Bimal Saigal –
Last Sunday we welcomed another new year. A New Year always brings in new hopes as we learn from the mistakes of the past year and while repenting over them resolve to turn a new leaf in our life. People from different walks of life have different kinds of resolutions. Most realize that, healthwise, they have been reckless and do resolve in vengeance to live healthier lifestyles. The New Year resolutions for them include quitting smoking and drinking or getting up early in the morning and going for long walks. The health-freaks wish to walk an extra mile and join health clubs or gyms so that they can add muscular content in providing strength of sustainability to their New Year resolutions. For the obese, it is the determination to lose weight and regain fitness. People resolve to shun junk food, cut down on sugar intake, tea and coffee and have wholesome foods instead.
The euphoria that builds up the customary celebrations to ring in the New Year rakes up resolutions to spend more time with family and friends. Young resolve to learn something exciting, fall in love and enjoy life to the fullest. Those studious and serious resolve to concentrate more on studies and arrive at some commanding position in life. Unfortunate those with finances, resolve to spend less and save more and come out of their debts. And those moved with the plight of others resolve to help others in achieving their dreams.
As I get up this New Year morning, I linger on in the bed reminiscing over my life and auditing as to what I lost and what I gained during the past year. Content that I have not picked up any vices in life, I am at a loss what to shed from my life in the New Year resolution. But that leaves me confronting myself as I am not being honest in introspection. I realize that I have been chasing an utopian world around me. The defeat in finding one has been building bitterness in me; I have been lamenting, been waspish and critical of others whom I found wanting to fall in line with the propriety. I engage with and confront people on the street when I see them littering, spitting, encroaching on public property, usurping public pavements for extending their own ends; when they behave boisterously in public or when they defiantly disobey traffic rules. I reprimand even the policemen and other security staff when I find them wanting in performance of their duties. I realize it is not my sanctified business to take on people the way they are. It is indeed the accepted way of their life in the society. I cannot change it; I must flow with the obstinate rut and not come as an obstacle on its queer way lest I should be washed away.
But looks like now that I have recently crossed sixty, as they say, I am ‘sathiya gaya’ or have gone senile. I have even taken on my wife when she wastes her time watching successive TV serials or mounts on marathon telephonic gossips with friends while remaining oblivious to important family obligations. My daughter too gets her share of my pep talk when keeping her books aside she is engrossed in chats on her mobile or when it becomes difficult to get her out of the bed even though it is past seven in the morning- beyond the time for her to be on her way to college and I having been ready to drop her at the Metro station am getting late for office.
As I sit down with the newspaper and a cup of tea, I find front page news in the Times of India: a couple in Ahmedabad, Gujarat has taken a New Year resolution for adopting family planning now that they have seventeen children. Motivated by this better-late-than-never attitude I also resolve not to be obtrusive in others’ lives and leave them to their own judgement. As I am glancing over other news of the day, my wife asks for the newspaper. Happy that perhaps she has taken a New Year resolution to take interest in news and current affairs, I readily pass on the newspaper and go over to my daughter’s bedroom to wish her Happy New Year anew. Finding her asleep I retrieve my steps but am stopped by the sight of her expensive mobile lying fallen on the floor while music from it still buzzes in her ears with the head phone plugged in them. I am dismayed as both the mother and daughter have already cost me a fortune by breaking displays of their high-end mobiles. As I walk in back to our bedroom I am shocked to find the real reason of my wife’s newly awakened interest in the newspaper — she is going through horoscope, trying to gauge as to how the contours of the year ahead will favour her. Peeved by her superstitious and irrational approach to life, as some candid commentary boils within to steam off, I see my resolution for the New Year running away at a distance.