The world is celebrating the birth of another year. I stare above, I see the ceiling hardly 2 meters from my bed. The white washed walls of my perfectly rectangular room close in on me. I stretch my hands and silently thank my genes that they aren’t any longer than they are lest I touch the walls on both sides. I thank the 60 odd centimetres on either side of my finger tips for whatever is left of my sanity. I have been deprived of the right to complain, I chose this for myself.
A while ago, someone knocked at my door and informed about the impending celebrations downstairs. On the insistence of my angel of a roommate who shares the misery of this four walled jail with me I decided to shed off some of my socio-repellent tendencies and hopefully get contaminated with all the radioactive joy shooting sharply from all around me. Truth be told, a tiny part of me is clinging to 2014 as an obstinate child would cling to the hands of its mother dragging it from a playground. Sometimes I yearn for closure. I go down and see fire crackers, half torn Christmas stars hanging loosely from trees and as always these days, priests and nuns. I try to smear some happiness on to my face desperately, like a man in his 50s slapping a wig on his balding head, uncomfortable and keenly aware of the unnaturality and pointlessness of the whole exercise. I don’t want to be caught in my game. I don’t want people asking me why I wasn’t joyful or exuberant when that was what was expected of me. The fake concern and the unwanted curiosity about the small spaces inside my head has never failed to put me off. So instead I turn to my phone like a cripple to his crutch and pretend to be immersed in clicking oddly focused pictures of smog.
The strange thing is, perhaps I am indeed happier than most people at the other end of the wands of burning light. What is happiness anyway? A mellow but constant feeling of relief has found its way into my heart lately. Happiness to me now is less like laughter bursting out in every colour of light and more like a strange luminous afterglow of something that happened a long time ago. Around me, loud firecrackers go off. And disappear. Like the year that is about to vanish into a whiff of smoke in a couple more of hours. Everything I see through the smog is hazy. Smog is much like time itself. Everything you remember through time is misty, soft around the edges. Silhouettes of memories on the other side of the smog call on to me. The last time I burst crackers was on a cold diwali night. I remember stars and myself, chronically ill with happiness. I look at people around me and feel more in touch with them.
I realize perhaps, I need a New Year more than anyone around me at this moment. I don’t want to kick 2014 in its butt and show it the door. I am not dissatisfied or waiting for something new. I feel like a tired writer at end of a long convoluted sentence at the end of an even more long convoluted novel desperate for a full stop, fully aware than he/she could have done a much better job. It is not the newness of the year you celebrate or the end of another one. It is perhaps the opportunity to say “this time I am not going to fuck up” that people desperately yearn for.
The worst thing about saying goodbye to a year is that you cant say see you next time. You cant say hope you fare well. Saying goodbye to a year is like crumbling a paper and throwing it into a chute. Like the sanitary napkin disposers most hostels are equipped with now a days. The darkness of the chute tones down the overall ugliness of having to dispose of the bloody mess that only you and biology are responsible for. Throw it and in a second it is out of your head. A year that goes down into the throat of an ever burning incinerator. I am filled with an urge to say sorry 2014. This is how it has to be. I feel better that I can actually hold a conversation with a year inside my head and actually convince myself it would hear me and feel less bad about me disposing it off so unceremoniously. I have been kinder to you. You of all should know that. When people disappear at the press of a button, imaginary conversations are so much more happy. So much more loving and right.
I tell myself to be less existential. To enjoy the movie and not worry about the gigantic plot holes gnawing at my brain. I tell myself to give 2015 a fair chance. I wonder in what new box I will be in next year this time. I want to be under a yellow street light on a deserted road. On New Years at 12. Not today. Not this time. But some time in life. Perhaps. I make plans and hang it on a pole in front of me much like the proverbial carrot. Something to look forward to. To keep this show going.
Happy New Year. Whatever that means.