The last week of 2016 in Delhi is a sunny one, the fog has yet to roll in. We might debate it, but the weather is changing perceptibly in our lifetimes!
In Delhi, the advent of new year has always been in a blanket of fog, with winter chill, blooming roses, groundnuts, chikki (jaggery and peanut sweet), and trains and flights thrown off schedule. It is as if the weather too drops a curtain on the year gone by, turning ts head towards what is coming ahead.
There is something about the weather that sets the tone for moods. While spring brings color and a lightness of being, summer sunshine brightens up existence, autumn creates a sense of melancholy, and winter brings a sense of anticipation. Cold and damp, gloomy winter days, with foggy evenings and nights seem to be the harbinger of the spring hidden in nature. Winter for me is a waiting time – for the days to become longer, for the first murmurs of spring, for the wonderful greens that flood the market, for dishes that come only in winter, for the glorious summer that I love, which beckons down the road. And of course, winter means the new year is round the bend. A new calendar, a brand new year waiting to take over the stage of life
The beckoning new year makes me think that I must do somethings in the time to come or not do somethings. Should write more, exercise more, eat less, stress less….
Year end resolutions crystallize in the mind even when actively that is not the aim. Last year, at the dawn of the new year, I stood at Times Square in New York. Shivering, surrounded by a sea of people, singing and dancing while waiting for the famous ball to drop. What an experience it was. The energy and anticipation of the crowds was palpable, simply brimming over. When the countdown began, and while confetti poured down from surrounding buildings, in the din of new year hugs and greetings, I remember wishing that the year to come would be better than the one gone by.
In the ebbing embers of 2016, I can’t really say whether my wish came true. At the year end, along with resolves, automatically the introspection button too gets pressed. Whether I consciously want it or not, I tend to look back on the last twelve months. And nearly every time I realize the time that passed was like a mosaic. Some was bright and gorgeous, other parts grey and gloomy, and yet others black, with nothing in sight. No year is in entirety annus horribilis nor is it annus mirabilis. It simply swings like a pendulum from mirabilis to horribilis and back. It is our memories that make it seem either.
What is a year gone by but a bunch of memories, and what is the new year awaiting in the wings but a surge of anticipation. In a way, this artificial break we have given to time is a wise thing. We all stop, even if for a moment, as the clock strikes midnight. I guess, at last I have understood why it is important to celebrate the dawn of the New Year. Whatever day, month or time it is – all cultures and parts of the world have their new year demarcated. This notional shift to another numerical provides a much needed interregnum. In the flow of life a pause is imperative. It gives the space to think, reflect while celebrating, and moving on.
As we walk into 2017, I wish that the mosaic of the new year at its end has more color than grey.
Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!