As I write this post, I am aware that this would be my last post this year. As Alfred Tennyson wrote some hundred and sixty years ago, we ring out the old and ring in the new year, in just a few hours from now. Plans are being made by almost all young people to do the ringing out, with great fanfare and noise. Some are planning to get together in the clubs, farm-houses or in hotels. Some plan to spend a quiet evening in a friend’s house over a couple of drinks and welcome the new year.
Traditional Indian welcome for the new year( The day may be different but the spirit remains same.) was done early in the morning, When the sun is just about to rise. The new year welcome was synonymous with the rise of the the ancient Rig-Veda Goddess of the dawn “ Usha”. Indians would rise early, take bath and be ready for the new year’ Dawn. No one really thought of welcoming the new year at the mid night. This was an auspicious occasion and needed pious treatment. Yet modern Indians have adopted to the modern world and welcome the new year at midnight.
Why is the New Year so important to us? It marks a beginning of a new cycle of nature. There would be a new spring, new summer and again a new rainy season bringing in once again natural bounties for the survival of the mankind. It was our way of acknowledging and accepting this natural cycle and the debt of nature. For the farmer, it was the most important time pointer of the year.
We still very much depend for our very survival on this natural cycle, but fail to acknowledge it. We have started taking nature for granted. Like a kind hearted grand parent, nature still forgives us. And yet it spanks us with unimaginable fury, when we do not behave. Last year was full of such spanks. Volcanos going off in Iceland, Sumatra and Java. Flood fury in Pakistan and China and in the closing days of the year, a great chill in Europe. Yet we fail to understand the signals being given to us by nature and continue our old wayward habits.
For me, it was a very good year though. Perhaps, the highest point of the last year for me was the visit to the temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I shall always cherish those three wonderful days. As I have been doing for last few years, I did spend few months in Singapore last year to spend time with my grand children. We made several short trips to places nearby. The year also saw finally the end of remodeling process of my house. It was surely a big relief. I can now look forward to years of acoustic peace and tranquility.
Perhaps, I shall remember the last year for my blogs. I could write a lot, on vary many subjects. Blogging has now become my most favourite past time. There is a regret however that I did not give enough justice to my English blog and concentrated on many occasions on my Marathi blogs and the discussion forums.
On personal side there are few sad partings though. I lost one of my best friends and a relative. This loss has made me much sadder. One starts accepting the inevitable rather easily as one gets old, I think. It is not of much importance, how long you live. What is more important is the way you live.
Maybe such sad thoughts are not in the scheme of things on a new year eve, when you throw away all your worries for few hours. Let us welcome the new year in Tennyson’s words.
“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
Happy new year!
31 December 2010