On his Facebook status, someone I know had wondered out loud how people could celebrate a New Year when the blood of innocent was still fresh in their graves, referring of course to the very recent suicide attack on the Ashura procession in Karachi. I had commented back saying something along the lines of how every new chance we are given to hope for something better, we grab at it, because isn’t that the entire scope of human existence- to try and hope for the better tomorrow by celebrating what is there? He wrote back saying that why could the year not be started off with mourning, some respect to the dead some kind of reflection on the times today- wouldn’t that be more befitting?
Another acquaintance who lost someone she knew for years at this very procession was at a common friends get together on New Years. She was laughing while waiting her turn to mention her new years resolution, had her Coke in her hand and was singing, very obviously celebrating the advent of 2010.
So many people I know celebrated low key this year, preferring to stay in with the close friends and/or partners, finding happiness in the few rather then the revelry of the many. No matter how much we say it doesn’t, what is happening around us affects us. It makes us think. It makes us react and perhaps that doesn’t come up in the most expected ways all the time. I wanted to tell my friend on facebook that don’t you know that the only way to survive tims like these IS to celebrate. To be utterly and completely joyful about what you have. Of course we have to reflect and mourn the pointless losses, the madness around us and the sad circumstance of tragedy around us but the New Year is all about new stuff. New beginnings, a chance to get it right again, as Oprah and Gandhi both said. The new year tells us we made it, that we survived our personal wars, the worlds wars and if that isn’t a reason to celebrate then what is?
For me, personally, celebration has always been about the new. A new thought, a new idea, a new start and a new me. Not to say I discard the old me but adding that bit of new always helps to keep things vital, beating, alive. And God knws these days it takes a lot to stay alive in every sense of the word. I understand now why birthdays, Eid, wedding time is always associated with new clothes- they really do make the celebration feel more..potent. I try to bring a difference about in my life by adding a bit of the new. I will rearrange my room to make it new. Add some lights to add a dash of new. I might get a drastic haircut to feel new. And this year I changed the upholstery on my sofa to bring in the new year. It’s a small gesture- irrlevant in the larger scheme of things to anyone I know; and perhaps even trivial and silly in the “how does it compare to what is happening in the world today” sense. But the thing is it’s new to me, and in that, it makes me feel more positive, more upbeat and release that much more good energy into the universe. And I don’t suppose I need to explain how dire the need for good energy is in our world today?
So for 2010, I’d say please go ahead and celebrate. Try to do it with dignity and sensitivity- keeping in mind for a minute the people who gave their lives in the dailyness of their routine for no rhyme or reason. Please go on and be joyful for all that you have and wishful for all that we want, peace within, love all around and harmony in our country and world. For 2010, go to something that adds the new back into your life, that makes you want to get up and live, and give out to thew world some happy, strong thoughts, so that it survives and thrives the next year- with its spirits intact.
Happy New Year to you all. May 2010 be (as my favourite voice of doom puts it) miraculous.