BENGALURU: Through my life, I have participated and revelled in a number of festivities. I have burst enough crackers to create a personal hole in the Ozone layer. I have applied colours, paint, varnish and boot polish to friends who became enemies in a matter of minutes. I have gorged on biriyani and paaya during Eid, and attended Mass on Christmas. But after growing up, I have refrained from celebrating two occasions - my birthday, and new year. I refrain from birthday bashes because I find it pompous to celebrate the fact that one was born on earth.
I have similar feelings for new years too. I am all for celebrating one’s achievements, but how can you celebrate surviving another year? In an age when lifespans are increasing by every decade. What really is there to celebrate in surviving another year in the cushioned times we live in today?
The only people who are truly ‘happy’ on ‘Happy New Year’ are establishments such as gyms, pubs and health drinks. I did some research and found that New Year resolutions have a long history. Apparently, Babylonians used to promise their gods that they would repay their debts and return the objects they borrowed.
Even though we Indians have our own indigenous varieties of New Year with Baisakhi, Ugadi and Sankranthi – these festivals do not have the glamour associated with a Happy New Year. I mean, you can’t wear shiny clothes and visit a discotheque on Ugadi. New Year Resolutions stem from a basic human endeavour to better ourselves year after year. In fact, one could argue that all of human beings’ achievements could have resulted from millions of tiny resolutions that fused together to form the gigantic monster of development.
And when I look back at my life, I have made a number of resolutions too. Not necessarily on New Years (for I probably followed the Lunar and Martian calendar!), but I have made a number of them.
For example, when 10th grade Board Exams were looming above my head. I realised early that I wasn’t going to pass with the help of Pythagoras and Archimedes, choosing instead to fall back up on Lord Vishnu and Shiva.
When India reached the final of the 2003 World Cup, I had promised God that if India won the world cup, I would study hard and become an IAS officer. My relationships all ended tragically, I barely scraped through my Maths Board Exam, and India lost the World Cup spectacularly.
Since then, I have adopted more realistic, pragmatic new year resolutions. My resolution for this year is not to murder anybody, and I have a feeling I am well on my way to achieve it. It’s been five days into the new year, and I haven’t felt the urge to stab anybody. Yet.