This is the first post of 2011, as you all well can see. So, at the very outset, I wish you a very happy new year… although, much like signature me, it is a late wish!
As an aside, the 23rd of January has special significance too.
It is the birthday of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose – his 141st one to be precise – one of the great martyrs of the Indian freedom movement, and hence conveniently forgotten. Other than in Bengal – but Bengal is a culture so stuck with its past that it refuses to remove the West from its name, despite being one of the eastern states of the country – his ‘home’ state.
But let’s get past that. Let’s us talk of the new year, and how we all hope that it will usher in the new, and that somehow we won’t be half as foolish as we were in the year gone by, and other assorted fantasies.
I am a sucker for such fantasies. I totally dig them. There’s a strange allure to the promise of a new start that a new year offers. A sort of escape from all your follies. A chance for you to prove to yourself that, despite your actions by and large proving otherwise, you aren’t an idiot. And the best part is that since the new year is an annual phenomenon, you get to say these things to yourself over and over – each 1st of January.
This year, well, there was something new. I wasn’t at home, and I wasn’t in India either – the two obviously being two different things. I was in Thailand, Phuket to be precise, and the last moments of 2010, I remember, were spent in quite reflection – as I am not the ‘party’, at least the new year party, type – by the terrace pool of the Mercure Patong. There were sky candles* – candles that had been kept in a sort of hot air balloon, I obviously know not what they are called – floating against a partly cloudy sky. I can tell you it was beautiful.
Small, warm individual flames. Orange, and warm, and flying into the darkness. Alone, and yet part of the collective swarm heading in the same direction. Lighting up the same sky…
As I said, it was beautiful. Not just to see. But to accept.
Other than that, well, I don’t really believe in resolutions. I ask Life. It is one of my secrets, one that I discovered long before I guess ‘The Secret’ was even written. And this year, it was, as it is more often than not, love, togetherness, respect, and professional success. I am almost the age when Life really starts, and I hope it is a good one. As we step into the new, I hope that there is rest for the moments we tire, and great tiring so that we reach where we must. I hope that there be a road that carries our name, and may it be lengthy so that we learn what it must teach us. I hope that the Maker be kind, so that even the harshest of nights, we see His kindness.
Not just for me, but for everyone out there.
And late as it may be, I wish you all a very happy 2011.
*Turns out they are also called sky candles. Mostly, though, they are called ‘sky lanterns’.