Thursday, January 01, 2009

“Happy New Year”

Earth’s back to square one yet again and the world wakes up with the last night’s hangover, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Telecom Operators, Post & Courier Services and Greeting Card Giants walk on air. Electronic mails and e-greetings have severely dented their profits over the years but it’s the time to make merry nevertheless. The postman, milkman, doorman and every possible “man” asks for “bakhsheesh” with a face straighter than Lokmanya when he asked for Independence. Traffic Police has its share of moolah, too. Vehicle inspections are the order of the day leading to currency changing hands in no time. Handshakes and “Jadoo Ki Jhappis” suddenly find a million takers in this fast world, otherwise too busy to spend a nanosecond more than “Hey”. “Happy New Year” is the new mantra. From high rollers to chaiwallahs, everyone’s busy “wishing”.

Honestly, I don’t understand this concept of a “wish”.

For twenty one years, I have also been the part of this. “Happy Birthday”, “Happy Diwali”, “Happy Valentine’s Day”, “Happy New Year” yada yada yada have been elements of my passive inheritance from this world around me. Its been so hackneyed that I never paused and took time to think about it. And now when I did, all of this “wishing” seems like a fruitless exercise. It, now, seems no better than arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

For an overwhelming majority of people I have shaken hands with and said the three golden words to, I have never actually wished or prayed to God that the forthcoming year may really be prosperous for them. Its been more like an involuntary response following the stimulus of seeing that person for the first time in the day. I am, from a practical point of view, hypocrisy personified for that instant – saying insincere words I do not mean in the face of the person.

And for the liliputian minority of the rest about whom I truly care and “wish”, I don’t see any point in expressing the same. Its like making the person forcefully realize that I pray for himer(him/her). What a redundancy!

Hindi has been no different either. “Nav varsh ki shubhkaamnayein” is the new year greetings thereby diluting the meaning of the word “kaamna” to the point of a worthless handshake.

Urdu, though, has been an honourable exception. Greetings entail the word “Mubarak” having the effect of “Congratulations”. This seems like a more decent and a suitable thing to say. To congratulate someone on making a new beginning is more convincing than “wishing” himer luck when I don’t actually mean it. And when I do “wish” for the person, expressing it won’t make a difference, whatsoever.

This leads to my first new year resolution for 2009 with the slate wiped clean - to congratulate and not to wish. Let’s “wish” that the new broom sweeps clean.

Naya saal Mubarak ho.