December evokes varied emotions in me. First of all, I associate December with Christmas festivities. Even though I am a Hindu, when I was growing up we would always buy a Christmas cake. But that is not surprising. In India, we tend to participate in all festivals in some way or the other.

December also marks the end of the year. It is the time when we send out New Year wishes to our friends. I still remember the time when we used to send out paper cards. Somehow, it used to feel more special than an e-card. These days people don’t even send an e-card. You will most likely get a generic post on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms. While it is eco-friendly (saves paper) and you can interact with people easily through like/love emojis, and comments, it lacks the personal touch or concern. A message addressed especially to you is not the same as a generic message directed at ten other people.

Personal attention is very important for our well-being. We need some appreciation, at both personal and professional levels. Nobody might have criticised you but this is rarely enough for us. I know of teachers who have complained that they have never received any teaching awards even though they have worked hard. To be honest, I have had similar feelings on many occasions. The only time, a class stood up and clapped at the end of my final lecture was when I had on several occasions had friendly chats with the students during the course of the semester. But, perhaps that is what matters above all. Everyone likes to be acknowledged in some manner or the other.

So, what do I need to acknowledge this year? Firstly, I would like to thank 2022 which was emotionally less draining than last year. But, 2021 opened my eyes and made me realize that people and things were not how I had imagined. The hardships of 2021 triggered a change that was good for me. Hence, I am thankful for 2021 too. I am grateful that I had a family and a set of friends who supported me through that difficult time.

With inflation reaching an all-time high, I don’t have money to send out as many material gifts as I would have liked to. But, I do intend to thank, acknowledge, and compliment people around me more often. I have also realized through Swami ji’s teachings that I was more critical of people than they deserve. You have to keep the kindness in your heart alive. You need to keep on checking on your friends whether they return the favour or not. Recently, I checked on a friend and found out that she was suffering from serious eye ailments. I felt ashamed that I was drowned in my own sorrows, and was embittered at how difficult my life was, and yet I myself had not made any attempts to take an active interest in the lives of people that I care about.

There is a December that applies to our life as well. I don’t know how close or far away that is but I do know that it will arrive. Nature does not miss a thing. I still remember the first wrinkle and the first grey hair. They seemed so unfair. Unlike many people, I did not get a chance to enjoy my youth and yet the wrinkles and grey hair do not hesitate to arrive when it is the ‘time’. While there will always be a ton of things that could be done even in the December of my lifetime (it has to be that–Shri Hari’s creation will forever be full of possibilities), I hope that I will have learnt to be grateful for all that life had in store for me. Before I forget, I should also thank the community. Your posts and comments on each other’s posts have made my life so much better and happier. Jai Shri Hari.