|Copyright (C) Shubhrata V Prakash|
A very happy 2015 to everyone!!
A new year brings with it lots of new hope and new cheer. But, ultimately, it is only an adjustment in date.....so I don't take it too seriously....and of course, nothing much has changed so far.
The first terror attack of the year has already happened. Debates about cartoons, tolerance, freedom of speech and expression, how much satire is too much satire, comparisons with the movie PK, then more debate, more discussion.....it is all the same. So what's new about the new year? Nothing, I would say.
North India is reeling under a severe cold wave. Here I am sipping my adrak-chai (ginger tea) in the sun and giving my Facebook friends a virtual sunny wave. Again nothing new.
Sanjay Dutt was granted a furlough to celebrate the new year and its eve. Of course, the rich are privileged, even if they are convicted felons. The poor spend new year's eve on the pavements under freezing skies, wondering how to keep themselves alive to see the light of the new year. Again, that's not something new.
The Indian cricket team, or Team India as we have become used to calling it (the assumption being that no other sport has a Team India), is doing miserably at an away series. What's new?
This blog, like all of Indian media - print, electronic, social or any other - is incomplete without the above references to Bollywood and Cricket. Nothing new again.
Time for Uttarayan. A little boy has already fallen prey to the deadly Manjha. People have got wire frames fitted on two-wheelers to escape the manjha and the deathly curse it brings. Emergency measures are being taken to treat injuries to humans and birds. And yet, we are not ready to think of a safer way of celebrating our festivals. We are not ready to "sacrifice" even a teeny-weeny bit of fun from our festivals, even if it is at the cost of other human beings. Who says that fun is more important than the life of a five-year-old boy? And those of other victims? Again, nothing new.
After Uttarayan, the marriage season will be back. Nobody wants to "sacrifice" on fun, loud music and dancing. Ok. But no one wants to pay for the use of a party place for the song-and-dance either. So the poor neighbours must suffer the assault of deafening music, and the inconvenience of road-blocks and traffic jams. After all, we are guaranteed freedom as a fundamental right. So who cares what is right? Nothing new again.
Alas, if only the new year actually brought something new with it - like a new way of thinking? Caring about the rights and comforts of other people, e.g.,? Celebrations in non-threatening, non-intrusive ways? Traditions modified to suit modern, urban living? Marriages that get over in a few hours, instead of days, and with less "conspicuous consumption"? We are not in the starving pre-independence India, after all (at least those who read this blog!). People actually DOING something, instead of arm-chair activism on Facebook and WhatsApp? "Awareness" is not brought about by adopting a symbol but by actually talking to people about whatever you want to make them aware of.
Or actual "World Peace"? Instead of the parodies in various international events, including the Nobel Prize ceremony.
Who knows? Perhaps, the old is familiar, and hence, comforting. And people seldom like to move away from their comfort zones.
So, I hope, at least 2015 is happy, if not new. That would be more than what many can hope for.
(The picture shows the flower of a pomegranate tree, taken in a friend's garden)