In India, we celebrate a lot of New Years. The Gujaratis celebrate Saal Mubarak, the Keralites celebrate Vishu, the Punjabis have Baisakhi, and the Maharashtrians have Gudi Padva and so on. And some times many of us end up celebrating more new years than one. A Gujarati family in Bengaluru celebrates both Ugadi ( the new year celebrated in Karnataka) in March – April and Saal Mubarak in October –November. We Indians are rightly accused of being festive loving, because one new year that each Indian ushers in with much gusto, is the New Year on January 1. Free from both shackles of rituals and restrictions of cultural compulsions, Indians welcome this new year with much enthusiasm as anyone in the world.
The word new is always special. A new book to read, a new place to visit, a new game to play has its own charm. A fresh start with a blank new page to write on is what one is looking forward for in the new. Though this excitement is tempered by the caution and a remembrance of the past year. But the enthusiasm of starting anything new is unmistakable, like retracing an old path afresh as an existing relationship rekindled.
The reason to be enthusiastic maybe varied for all of us, but one distinctive root for all our eagerness, is the undying wish to spend this year better than the previous one. Amidst all the thought of the impending sultriness of the Indian summer, most of us hope that the new year brings in more joy, peace and happiness not only in our lives but also to all the beings in the world.
There is a beautiful conversation that goes something like this…..
I was once asked by a wise soul, ”In your view, who is a poor man?”.
I answered. “The one who is not rich, the one who doesn’t have wealth or money”.
“Who is more impoverished than him?” the questioner continued.
My answer again ” The one who doesn’t have skills. For if one had marketable skills, then surely one could use it to be wealthy”.
Pat came the next question “Who is lower than the one who is bereft of wealth and skills?”.
Now my intellect ran out of ideas,
So I was answered by the wise.
“The one who does not have time. The one who doesn’t have time to build new marketable skills would soon be destitute. For the unskilled would be out skilled soon and would lose all his wealth too”.
“Who then is the poorest of all?”, the wise one seemed to be enjoying my misery as was clear from the twinkle in his eye.
Thankfully this question seemed like the final in this series of these questions.
I reconfirmed “ Do you mean who is poorer than the person who has no money, no skills and no time?”
“Yes” said the flowing beard.
I paused as if to think about the answer, silently musing how much was it closer to my spate and secretly pitying such a soul.
“The poorest of all is the one who has lost all hope for the better” boomed the voice. “For hope is that small lamp that keeps the light of life alive”.
Indeed hope is something that drives us forward, hope for better health, hope for better wealth, hope for better relationships, hope for a better world. Hope is what keeps us alive despite the circumstances; hope is what makes us take those baby steps towards what we really want to do. Hope gives us the warmth that all is going to be better once this dead winter passes. Hope is truly what keeps us alive.
Hope is that which truly sets us free.
Let’s hope that this new year brings us tidings of the best year that all of us have lived yet.
I allow myself to be hopeful of better circumstances today than what I had yesterday.