A Change of Calendars

-Sandhya Narzary

The human mind is such that it needs but an excuse to make merry. To cook up a special dish, or to wear those new pairs of jeans. And New Year celebrations have always been special in this context. And why not so? The cheeks are ever so slightly rosier because of the cold, the barbecues are ever so slightly spicier. The coffee cups are much more used and the blankets hardly ever seem to be folded and in the shelves! Bright gloves and woolen hats, pets adorned in mittens. What’s not to love?

And suddenly, my romantic notion of New Year celebrations was burst when an acquaintance, going full Scrooge on me, went “New Years? Humbug! Just a change in calendars.” And then it struck me, is there really all there is to it? I went on with my routine, but this got stuck at the back of my mind. Until the other day in college, this batch mate said, “Mausam itna suhana hai, class mein mann nahi lag raha hai”, and to indulge in the festivity of the mausam, she took out a toffee and popped it into her mouth right in the middle of a lecture! And I smiled. There, at that moment, I knew.

The mind is a weird, can’t-exactly-figure-out-what-goes-on-inside-it thing. If you wanted to feel happy, you’d find a reason to. If you wanted to be all sad and morose, even a slab of Silk wouldn’t make your day. And in that lies the secret of the festivity in the air. If we wanted to be happy about ushering in 365 more sunrises, we would rush to Loyan’s to buy chocolate cakes to cut at 12a.m. If we treated 2014 as just 200 more working days, well then, too bad for us. Life, as most of us will be knowing by now, has its fair share of ups and downs. And more often than not, the downs seem to outweigh the ups. We tend to remember the missed deadlines more than we tend to remember getting an extra imli-wala panipuri from the Chhatwala. I think, with my limited IQ and impaired sense of judgement, this is why we need festivals. This is why we need a decorated tree on Christmas, a Rangoli on Diwali. We need them not because the occasion demands, we need them because they literally bring more lights and colour into our mostly  monotous lives. We need them because it means the family will sit around it and catch up. We need it because of the associated sweets and cookies that come with it. So that we remember to tell the family about that extra panipuri we got, so that the missed deadline can be forgotten. (Just to make myself clear, i would like to specify that i am in no way advocating that deadlines be missed!):P And this is why we need New Years.

Sure, life has never been more fast paced than it is now. There has never been a higher desire for ‘like’s on Facebook, no one is seen without a smartphone that has a hundred texting applications. Somewhere, amongst the group notifications of WhatsApp and the reblogs on Tumblr, we have lost the humane touch. The answer, according to this post I saw on 9gag,  to the question  ‘What’s your favourite season?’ is no longer spring or summer. You instead get ‘Big Bang Theory or Game of Thrones?.’ Memes are the new idioms. But it is only on festivals that the family reunites. Sure the photos on Facebook will still be uploaded, but hey, at least they are now of cousins and siblings, instead of Instagrammed food!

And after all this, if you still ask what’s special about New Years, how is it different from any other day, if you still think it is just a change in calendars, then I’ll tell you this. It’s the only time of the year when networks get jammed, so that you can’t ‘poke’ the person and send her a sticker on Messenger. You really have to hug her, smear cake on her face, and wish her a Happy New Year!

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