When the chilliness in the air brushes past my cheeks and nose, when the icy breeze moist my eyes, dry my lips, and numb my hands after an evening ride, when the thick fog leaves behind dew drops on my window sill and car roof in the morning...I know it's December, my favourite time of the year. Every year this time I travel down the memory lanes as far as childhood days. Being a December baby, I always longed to celebrate my birthday just like other kids in my class. But unfortunately I was never able to do that due to half-yearly exams in school. Most of the times I never got to meet my classmates due to change in the seating arrangements during exams. I missed all the attention that a birthday girl gets in her new dress. I went in my school uniform. Twice it got worse when I came home crying for messing up my maths paper, most dreaded subject. The traumatic mornings used to be taken over by evenings filled with oodles of love and attention by parents and siblings. However, wearing a new dress to school when everyone is in their boring uniform fascinated me and at the same time eluded me. I braved all these "hardships" and grew up to be a strong girl. December also meant 10 days of holidays when we spent most of the time lazying in warm morning sun, running behind butterflies, playing badminton in late morning sun and studying less. After many years I had one awful birthday when a dear friend of mine betrayed me with a bundle of lies and made me look like a jackass. Coming from a small town and protected family, I had a tough time getting into the groove of big bad world. But, I guess, I did a good job at that. It's the friends that become your second family. I had mine too. But little did I know that I trusted the wrong person. After a month long brooding over my short-sightedness and misconstrued notions, I came back to my senses with a jolt. I ushered in the new year with night long party with my close friends. That incident made me appreciate the people who have been in my life for a decade now. I refuse to get bogged down by the weaklings and selfish. I make friends even today, I trust even today, and I enjoy the attention of everyone even today. I made my first friend after moving to Bangalore 3 years back. I got a friend request from him through Orkut and I kept rejecting. He relentlessly sent friend requests till one day I decided to send him a curt scrap. He replied and so did I. Soon we were chatting, thanks to my long boring office hours. After a month we decided to meet. He turned out be extremely shy and I liked that part about him. But the triggering point of our friendship was we shared our birthdays. He helped me in finding a house and setting up my small world in a new city. He has been a family since then; made me happy with birthday gifts, lazy rides after dinner, outings, movies and planning my weekends. I didn't know what to give him and so whenever I asked what he wanted, he would say, "make a nice lunch for me." Kunju (I re-christened his name), I truely treasure you. I couldn't have asked for more when my school buddies and friends from Hyderabad and Vizag shifted base. We celebrated festivals together, had weekend jamming sessions, and went on trips togather. Last week my childhood dream came true with a twist. My school friends came home with a birthday cake. After the little sing-song on guitar and cake cutting, we relived our school days. As we spoke late into the night, the crushes, affairs and pranksters came to the fore. The revelation that quite a few had a crush on me almost tickled my funny bones. As I stand at the fag end of year 2010 and turn back to look at all those days past by, I can only think of good times - a new addition to the family, marriage of one of my closest friends, spiritual trips for soul searching, weekend getaways to exotic locations, bonding with old friends and new job and setup. I am going to carry all these people and good times to the next year hoping that it will ring in more happiness to everyone I care about. Contentment brings out forgiveness. So, I forgive my maths madam who looked only at boys in my class and taught; my games teacher who believed in punishments only, my parasite roomates; the mindless cabbies and frustrated autorickshaw drivers who scratched my car; a colleague who suffers from behaviourial disorder; the mean and weaklings who depressed me at times. Wow! I feel like GOD (I flicked this line as it feeds my big fat ego) Wishing everyone a beautiful year ahead.