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Saturday, January 2, 2010

In the Early Hours of 2010…

A Family Celebration

Breathes there the man with soul so dead whose children are alienated from him? When the hurly burly’s done, my daughters seem actually to enjoy time spent with me. Nothing is more fulfilling; nothing so soulful.

And so it was on New Year’s Eve in Goa, we ordered several bottles of champagne while awaiting 2010. There was music and dancing and much merriment. I felt lucky to be me. Those assembled that night were an incestuous mix of family and friends. Above all, it was a raucous lot.

Noise somehow seems to be directly proportional to the fun you are having. And our noise started before even the first glass was poured. If a bunch of stone-cold sober people can stir up the pot, what happens after a couple of bottles of champagne?

Answer: it does not get maudlin or sentimental or nostalgic, only much more fun as people yell and smile and nod at each other to communicate over the loud music, without really hearing what anyone’s saying. They happily pour themselves that extra glass of champagne that teeters between enhancement of reality and oblivion.

So what’s the big deal about this particular midnight? I think it is a generic birthday celebration when we all get older by the calendar year, never mind specific birthdays. It’s not as though human existence can be subsumed by accurate accounting: no, I’ll be 50 only in March; or 65 in September or 21 in July and 40 in April.

On January 1, everyone is a year older, give or take 365 days.

New Year’s Eve is a communitarian birthday celebration and as such egalitarian. Random strangers come up and wish you with a smile in their eyes and good cheer in their heart. And you think to yourself, what a wonderful world! You think about new beginnings, rather than endings; of spring, not fall. The key message is renewal, not decay.

There’s no denying, for many of us, more such celebrations are behind rather than ahead of us. Growing older is a complicated process. At once, you are wiser, more sure of yourself. You realize clearly you will never run a four-minute mile or do a breakdance. The real issue is whether you find value in your life or moan the years that have flown

My wish for New Year’s Eve is we will continue to have fun with family and friends, not just on mankind’s common birthday but on every occasion we can grab.

Happy New Year!

Copyright Rajiv Desai 2010