My final entry for this year as 2009 draws to an end – and what a year it has been. These are some random thoughts – mostly personal – about the year that will pass into history in just over a couple of hours.

We saw the inauguration of the first African American president of the US and that was something that I did not expect to see in my lifetime. It was a presidency that most of us who voted for him had the highest of hopes and expectations which at this point remains unrealized for the most part.

We came to the brink of a financial cataclysm where the entire world’s financial system was on the verge of collapse with a second great depression as a possible consequence.

Amidst the financial carnage that has affected so many Americans when it comes to their savings, retirement funds or their jobs, I feel greatly blessed that we have come out of it relatively unscathed.

We spent a month in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau – one of the more memorable vacations we have had and about which I have posted elsewhere on this blog.

Our stay in Hong Kong gave us a chance to become acquainted with my relative Thomas Abraham’s wife – Rebecca – and family, although he was unfortunately in Geneva at the time of our visit. We were also able to renew our association with Shanthan and family – after a break of several years – who hosted us in Beijing where he is on assignment.

Mini, after working part time for several years, retired at the end of last year and seems to be thoroughly enjoying her retirement.

I started this blog earlier this year when we were doing our winter sojourn in Kerala. I have been able to keep the postings to a couple on most weeks. It seems to bear out what several people who know me well have said: namely, that I seem to be more comfortable and communicative when it comes to the net than in person. Not sure that is entirely true but who am I to argue!

We have stayed In relative good health and for that we feel blessed especially given the realization that it has enabled us to stay active and mobile.

My children are doing well both personally and with regard to their respective occupations. What more can any parent ask for when it comes to the welfare of their offspring?

I have been particularly fortunate to have my three children now living close to me with the relocation of Neeta to Virginia from California. Her move was quite unexpected and has worked out well for her – she enjoys the support systems of having family close by. One of the routines that has occurred with Neeta’s move – which started out almost casually – is a weekly lunch that I do with one or both of my daughters.

My grandchildren are a source of joy and pride. I can’t believe how fast they are growing. The notion that my grandson, DJ, is now in the same middle school that Amit was just a few years ago and will be actually testing for entrance into the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is almost difficult to conceive.

The death of two of my peers from my days in Kenya and both who were resident in the UK and both from stomach cancer made me feel both saddened and more aware of my own mortality. Also, as I have said to others with our parent’s generation pretty much having passed on, my generation seems next in line.

It was a banner year for house-guests. I don’t think we have had a year since we moved to Northern Virginia that we have had this many house-guests – we were glad to have had the time to spend with them since we are both retired.

We went on three cruises this year: one on the Yangtze River in China and two were Caribbean cruises. Peter and family accompanied us on one of them which made it all the more enjoyable.

It is great to have my sibling, Peter, live so close to us providing mutual support – something that assumes increasing importance as one gets older. One of my mother’s earnest hopes was that her children would maintain a close relationship with each other after she was gone – I think she would be gratified at the extent to which we keep in touch with each other. My children and Peter’s children are so close to each other and they enjoy each other’s company. I wish there was the same degree of closeness between them and my other siblings’ children.

This blog was the catalyst for my re-establishing contact with an old friend from Chicago days who now lives in Florida. We lost touch with each other because of circumstances and I was delighted to be able to talk to him and his wife and catch up with events in each other’s lives.

As I reflect on the past year there is little that I regret and much that I am thankful for. I was told many years ago that I have a low threshold for satisfaction since there really is not much that I feel I’d do differently and generally feel that life has treated me more than fairly. If true, perhaps that is why I see the past year as having been a happy one.

So we move into a new year – even if not a new decade despite confusion about when each decade starts and ends. But since – as I read somewhere – we moved from the year 1 BC to the year 1 AD and never had a year 0, it follows that if the first decade started with 1 AD then it must have ended with the close of year 10 AD and so the current decade would have started with the year 2001 and will close out at the end of the year 2010.

If 2010 resembles 2009, I will have little to complain about for sure!

4 Responses to “Looking back at 2009”

  1. Bava says:

    In 2009, you have lost three of the first cousins of your mother namely Mayakochamma,Jaiboychayan,and Baikochamma. But there are still a few alive in that generation,namely, Cookikochamma. Sarasukochamma,Thumpamon Thankammakochamma,Monachyan, Sareena, Aneena, Mona, Aruna and myself.

  2. Bava says:

    I just remebered that Mayakochamma was your mother’s sister.
    Sorry for the error.

  3. TJ says:

    Bava, you are right of course in citing yourself and others as being part of my mother’s generation. Technically that is so but in terms of chronological age my mother who would have been almost 97 years old were she alive was more within the age group of your father and some of George Joseph’s younger siblings. So I have never viewed you and some of her other cousins as being of “her generation” even though you and others are her first cousin. Even Jaiboychayen was a good 20+ years younger than her.

  4. saira says:

    Papa — this was like a Christmas letter — year in review. Next year, you should print your post out and include it in your Christmas cards!

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