It was quite dark and I felt all alone. There wasn’t a single car within my line of sight and I was riding along into what seemed to be the end of the land. Street lights were out and it was starting to rain. I could feel the drizzles on my windshield and I rolled up my windows to prevent the rain from getting in. Out far I could, or I thought I could hear some people screaming out in happiness. A hint of fire crackers far across towards the horizon and some desolate cottage on top of the hill shining in decorations which were put up to celebrate the coming day. It was the night of the 31st day of December , new year’s eve , the occasion of rejoice and merry making for the entire world. I had taken that opportunity to hit the road and go drive far down till my soul wished for. As I pondered over the year that was about to elapse I wished that I could understand better what the whole fuss regarding a new year was about.
We all celebrate it with so much zeal and enthusiasm. People look forward to the calendar striking the 31st day of December, the last day of the year. People eagerly wait for this day to come so that they can start sending out mails and text messages to their folks and friends, giving them their heartfelt wishes and season’s greetings. An occasion to take out that special bottle of single malt from the cellar to open it up and relish the year that is just about to end. Everyone starts ignoring the harsh realities of life and start putting on fake smiles and celebration faces just to enjoy one evening which surprisingly comes every year again and again. But if it comes again and again and you celebrate it that same damn way.How is it different from any other occasion? Didn’t that man open that special bottle of single malt on Christmas also? And even on his birthday as well as his son’s birthday? So why treat a new year as so significant and if indeed it is significant why not do something different. People will come up to me and greet by saying “may all your wishes come true this year” , which is sadly ironic since he said the same darn thing last year and if he has to say it every year doesn’t it actually mean that my dreams are not getting fulfilled in a year? Doesn’t it make that wish pretentious? It seemed to me that only yesterday was the start of this year and now suddenly it’s the start of a new year! It all seems normal to me. Average, standard , and nothing new about it.
As these thoughts poured over my brain, I started admiring the bliss of the landscapes that were coming into view as I was approaching the hills and mountains. The darkness created by the absence of streetlights made the natural light of the moon and stars all the more beautiful. I turned around the corner on a hairpin bend, parked my car , lit a cigarette and decided to lay flat onto my car’s bonnet and gaze at the moon for some time. Perhaps that would make my cynical attitude go away.
The moon was shining brightly through the curtain hovering clouds. The night was made up of the crescent moon and a few stars glittering around it. While I was gazing at the moon and admiring its beauty a flash of my year screened onto the sky like a movie. I saw myself graduating and then landing up with a fancy job , and my parents’ happiness for my ‘success’. Making new friends along the way and losing some old ones. Patching up with friends that had fallen apart and making some new enemies along the path of retribution. The part where I decide to start expressing my emotions and finding the perfect girl and falling in love with that perfection. Loosing that opportunity of getting into a relationship with someone special and blaming it on chance and society. Deciding to switch of my feelings yet again. Switching my job , meeting and staying with my parents after a long time. I escaped a life threatening accident and heard the news that a close friend of mine didn’t manage to escape. Looked at other people getting more stupid by the day and me getting wiser. Sometimes the other way around also. Irritated with my work life which makes my soul die and finding resurrection from that numbness in other passions of mine. All in all the year was worth a movie script and to be honest I felt all of a sudden that a lot had passed in that single year. Was that a sign that I should too celebrate this new year’s eve?
Half the world spends the entire evening of this day drinking and the dose of alcohol and other drugs keeps increasing as the clock approaches the 24th hour of the last day. Some may travel to the exotic tourist destinations to make that day different from the mundane life they otherwise lead. Some use this day as the perfect excuse to spend time with their families and friends. Given that there was so much that had happened in my life this year was probably a good reason to celebrate or at least make a note of. But then I thought, looking at those stars that now seemed so familiar. The same script could be used to describe my year before this one, and the one before that and probably for the years to come too. It was not anything extremely special , it happens every year and if there wasn’t any concept of marking the end of an year I would probably not be able to distinguish my current year from the ones before that! I would need a much better reason to celebrate the end of an year and when I would find that reason I would celebrate it in a different way than what I did to celebrate my birthday or Christmas… The year is just another ticking of the clock’s needle. One year had passed by and despite all wishes and greetings and efforts I am negligibly close to what I wanted to achieve in life as a person. The moon , the stars and everything celestial has stayed the same way and life is telling me that there isn’t any particular straight forward reason to celebrate. So why bother finding that reason indeed!
By now the few hovering clouds had cleared off and I could see the moon more clearly. The stars had become brighter and all of a sudden there was an abundance of light in that dark nook of the hillside road. Out of nowhere a car with no hood passed me by. It was playing host to a gang of juveniles all drunk and swashed in the New Year’s aura. They were all wet because of the rain and the chilly wind blew smoothly across their overgrown hair. Each one had their hands held high except for the one driving and as they passed by me they screamed “Happy new Year” loud and repeated it till their sound faded away in to the mountains and couldn’t reach me anymore. There were bursts of crackers in the sky and I could hear more such screams echo in the hills. I looked at my watch , it was midnight. The day had passed. It was a new year. And then , even though I was in the most cynical and melancholy mood I had been in for days a glitter of happiness reached by heart and a smile flashed across my face. Whether it was the moon , the stars , the hills or the bunch of boys who had greeted me I didn’t know , and I didn’t bother.
The scripted movie that I was so far watching screening in the sky suddenly took a twist. I started to realise that my life has never been about the destination, it has always been about the journey. Every moment that has passed I hold precious to me and I judge every moment in the truth of that instant. Every second I breathe is me surviving the test of times. The world is simple all the way through but we delve deeper into the complexities because that’s what we are. But if we can take a moment out of that web that we are trapped into and take a second off and breathe deeper and heavier than required, then we get to see something special about our lives. It is then that these small incidents that seem ordinary culminate into something worthwhile and different. Something worth celebrating. Everyone could have lived their life without any change, year on year but to take out that extra moment to celebrate the clock’s ticking that’s about letting go of what is important and clinging onto what is most significant. Its strange however how people can’t distinguish between the two and blindly get lost in the norms of celebrating new year.
I know what my life has been so far and what I have done in the years that have passed by , and I also know what I want to do in the recent future. But the only reason I really know where I am is because another year has ended. The clock has struck another milestone and so has my life. It’s the very reason why my life has a timeline and the very core reason why my life is so valuable to me and if I can take out one night to celebrate nothing but the value of time in my life and in the life of things and people around me it will make it different from everything else , even my birthday. And that was going to be the reason why I will celebrate this new year.
As this movie reached its climax and ended the clouds started reappearing. I stubbed of my cigarette and got back into my car. Started the engines backed my car and made my way back to the city. The song ‘Dream On’ by the retro band Aerosmith was playing on my stereo and as I rode down the hillside the city and the brilliant skyline with millions of tiny lights came into my view tearing out from the horizon. The stars seemed to merge into those lights as I kept getting closer and closer. People were still celebrating it seemed , the essence of new year’s eve had not ended after all. Perhaps I could still make it to the nightclub where my friends were partying and celebrating the coming year , or perhaps I could go back to my room gather my thoughts and ponder over my epiphany. But at the end I would eventually go off to sleep and start afresh again the next morning. It is after all another day in my significant life and another tick on my calendar , albeit a significant one , a relevant one.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!