Happy New Year 2020!

I guess for better or worse, this blog seems to have really have turned into is now my annual year end review journal. I am getting too old (closer to 30 than to 20) and there’s no slowing to the continuous march of time. Anyway it is literally an end of a decade and the start of the new 20’s.

2019 saw Maldives finally settling down politically with the coming in of the new government after the never ending chaos of 2018. The biggest political event of the year for Maldives was the 2019 People’s Majlis Elections that saw the ruling MDP takeover a super majority of the Parliament. And in a surprising (or not so surprising) move, former President Mohamed Nasheed (Anni) was elected as the Speaker of the Majlis by the MDP MPs. After MDP had conquered both the legislative and executive branches of the state, over the next half of the year, they took over the judicial branch as well by fully replacing the Supreme Court bench, Despite all the power under them, the speed of the new government seems to be slow. There had been no new major projects commenced over the past year. At least nothing close to the scale of the projects undertaken by the previous regime before the end of their term. As for corruption, it seems like it’s still the same story as the previous government; the new government had been paying out large sums in questionable settlements to companies close to them. So what had improved under the new government? For their credit, murder rates have somehow gone down, with only 1 documented murder in 2019.

Even though 2019 had been a busy year for me, I had finally been able to get into somewhat of a routine during this year. I went to gym till the end of the year, working out under a personal trainer. Even though I wasn’t able to meet my weight loss goals (mostly due to my poor diet :P), I saw a significant improvement in my muscle definitions. My work week got cut shorter to 5 days (compared to 6 days in 2018) with us deciding to close Saturdays as well at our company. Despite my better routine, somehow I ended up getting sick often during 2019. I got conjunctivitis twice, an ear infection, GERD, dry mouth, sore throat and cold several times and a small tear in my surgery wound. I don’t know if all these conditions were related or if my general immunity had gone down after my multiple surgeries the previous 2 years. Speaking of my surgeries, I also took several trips to Sri Lanka during 2019 to get laser hair removal to prevent any further recurrence of my Pilonidal Sinus. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to fully complete all the recommended sessions since my trips were interrupted by the 2019 Sri Lankan bombings. As for travel, Sri Lanka had been my most frequent destination for 2019, taking a total of 4 trips there. Rest of the trips were towards the end of the year in December, with 1 week in my island, 3 days in Singapore and 5 days in Malaysia with my family.

As in 2018, I hadn’t been able to keep up with my creative outlets of posting on my Instagram (@dash8x) and Flickr. However I got requests from several government ministries to use my photography, with one of my photographs getting published in the official 2020 calendar! Some of my photos also somehow got picked up by some Maldivian meme pages and they got memeified as well.

Professionally, in 2019 I had been fully committed to my work at “Javaabu“. Alhamdhlillaahi, our team had really grown (with total 6 including me and my business partner) and revenue increased during 2019. We worked on several huge projects and I learned more and more on how to delegate work to my staff and trust them to deliver. At the end of the year, we even made it on the press after we gave out bonuses to our staff! Our spin off “Javaabu Academy” didn’t conduct much courses during 2019, but some of our team members ran some courses by themselves independently. The Niru Accelerator Program that we joined in 2018 didn’t turn out so well for us in the end, with us dropping out at the very close of the program. Despite our challenges, In Sha Allah, 2020 is going to be an even more prosperous year for Javaabu.

Despite the professional success, personally, 2019 had been a tragic year for me. For those of you who might’ve have read my last year’s post, you’d have seen my cousin Adhuham (@adhoo21) on the light painting photo. Here’s a reminder of the photo.

When I took this photo, I didn’t know it would be the very last time we would go out to take a photo together and he would be fading out of our lives as he’s fading out in this photo. Maybe the signs were already there; even on that night, he kept getting chills and eventually couldn’t keep standing for long. Throughout the year, Adhuham had several stints at the ER and I had stayed up with him on several of those occasions. After one of these stays in the Emergency Room, without any of us knowing, he took a trip to our island to meet with family. Maybe he had somehow known his time was near.. But he was only able to spend 3-4 days there, since he had to be rushed back to Male’ as his condition got worse again. Soon after this, he had his final stint at the hospital, this time in the ICU for almost a month. He passed away on July 14th, 2019 in the ICU after his organs started failing. His condition was excessive iron in his organs from his constant blood transfusions as he was a Thalassemia patient. The last I had seen him alive was 2-3 days before he passed away while he was still inside the ICU. At that time he wasn’t in a responsive state, and he looked the same when I saw him after he passed away as well. On that day it was my whole life’s one of the most emotional and intense moments when I helped lower his body inside his coffin. May Allah bless his soul and grant him eternal Jannah. Adhuham’s memories will live in on our hearts and through his photography.

After Adhuham’s passing, our family was in a deep sadness. Especially my sister studying in Sri Lanka who is also a Thalassemia patient was very deeply affected. So much so that she had to seek help from mental health professionals and me and another cousin had to go and stay with her for several days to console her. Speaking of mental health, in 2019, several people close to me had been dealing with mental health issues. This is a good opportunity to remind everyone to seek professional help if you or a loved one has a mental health issue.

So much for 2019, let’s look forward to this new year 2020 and take a moment to enjoy my New Year’s Eve tradition of light painting. This new year’s eve didn’t fully go according to plan since I was unexpectedly afflicted with high fever and sore throat. Despite this, I was still able to get my shot, thanks to a very special someone ❤️. This year’s photo was at the Artificial Beach in Male’ City, Maldives. Hope you like the photo, and wish you all the best in 2020 and beyond.

Happy New Year 2020!

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