicking (if I tell you the details I'd have to kill you) and more than anything, it was a homage to all the old chapters in my life. From visiting Commons on my birthday eve for desserts to the jazz bar, everything happened this time. Again, I'm trying my best to skirt around the facts without giving details because the devil resides there. We don't want to disturb the dead. 

Thailand was also simultaneously aggressive; I can't hold them responsible either. Drunk Indian tourists misbehaving with the extended support staff was just the tip of the iceberg. The only time I've been made uncomfortable in years of travelling, including this year has been in the company of Indian male tourists who surround you after realising you're a woman without a man around you. God help you if you've displayed your legs or chest. However, fat tax is something that could be looked into. If you think you're good-looking or hot, go to Thailand and the people there will humble you. It happened to me, that while the folks here couldn't get over how I was glowing and looking fab, the disdain that the locals had was something else.

I also travelled internationally for the first time post-pandemic and it's a new world order, hey. Everything is way more expensive than ever and even if you have grown in your career and spending capacity, the same doesn't correspond with inflation. The only difference that couldn't be measured up in capital invested in the trip is my personal growth and learnings. I went in a different person and came back a wholly different individual. No amount of money can make it happen, but just experience. Thankfully, Thailand always delivers. You either come back jaded as hell or a completely new being. I'm glad to be on the other side. 

This is probably also the first time in over 30 years that I didn't really care much for my birthday. It was super chill. My companion in crime (who organised Thailand's end of places to eat, see and do), and family did their best to raise my spirits and raise they did. I had a fantastic Taiwanese meal and went to a killer speakeasy before stopping for the world's best ice cream and churros. We basically peaked that night and most of it was planned last minute. Even the part of it when I returned to India and whatever I did was last minute. Everything was light and the vibes were immaculate. I was surrounded by the people I love the most. The day was a potent reminder to know how many lives have you impacted and touched over the course of the year and life and then take stock of things for the time to come. 

Another life lesson to pick is that risks can be good, especially when you're going in blind. Half of this month went into doing everything I never thought I'd do or could do and yet, here I am. I pushed my body to move and I'm grateful to know it's capable of doing that. I ate clean and listened to my body, instead of approaching food with a scarcity mindset or doing a whole 'this is the last time'. Even if it is the last time, it's okay. I'll die on a hill that pre-pandemic food is better than post-pandemic food and that birthdays are best brought in with people you love than people you don't know at airports (especially if you're taking a 7:35 am flight). 

I've resumed walking and it feels fantastic. I mean, I'm not able to do a lot and especially all at once but knowing that I can still do it, is all the inspiration I needed for the year. If I could do it once, I could do it again and that better be my whole 32 experience. 

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