Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Happy New Year ?

Its that time of the year again ... when greeting card companies, restaurants, hotels etc etc make a killing. Actually thanks to our progressive media, we are being inundated with various other "days" like Fathers' day, Mothers' day, Friends' day etc etc. I am strongly against any such "days" celebrated for random stupid reasons, whose one and only purpose is to part me with my hard earned money!

Actually it is not just these "days" which are guilty of promoting a consumerist culture. Take any festival like Diwali or Christmas. All shops will be offering "special" discounts to encourage people to loosen their purse strings a bit. The real reason for the celebration of a festival gets lost amidst these "great" offers. In a country like India, where population of Christians is quite small, it would be a bit unrealistic to assume that all of your friendly neighbourhood shopkeepers are Christians and are offering you a Christmas discount to do their bit to spread the festive spirit.

So most probably, given the demographics of India, they are not Christians, but still doing their bit to celebrate Christmas. That of course, would not bother me, but the fact that they are probably pretty much ignorant about the story of Christmas does irritate me. Without any knowledge about the reason behind the celebration, a festival gets reduced to just another ordinary day, with a big hype behind it. I was witness to this ignorance at a function at my workplace, where people were gorging on free food and booze but appeared to be pretty ignorant about the Nativity of Jesus or Christmas carols.

If there is no particular reason to celebrate a festival on particular day, it could just a well be celebrated on any other convenient day. Given the tendency to reduce festivals to just days to have a good time, we might as well bunch the whole lot of them conveniently together, in order to give a boost to the tourism industry!

There other days like National holidays, which have pretty much lost their significance. Trampling over all of Gandhiji's principles for the whole year, remembering them just in time for 2nd October is quite revolting.

But days like New Year deserve a special mention. I remember that there was a time when New Year meant sending cards out to people, probably just to keep in touch with them. The Internet with all the IMs and sites like Orkut have pretty much rendered this exercise irrelevant. Today New Year more about partying at the most expensive places and generally spending lots of money on gifts. The newspapers are full of advertisements of all kinds of places offering unlimited food and drink and some even touting the presence of minor celebrities. At the dawn of this millennium, some people had hired a plane to go around the world with the rising sun, to celebrate the New Year in every time zone. I doubt that 2nd Jan was any different for them than for their other less fortunate fellow earthlings.

Well these revelers may be forgiven because the millennium is a once in a lifetime experience, but otherwise, the New Year does come every year! It is also a pretty meaningless day, just denoting the start of the year. You could count 365 days from any day to make your own year. This anniversary is not even something personal like a birthday.
Everyone milks this day for their own benefit ... the media with its extremely boring analysis of the news of the year, the various top 10 lists for X of the year, the hotel industry hosting the various new year bashes, the astrologers who predict your future for the next year etc etc etc.

It is just a bloody day. And you guessed correctly, I will not be doing anything which would have a remote chance of being construed as celebration on the 31st of Dec. Life will go normally on the 1st and I will go to office. Take that New Year!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude.. i think the fact thet 1st jan is not a holiday for u is the ONLY reason for u clebrating 31st the way u r doing :D

8:05 am  
Anonymous Caliguliminix said...

Since i have the fortune of living in the temple city I had the chance to see what happenes to the temples on new year day. They are so full of people that there are queues extending into the main road for getting in. What is surprising is that the crowd size on new years day is comparable to the religiously significant Tamil new year's day. I think it just goes to show how insecure people are about their own lives. I am not backing it here, but I think partying for the sake of it and going incessantly to the temples are both manifestations of our insecurities.

5:49 pm  

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