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🎉 Annual letter: 2021

Sunday Slant
🎉 Annual letter: 2021
By Sumeru Raut • Issue #48 • View online
Hola! Tighten your belten. This is a long one.

  • 🤗 Reflecting on 2021
  • 🚀 Ambitions for 2022
  • 🎁 Thank you
Hello fellow members of this secret society,
Welcome to a new and shiny issue of Sunday Slant, the first one of 2022! I hope you had a wonderful new years even if you spent the last few days nursing a hangover. How lovely. And if you didn’t venture out to party on 31st—which incidentally is Omicron themed all over the world this year—then I’m afraid you’ve learnt too much from being in a pandemic for two years. So boring. But who am I to judge, as the saying goes, one man’s pandemic is another man’s… pandemic.
I cannot believe you suffered me in your inbox for all of 2021. I hope Santa gave you something nice for undergoing that. Santa gave me my first ever mechanical keyboard: a Keychron K2V2, hot swappable with Gateron Brown switches (jargon that I’ve recently learnt). Just know that it’s clickity clackity and sounds nice… to me, and like 2001, to any reasonable person who can’t understand why mechanical keyboards and travel agencies are a thing in 2022. I also got a book I’ve been waiting to read, called ‘The Minimalist Entrepreneur’, since reading about starting a business is more fun than going about starting a business. Yee-haw!
it sits on it's own bed
it sits on it's own bed
Today’s newsletter was actually meant to be two separate issues that merged into one as: A) I overwhelmed myself with what I wanted to write and took too long and B) this new year mood will come to pass very soon, and everyone will know that everything is the same old same old.
2021 was a big year for me. Some landmark events happened in life. Here’s me looking back on them, without craning my neck too much—
For starters, I finally started writing online. The first time I ever thought about starting a blog was sometime in 2010. After dilly-dallying for over a decade, I finally started my blog and this weekly newsletter called Sunday Slant in 2021. Although I was overambitious and wanted to write every day for all of 2021, I averaged at one post in two days and finally stopped after six months. However, I continue to send this newsletter every week. When I started writing a year ago, I didn’t know if I could write even. I’m happy to have discovered that I can, whether it is any good or not is for the blessed reader to judge. Please… judge me.
I also started posting videos to YouTube, something I had been wanting to do since 2012. Again, it only took me some nine odd years to actually start. I’ve put out 7 cover songs. Although not very impressive, those are seven videos I hadn’t posted in the previous years. A start nonetheless. (Look at me keeping a count. Ewe.)
My father survived a heart-attack and fully recovered. (Sorry I sprang that on you.) I sat in an ambulance beside his stretcher, watching over him, transfixed, while blood thinners kept his heart and my mind under control. It was the longest two hours of my life. All I was hoping for was that he makes it through the ride. Not only did he make it through the ambulance ride but also made it back onto his cycle and his routine life. I cannot be more grateful.
It often makes me think of this quote:
A healthy person has a thousand wishes, but a sick person has only one. - Anyone but sadhguru.
No one in my family got infected by Covid. We were very lucky. We could completely isolate ourselves during the Delta-wave. In 2021, this was probably the highest form of privilege in India.
I reunited with my girlfriend after being separated for over a year due to Covid. It was a difficult period for us. India had a very long ban on US tourists and then US banned flights from India. She being an American and me being an Indian, we made an elaborate plan to meet in the only country that would let us both in—Mexico. We felt victorious.
In a strange twist of events, during the end of our stay there, my girlfriend contracted Zika—a disease that shares every symptom with Covid-19. We ran pillar to post in Mexico city, using gestures to communicate with hospital staff/nurses/path labs—no one spoke any English, we spoke no Spanish—while seeking treatment. We made it through the drama, entered the US safely and my girlfriend fully recovered.
Did I already mention Mexico? And Oaxaca?! It feels like the start of a life-long romance! Zipolite and Mazunte were a fantastic vibe. We stayed there for a month. Also, I snorkeled for the first time ever in blue pacific water at Huatulco. What a trip. What a trip.
Of the three times I’ve come to the US, this has been my favourite. I feel a lot more comfortable here now. I understand the culture a lot better and have grown fond of the people. People not poking their nose into your business is probably my favourite thing about America. Although as an Indian, some things can feel cold and distant, but I’d take ‘cold and distant’ over “You girlfriend is Christians ah?!… You are unmarried and sleep in same bed?!… How much salary??… Own house or rented? Weeeeee don’t put garlic in saaru.”
