February began in rural India meeting members of an underground guerilla movement. This was followed by a surprising mathematics tour that took me from Puri in India, all the way to a tribe in South America that counts only upto 5! I also met some fascinating people – Siddheswari the queen of Thumri, Donald Shimoda the pilot, Kino the Mexican fisherman, (who gave me a real pearl of wisdom) and a wonderful Greek madcap called Aristophanes.
In March I accompanied Dostoevsky to St. Petersburg and wandered with Michael in a war torn South Africa. In between I followed a criminal case in Bengal that captured the imagination of the public and offered me powerful lessons in social history and jurisprudence. I also managed to squeeze in some time playing with young Paddy Clarke in Ireland and then set of on another esoteric mathematical trip from Madras to Cambridge in search of infinity.
April saw me in North West Pakistan cheering on my friend Greg Mortenson's efforts in building schools in remote places. I also learnt why people there insist on having, not 1, but 3 cups of tea with you! The highlight of May was my exploring the backwaters of Kerala with Thakazhi. June was special because I went to rural Bengal and made the mango whistle.
In the next quarter I experienced the true meaning of the word ‘Kafkaesque’ when I met a man who had turned into a large insect and another who demonstrated in detail an execution device by using it on himself! August was spent playing cricket on the beaches and clubs of Trinidad - and from just beyond the boundary I began to understand what cricket meant to the Windies people. A part of September was a trip (literally) with pushers, pimps and gangsters in the bylanes of Mumbai’s underworld.
The end of the year exposed me to a plague epidemic in Oran (Algeria) where I observed a doctor’s determined resistance against the disease. I took a trip into outer space where, somewhere in Mars, I visited an old mansion inspired by Poe’s House of Usher. In December I was back in rural India with my friends Abhijit and Esther trying to figure out how to help people escape from the clutches of poverty.
Yes, 2012 was an absolute roller coaster of experiences – and these were but some examples. You can read about each one of them here http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/7596061?shelf=read.
You can also plan your own 2013 adventures here : http://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/405-join-the-2013-reading-challenge.
Happy New Year!