The year began with My Phrase for 2014.

I began selecting a word/ phrase for the year from 2012 onward. The principle is, you use that phrase/ word as your reference point- like the beacon of a lighthouse. At any time during the year, when you wake up, you can check how far you’ve drifted. A bit of twirling the compass and you are back on track again. Magic!

It also helps you align everything in the direction of your beacon. The beacon is the priority; it sets the pace, it helps select the tools and it decides on the processes you will follow. They must all be in tandem with the beacon. It helps eliminate confusions. Whatever is not in line with the spirit of the phrase, must go. It is as simple as that.

Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.

~ John Steinbeck

In 2014, I chose Step Out as my phrase. And here is the end-of-the-year report on how well the phrase has served me- and how well I have served it!

I began the year with two work-in-progress projects. Now that the year is over, I don’t mind confessing that I was abjectly scared. I didn’t think I would be able to do it. And I didn’t want to fall flat on my face and get the mud splattered into my eyes. How we try to protect our fragile ego! Foolishly we forget that the job of the ego is to wipe the mud off our face and tell us ‘It’s alright! No one saw you!’ The job of the ego is not to deny the command of the soul.

I Stepped Out on both the projects and must report (a little more than) partial success.

The first one had to do with my craft work. This year has finally seen the launching of Rugs Of Life, the online home for my hand-made, recycled fabric rugs. Launched on the 10th of October this year, the response has been phenomenal. Of the 52 rugs/ coaster sets uploaded to the blog, 33 have been sold already. That’s over 65%! In just over two and a half months! I am super thrilled! For the life of me I can’t imagine why I was so afraid of launching this!

(That observation comes out of hindsight… the land where everyone is the wisest- EVER!)

The second project had to do with my blog. I had promised myself to take the number of posts from 233 to 350. That was 117 new posts. I haven’t quite reached there yet, perhaps because I haven’t written at all since August this year. Still, I did manage to put in 98 posts in the year. With this one, that’s 99. Not bad, right? 100 posts in a year! Ha!

(The truth is, I feel inclined to cheat a bit. The 52 hand-made projects posted on Rugs Of Life were posted through 46 posts. Each of those posts contained not only the rug/ wool sets on display but also the thought that accompanied the process of it’s creation. If I add that, I have actually exceeded my target of 117 posts! Yay! But, of course, that would be cheating, so I shall not!)

I had also decided to write shorter posts. This was very difficult for me to learn. Anything less than 1500 words made me think I was cheating my readers. But I was determined to learn it… and so I did.

A farewell to my shadow is not my death; it’s my rebirth in darkness.

~Munia Khan

This year I also began my Sunday Brunch Series…. which I discontinued during the A-Z Challenge and never reinstated again. I hope to re-start that series again this year- perhaps in a different format.Farewell 2014-1

The review would be incomplete if I did not mention the A-Z Challenge in greater detail. Not only did it compel me to craft a cohesive, consistent and perfectly aligned series of 26 posts on my chosen phrase for the year, STEP OUT, it also introduced me to some outstanding bloggers, thinkers and writers. I must mention Beloo Mehra, Cynthia Rodrigues and Prathima Rao whose posts connected with me deeply, creating powerful ripples of resonance I have never experienced before or since and made me a far better person than I was.

Serenely Rapt viewed about 18,000 times in the past year. The busiest day of the year was May 13th with 596 views. In addition, WordPress kindly threw these stats in my face- sink or swim, it cared not.

Interesting things, these stats. I maliciously made the following observations from them:

  1. The posts marked with a red arrow are all guest posts. Which means 3 out of 5 tops posts haven’t been written by me at all! Quite put my aristocratic nose out of joint, that one. Nasty business dammit!
  2. The top post Remembering Enid Blyton, written by the beautiful Alka Gurha who blogs as a Freebird, is constantly being read from the day it was put up in Feb this year. It has amassed a staggering 1059 views until the writing of this post. 1059!! And I remember Alka wondering if it was an appropriate post! Can you imagine anything more droll?!
  3. The second red-marked post Searching: Item Not Found, written by the one and only Purba Ray who spins A-musing words to delight her readers. It was published in May and is ALSO being read to this day. It has amassed a total of 984 views.
  4. The third red-marked post Let Us Play!, written by Sid ‘Mr Fiction’ Balachandran who proprietorially declares I Wrote Those to all who care to delve into his world of fascinating, fast-paced fiction. Published in May this year, the post has amassed a total of 556 views till date… and counting.
  5. The other two in this top five list were written by yours truly. And there the smugness ends. For you see, they were both written eons ago! WordPress might console me by saying that my writing has staying power (which is another way of telling you that you were a dinosaur and long past your expiry date), but I ain’t fooled any. I might as well throw in the towel!

On an aside, why on earth does WP need to generate these stats? Haven’t they anything better to do- like give us a voice-to-text editor?! I mean, come ON!

Still, guest posts or not, no one can sneeze at 18,000 views. But jokes- and stats- aside, I must say this: The one thing I am unabashedly proud of is that Serenely Rapt has made a place for itself in the hearts and minds of its readers. I have too many endorsements to ever doubt that.

Thank you for letting Serenely Rapt into your hearts, my dear readers. Thank you for your love and encouragement… and above all loyalty. Thank you for your continued presence on these pages when I am often absent from your own lives and challenges. Rachna Parmar, who says it beautifully at Rachna Says, Leo who Rhymes Without Reason, Beloo who is dedicated to Let Beauty Be Her Constant Ideal  have been my biggest cheerleaders all year! Thank you dear friends!

Serenely Rapt has also justified the purpose of its creation consistently. It has given insights, solace and courage to all who have arrived at its shores. It has quenched the thirst of many a parched throat, it has held the hand of many who have lurched, wounded, to find a moment of respite from their battles. Serenely Rapt has helped heal some; it has refreshed some so they can continue their journey. Here again, the credit is not mine but to Him who is the Source of everything… and whom it pleases to use me as His tool.

To all this- and a lot more that I can enclose in words- I am deeply grateful. As the year draws its final curtain, I wish to thank it. Thank you for the bounty you have showered upon me 2014! Thank you for the growth and opportunities. Thank you for the love!

You were absolutely fabulous!

Farewell 2014Farewell 2014