Recollections From December

December was a fast-paced, busy month for me, with semester finals and various other activities that expanded to fill all of my time. I’m really happy 2016 is behind us and I can’t wait to experience everything 2017 throws our way; after 2016, I’m pretty sure nothing can be worse than that. This post should have come out sooner and before the year ended, but it got sidelined due to my confession post. Here are a couple of thoughts I happened to write down and other things I’ve been upto in December. 
Certain days of the month, I wished to myself that I was better at consoling people and cheering them up, motivating them when they were down in the dumps. When we’re younger, we believed consoling needed to be done to make sure that those people forget the pain and misery. As we’ve grown up, however, I think we’ve realised that pain is an integral part of our lives, and now, we only console people to make them forget the pain temporarily. The pain and misery is still in them, hidden out of sight. For now.

December was also the month where I realised (for like the millionth time) that my impulse purchases are a bitch I have to learn to deal with. I spent a whole lot of money on things and activities I didn’t really need and later regretted them. This month made me realise I need to get my tendencies in order and not be such an asshole when it comes to money. And this is just the 4th of the month!

By the 5th, I’m basically hating myself for my spending spree. Self-loathing and what not. It certainly did look like my depressive episodes were about to make a comeback. Yet another thing that completely surprised me in this period was how unpredictable humans can be when it comes to reactions. Say one thing at a particular time and you get one reaction. Say the same thing at a different time and you get a totally unrelated reaction. The main obstacle I face in dealing with humans is that every word I utter is a ticking time bomb. I can never be sure which word of mine will trigger an avalanche of sorrow and sadness in others. Sometimes I just hate myself for having ruined someone’s perfect day and sometimes I hate having to interact with people in such a careful manner.

The rest of the month passed by, with a couple more cynical thoughts that are just too silly to share here. The highlight of the month was that I finally got to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a movie I’ve been waiting for since April. Without getting into much spoilers, I just absolutely loved the movie and the dark gritty tone it took, unlike the other Star Wars movies. Zack Syder, if you’re reading this, please do watch Rogue One, that’s how you make a good, gritty, dark movie. Whereas The Force Awakens had a sense of childish adventure in it, with Rey and Finn and introducing us to the new generation, Rogue One got right down into the war, in a very sombre way. The main challenge for Rogue One is that everyone knows the ending, by default. We have Episode IV, so we know the rebel spies manage to steal the Death Star plans. Where Rogue One shines is in the execution. It certainly did feel like the stakes were pretty high and there were certain points where I really doubted if they’d be able to pull it off anyway. The movie starts a bit slow and jumps a lot between planets but that’s just the first act. The other two acts are edge-of-your-seat action and great storytelling.

Diving deep into spoilers now, here’s what I loved about the movie.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

  • The movie showed us a glimpse of all the evil things the Rebel Alliance has done. It’s not a black and white Universe anymore, with the Empire being evil and the Rebellion pure good, as was conveyed in the Original Trilogy. The Rebel Alliance has done its share of morally questionable acts too. I loved it when Cassian killed his informant to prevent any information leaking to the Empire. He had no choice but to do it, for the greater good of the Rebel Alliance.
  • The diversity of the cast in the movie. A Mexican actor in the leading role, a female as the leader of the team, a much more inclusive team than in other movies. Now, I don’t fully embrace the idea of inclusion merely for the sake of diversity, but Rogue One did it in a subtle way that didn’t seem shoehorned in. The characters, their history, takes us away from the central storyline of the Skywalker family and introduces us to normal people, living in the Galaxy and shows us what the rebellion means to them, how it affects them. 
  • The Vader scene at the end. Hot damn, that scene made me squeal like a 12 year old girl. The scene could be considered fan service for all the fan boys out there, but I believe it is probably the best representation of Darth Vader on screen. It just shows how much of a badass killing machine he was. As thousands of people have noted before, the movie looked just like a horror slash-flick when Vader started slicing through Rebel scum like a hot knife through butter. Also, Disney, I wouldn’t mind paying for a solo Vader movie where it’s just two hours of Darth Vader slicing through Jedi and rebels and hunting them down. 
  • The characters being killed off at the end. Not many movies have the guts to kill off the entirety of its cast, but that’s exactly what Rogue One did. There they were, with no way to get out alive. They are now unsung heroes of the war, who might go down in history with no recognition or fame. They gave up their lives trying to steal the plans and transmitting it, in the hopes that someone might be able to destroy the Death Star. This gives a whole new meaning to the title of Episode IV. The sacrifices made by the rebels take on a whole new level of depth after you’ve watched Rogue One. 

To celebrate the end of the year and to welcome the new year, I did something pretty different. Instead of hanging around with a book and wishing everyone at the stroke of midnight, I went out to a New Year’s Eve party, with real people. Trying to overcome my social anxiety in this way, dancing to music and being in large crowds of people is a pretty new experience for me, and was kind of unsettling at first. But hey, it’s a new experience and I kind of liked it. We rung in the new year with great excitement and it felt good to have friends right next to me during and after the countdown.

Now, ringing in the new year means one thing: resolutions. I’m not really a resolutions kind of guy, and I subscribe to the idea that the best time to make changes is now. However, this year I’ve planned to read and write more. I’ve actually made a list of books I’d like to read and/or finish reading this year. 

  • 1984 by George Orwell. Yes, I began reading this back in July but I still haven’t completed it. 
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It… Every Time by Maria Konnikkova
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal 
  • Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett
  • The Lonely City: Adventures In The Art Of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

There’s no guarantee that I might be able to finish this list, but that’s certainly what I’m hoping for. A couple of books have been on my list for quite a long time, but haven’t yet been purchased because book prices in India are just too high, even online marketplaces have stupidly high prices because they import books. The high prices of most books in India is the topic of another long post and I could go on and on about it. Public libraries aren’t an option either because they’re poorly funded, the selection of books isn’t that good either and the whole system of public libraries is pretty much in shambles in India. I don’t want to go off on a tangent here, so that’s pretty much my reading list for the year.

How was your December? How is the new year looking for you? We’re already 10 days into it, are your resolutions still holding up? Let me know in the comments below. 

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