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Nagesh Alai

In my three scores of life, no one has been yet able to convincingly explain to me why there are so many new years around the world or why we celebrate a new year. Astronomical studies of lunar or solar positions or winter solstice or vernal equinox or the seasons etc. to which different new years are linked to only make it that much more complex. For as long as I can remember, we have had a Tamil Hindu calendar (New Year starting with the month of ‘Chithirai’ (around April), a Marathi Kalanirnay calendar and a Gregorian calendar at home, all three serving different purposes.

In this background, the idea of a New Year stopped making any sense to me long ago and neither do I remember when I gave up celebrating the New Year. In my lexicon, every day is a new year. Quite simply, every day is a celebration of life and calls for having a memorable experience.

Time is infinite and life is finite. Human intellect and scientific temperament gave rise to calendars and finite measure of time as days, weeks, months and years perhaps to retrofit our own finite existence into the nature’s larger scheme of things. Calendars determining our ages has only made our temporariness in this world stark.

So what exactly are we celebrating? Is it celebrating the several good things that have happened in the past year while trying to forget the many bad things? Is it celebrating some success or milestone or achievement in the year? Is it recognising that the year that has passed was not a good one and that we are celebrating hope itself? Or is it celebrating that we have survived to live yet another year? We are all social creatures. Celebration is inherent to our very being and reasons can be aplenty to get together and have a jolly good time; to have a jolly good time on this earth till time permits us. This collective positive energy is infectious and gives us a sense of security and wellbeing. Who really wants to get out of the comfort zone of a status quo?

Quite frankly, we all live for ourselves because if we don’t, we cannot really live for others. It is our responsibility to be mindful of our living so that we do not impinge on the ability of others to live as well and mindfully. In this context, if we could make the world a better place for all the others in our own small way, we would have a cause to be happy and celebrate. The world has at one level become a global village and at another level it has become a barricaded turf and territory coming in the way of seamless mingling of minds, souls, colours, castes and religions. How do we get to a point where humans are just seen as humans and one large community? The day we get to that will really be a World Day and that is the hope that we should all work towards and celebrate.

At the end of the day, New Year is just another New Day calling for living and celebrating. Life itself is a gift and a reason for celebration. A world where everyone were to jump out of bed every morning to celebrate would be a magical one indeed!

Happy New Day, Happy New 365 days.

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