Thursday, January 2, 2014

How to Unwind on New Year’s Day?

It seems everyone wants the New Year’s day to be perfect. It is as if ordinariness is accursed and undesirable. Whatever one does to make the New Year’s first day special, ordinariness creeps in, like an occasional uninvited guest. The bus we take to workplace, or college or school, the taxi driver we meet on the road, the parents who constantly nag about the failures we had the previous year until the very moment you read this article, and the crows that shit on our day while waiting for a bus in the evening, all make something horribly ordinary set its foot in our auspicious New Year’s day.

These are potential threats we all foresee and know exists somewhere round the corner. We pray and hope that from the bus driver to your parents or beloved ones behave properly, and respect us. You may feel for the lonely crow on the dry branch of the mahogany tree in the bus stop, and hope its bowels do not act out while you are underneath the branch in your best clothing. Even after hoping and expecting the best, we all know internally that something will not happen as expected. But we have measures to alleviate our pain and disappointments.

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Some of us have this strategy to consider the first event on the New Year’s day as crucial and everything else happening during the rest of the day as unimportant, normal and ordinary. This almost goes hand in hand with the common perception that whatever happens during New Year’s day will repeat throughout the rest of the year. But if you cannot control what happens in your life throughout the whole of 1 Jan, then to take the latter stand seems better--taking the first event as the best sign. This too might turn into a gamble at some point, especially if you are in the Southern part of India, where “power cuts” are as common as coconut trees. A power cut early in the morning could very well ruin our whole day, for that matter.

When I was in the bus stop, early this morning, going to college, I asked myself; ‘what is the best thing happened to me today?’

I was trying to explain to myself before the bus comes, about the rises and falls that await me on this day, in terms of “the first event is best” theory. I was not sure at all of how many bad experiences I would have to endure, from the moment I board on the bus, till I reach my college. So it was decided that I should dwell on the one great occasion or moment I had for the first time today, 1 Jan. I considered that possibility for a while, without much success, because there is always something wrong with everything.

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I was on the verge of disappointment. Needless to say, this eager preoccupation with ‘perfect days’ is part of the today’s cultural ethos. My day, much like many of them all over the world, was far from being perfect.

Meek, quiet and patience have been extremely rewarding qualities in literatures, epics and holy scriptures around the world. Trusting this wisdom of the Tradition, I considered the possibility of being soft towards myself and avoid pushing myself very hard. Then I considered every one of my actions since my waking up at the morning. My actions, including waking up, brushing teeth and taking shower are events too that I should consider well again.

When the alarm struck 5.45 this morning, I opened my eyes, saw myself in the reflection, nearby, on the floor. This is the best event that happened on New Year’s day! When I heard the alarm, I could wake up into a new and bright morning. I am alive. With almost all of us, this must have been the case. Think about the situation that runs into the opposite direction, how horrible it might be!

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If you are someone looking for a perfect memory you can take with you into the future about New Year’s day, this one event might be there in your life too. You heard the morning alarm, took the sun’s bright and golden rays onto your face, and woke up, expecting hoping and dreaming. This event might not be an attention grabber, like winning a lottery or meeting the love of one’s life or making a dream come true. These mornings are, on the other hand, ethereal moments of life that together make us win lotteries in the form of love of our life, a dream, and prosperity.

Wish you and your beloved ones, a very Happy and fulfilling New Year.

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