Looking forward to a new beginning

By Thangkhochon Haokip *

By the time you read this piece, I'd probably be engrossed in book stuffs somewhere inside the library braving the chill of national Capital. And you'd wake up to find yourself under the same sun or weather but a New Year according to the conventional Pope Gregory XIII calendar.. As I flip through my diary in a pensive mood reflecting the past, the year 2008 has been a mixture of different experiences. Personally, some were just good enough to be written off while some worth to be cherished a lifetime.

A glance over the year's Diary of Events offered me a composite of events. Keeping aside the outside world, the country we live in has a diverging tales to tell. The cry for freedom after the huge Amarnath row in Jammu and Kashmir, communal violence in Kandhamal (Orissa), terror strikes in major cities as Jaipur, Delhi, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Mumbai, etc.., the demagogue in Maharashtra harboured by MNS against North Indians, economic meltdown, and so on are few of the many landmark events the nation wants to bid adieu with the passing year.

Nevertheless, India has something to cheer for. Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger has bagged the prestigious Man Booker Prize 2008. In sports, the country has emerged the super power in cricket, claimed the first ever gold medal in Olympic Games, or that the chess genius Vishvanathan Anand become the first player in the world to win the world championship in three different formats: Knockout, Tournament and Match. Our own Mary Kom who retains gold for the fourth year in a row is an addendum.

In the aftermath of all such tragedies and triumphs, the process of rebuilding lives and societies becomes inevitable even if one may still be burdened with grief or the thrill with ecstasy.

No matter what we have gone through in the year that passed, the time has finally arrived:

  • To bid farewell to the old year and welcome the coming year;
  • To accept that some day we were pigeons and some day we were statues;
  • To accept that what has happened, has happened for some reason; and
  • To look forward with faith in God and self.
A brief history of New Year

The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible crescent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).

The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical or agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.

The Babylonian New Year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivities pale in comparison.

The Romans continued to observe the New Year in late March, but various emperors continually tampered with their calendar so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.

In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the New Year.. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, who in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian calendar. It again established January 1 as the New Year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.

Preparation for New Year

I think it relevant and imperative to quote Alfred Tennyson:
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false ring in the true.

No matter how successful one has been in following the resolutions in previous year, one makes fresh resolution for the coming year with full determination and will. The starting days of New Year are the most crucial in order to plan for the entire year.

New Year resolution should be such that don't expect too much from you. Try to find out what you can do easily and stick to them. Going out of the way to prove yourself to others is of no use. Get only achievable tips for New Year resolution.

Things that will make you a better human being and help you lead a more comfortable life should be made the New Year resolution. Make a pledge to make at least one person happy. You will see the difference it can make in both your lives. The bottom line is-change for the better in the coming year.

There is a constant debate on whether one should have New Year resolution(s). Of course resolutions/promises are made to be broken, the thing is having one keeps you going for at least a short while-days, weeks or month/s if not year.

The essential message of New Year

Let go of the past and embrace life as it comes to you. With God, your beautiful past may come back as an essential part of your future.

Reflection of the self

In our quest for better future and wishes for better tomorrow, let's take a time to reflect ourselves.. Often we pray for blessing to the Almighty. Time and again do we blame Him back for our misfortunes. But hardly do we realize whether we so deserve to bless. Consider you are the God (or god) you worship and yourself the worshipper. Would you bless the worshipper considering his ways?

The same holds true in our temporal relationships. We often expect goodwill gesture from friends, relatives, and so forth without realizing if we ever did anything to get the favor. 'Consider your ways' is what the Bible keeps telling us. Every religion preaches the purity of heart and good action. The problem is we don't put into practice.

The warm Christmas season has gone by and we are in the in the look out for the ushering year. As we just celebrate the birth of Christ, it is pertinent to remember His teachings as well. Jesus, in His own words, thus advises us, "Do unto others as you like them do unto you".

His other famously quoted words, "as you sow so shall you reap" always holds well. As we trudge along the untravelled path-2009 AD, let us take the initiative of doing something good to ourselves that would not, at the same time, compromise the goodness others.

You may feel perturbed if you broaden your horizon to see what lies ahead. The increasing tension between India and Pakistan, the perpetual crisis in Middle East, the future of Indo-US nuke deals, economic recession, forthcoming Lok Sabha election or that of the threatening climate change may cross your mind.

However, the sole purpose of this articles different. It concerns you vis--vis others. Come what may we are in the New Year and gonna face what is set before us. Let us correct ourselves first and then the rest will stand corrected, gradually. Then, and only then, we will call 2009, the year of blessing.

* Thangkhochon Haokip writes to for the first time. The writer is an under-graduate student of Sociology based in New Delhi. He can be reached at chochonhaokip(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was webcasted at on 11th January 2009.

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