I met some of the most warm and welcoming people half-way across the globe; my wife’s friends, her coworkers, her family and other beautiful people in her life. I am aware that I have been in a very protected, open-minded circle. I am yet to visit a dive bar in Middle America and get stared at, like it happens to my wife when we wander “too far” away in suburban Mumbai.
Lastly, I tied the knot, took the plunge, walked down the aisle, got hitched, said “I doth”. I got married to my lovely girlfriend in a beautiful setting. If everything else wasn’t landmark-y enough, this alone makes 2021 very special… at least, for now. (Why do I hear older couples sniggering at the back? Hello?… excuse me!)
2021 was very good to me. It will probably be one of the most significant years of my life.
three words: new year resolutions.
three words: new year resolutions.
🚀 Ambitions for 2022
To borrow Peter Thiel’s phrase, 2021 was a year of zero to one for me. It was the year I went from wanting to do some things, to actually doing them. I’m struck by the power and magic of that. As much as I like to poo poo new year resolutions, I really like them. It is an opportunity to get back to the ‘start-line’, hit refresh and reset.
I hope I have many more zero-to-ones this year. My single point program for 2022 is to take action.
  • Physical Health: I haven’t worked out in a very very long time. I’ve ignored some aches and pains in my shoulder/knees and the pandemic has turned me into a homebody who sits in front of the computer for hours on end. I’m too young to live with aches and pains, and too old to act as if I’m invincible with a shrimp-like posture. So, physical health is a big focus this year. I have a lofty goal of doing cumulative burpees for all of 2022, starting with beginner and progressing gradually. Cumulative (i.e 1 burpee on Jan 1st and 365 burpees on Dec 31st) at best or just one every day, at worst.
  • ‘Filmmaking’: I wish to post one video every week on my youtube channel, no matter what. It can be anything—cover song, vlog, reaction, rant, time-lapse. Anything. One video. Every week.
  • Songwriting: I wish to put out an original piece of music every month. Again, no constraints. It can be an instrumental or a song I write. It can be in any language. All I have to do is put out one original tune on the last Sunday of every month. There’s no one fine day. It’s now.
  • Reading: I am sick of myself and my inability to put my phone down and finish a book. I am ending this once and for all. I’ve come up with the rather easy task of reading the complete works of Shakespeare, all through 2022. Lol, no, I’m not joking. Apparently it’s a thing people do. This is the schedule I aspire to follow. This literature bro convinced me to read the individual books from the Arden series. I’ve just started with Twelfth Night. Sigh. Wish we luck.
  • Screenwriting: The whole idea of starting my blog and this newsletter was to help myself transition to writing a screenplay. I ended up pursuing these intermediaries more than getting onto the screenwriting. (I did make announcements, but I couldn’t follow them through.) So the goal is to write a 30 minute screenplay—a short film or a TV show pilot—and share it with you for your feedback on 10th April 2022.**
  • Money: 2022 ought to be the year I start making money online, it doesn’t matter how much. I talk not of client work where I get paid by renting my hours, the aim is to get paid to do what I enjoy doing, which is all of the above and more. I need to ‘cast a wide net’ while I continue to follow my own inner curiosity. I haven’t made a penny online till date, so the goal this year is to make my first online penny.
**Declaring these ambitious goals sounds (and already feels) great; talk is cheap. I wish to do the above as an experiment for 100 days this year. I will then do a review on day 100, which is April 10th 2022, an ungodly day of Sunday Slant. We will see how it goes.
❤️ And, thank you!
Lastly, I want to thank you, the reader. For entertaining my meandering thoughts and letting my email sit amongst other important emails in your inbox all through 2021. I am grateful to each and every one of you. What started off as a silly experiment, has turned into my weekly meditation. I dedicate this issue to you. Thank you.
🎁 Sunday Slant will always be free for you, even if I decide to put it behind a paywall in the future. (I don’t know who in their right mind would pay for this.)
If you are feeling generous and want to support me more than you already are, feel free to buy me a Coffee. Chai actually. I’ve set up a page: Buy me Chai here.
I wish you and your loved ones a very happy and prosperous new year. May 2022 shine all its light upon you!
Wishing the best to all of us,
Did you enjoy this issue?
Sumeru Raut

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