Growing up, New Year’s Eve was a big deal. The New Year’s Eve special on T.V. was something I looked forward to in spite of the similar boring content year after year. In those days, you see, we weren’t allowed to watch much television( especially anything to do with the Hindi movies) and there also wasn’t much to watch anyways! But on that day, Bollywood songs were okay-ed by Baba for me to watch and it was a big deal:)
And then the following day- the first one of the New Year- followed a more or less similar pattern every year too. New Year greetings would be exchanged with everyone we met on the streets and everyone who called- each trying to outdo the other by shouting out the greetings as loudly as possible! I have always wondered about that. Did the loudness of the wish make it more heartfelt or since it was the beginning of a new year, people were more energetic and had the extra bounce to their steps? I am yet to figure that out! Family picnics at the zoo or at the big parks were a common affair during that time of the year and among the teenage crowd, ‘hanging out’ with friends or catching a movie was the in thing. I, however, was never allowed to participate in any such social activity and was never given a reason for that. Parents and their many irrational fear- there isn’t much that can be done about that, I guess:)
Our family too had some rituals that had unknowingly become a part of those two days. Other than all the scrumptious food that Maa would make and the extra T.V. time or extra badminton time that we were allowed, on the first day of every year Baba would, without fail, give me a diary. He would then ask me to think about what my resolutions were going to be for that year and encourage me to start writing down the what-s, why-s and how-s of those. He firmly believed that keeping a diary (not the journal type where a 12 year old would write down about her secret crush, or about the bitter quarrel with her best friend) was going to help me be introspective and guide me in my path of self development. Profound terms for a not very ambitious 12 year old, and that too on the very first day of the year! I realize now, a tad bit late, how valuable that advice of his was, but as might be expected of a tween, I did not pay much attention to the reflective purpose of the diary. Not to disappoint him thoroughly though, I would try to come up with some ‘resolutions’ that I would then diligently write down on the crisp pages of my diary and follow Baba’s advice of keeping a daily log for the first few days. Days would then lapse into weeks and eventually it would become a once-a-month thing before I would lose all interest. This pattern would, interestingly, repeat itself again the following year, meeting its end in the exact same manner. Eventually my poor Baba gave up and I was only too relieved!
A lot has happened between the time when I was expected to keep a diary for self reflection and now when, ironically, self reflection comes naturally. May be it’s my age or the times we live in or simply the overflow of wine on the last day of the year! 2017 has made way for 2018. Like every year, a lot has happened- both awe inspiring as well as awful- over the course of the year that we just bid adieu to. People are more divided in their opinions of almost every thing, the geopolitical scenario seems to be in a turmoil, multiple humanitarian crises are shaking the very core of our civilization, machines are putting more and more people out of work, unethical production of goods continue, carbon footprint is increasingly at an alarming rate and the poor continue to get robbed off of their basic rights and amenities. All of this is extremely unsettling. It makes people lose hope, add to the frustration and push them over the edge, tempting them to just give up. And then, when things look this dismal, we come across everyday people who find the courage to stand up for the voiceless; people who with their kindness take us by surprise, people who never back down from making the truth heard; people who with their nobility and humility make the world a better place in spite of all the negativity. They inspire us and make us hope for a better tomorrow despite all the wrongdoing, they make us joyful even when we are unsure of ourselves and they show us that we all can easily bring about positive changes in our lives, lend a helping hand and not let hatred cloud our thoughts.
I had, possibly, started 2017 by thinking about a certain number of things that I would do differently and follow through some ‘resolutions’ (which were probably my goals for 2016 or the year before…who knows!). I can say with certainty that I remember none of those and hence have not followed any. I was a bit lazy I will admit, but I was also soaking up all the joys of watching a two year old running around and making my world light up with his many silly acts and smiles that make me pause and thank the universe for sending this bundle of energy my way 🙂 Things have remained undone and 2017 too, has ended. But then again, when I think about it, a New Year is not a broken entity- every new year that rolls in is part of a continuum that does not exist in isolation. Days are fluid, spilling into each other, following more or less similar rhythms. Birthdays and anniversaries come around, seasons follow one after the other, we add pages to our book of memories. The inexplicable madness of our daily lives also continues.
Embracing wholeheartedness, being more mindful of people and their stories, being less negative; learning, unlearning and re-learning are some of my goals this year and I am curious to see how this unfolds. Maybe I will succumb to the temptations of gossip or vent out my frustration in a not-so-appropriate manner or maybe I will succeed at channeling my inner power to rise above pettiness and follow through…who knows! But I intend to try harder this time around than keeping a diary. I am going to let things unfold as organically as possible and the hope is to incorporate some semblance of sanity in this otherwise chaotic existence!