Sunday, January 01, 2006

Old Confessions, New Resolutions

When the clock struck 12 last night, I was wrestling with words in the silence of a deserted newsroom, trying to write a headline for the story about L K Advani's resignation as the BJP president. I knew the clock struck 12 because crackers began to burst outside. No hugs, no kisses, not even the mandatory drink: only two Cadbury's Eclairs handed out by an engineer who was thoughtful enough to have planned some kind of a symbolic celebration.

Eclairs can be addictive: you have one and you would want to have another. And another. Bad for your teeth, but good for your innocence, or whatever little of it is left inside you. So I went out looking for the engineer. Fortunately, he was there on the corridor. I extracted two more toffees and went to the balcony. Sparklers were lighting up the sky. Bikes could be heard zipping past. More crackers.

I got back home stark sober. The last time I had spent the New Year-eve in office was 11 years ago: a freshly-minted sub-editor dutifully doing his night-shift. Since then the coin went place to place, and I can barely recall a New Year morning when I could remember how I got home the previous night. But this year I was at work out of choice: I did not feel like celebrating. There was nothing compelling for me to put on the mandatory black and hit the dancing floor. At 25, you just need an excuse to drink and dance, but at 35, you need a reason. And the demise of 2005 was certainly not a reason to celebrate. What was wrong with the year that it had to go?

But go it must. And -- like Rajneesh said in one of his discourses, which I happened to read this morning -- one must never cling to the old. Just let it go. But the problem is with memories: they, unlike the years and the people, refuse to go away. And I am carrying a bagful of memories of 2005 into 2006.

For me, 2005 was a year of obsessions. Obsession with yoga, to begin with. The sun would be well past its noon position but I would still begin my day with 12 rounds of sun salutation, or surya namaskar. Google-search yoga poses: just to marvel at the ease with which they do it. Buy yoga books: again to marvel at the achievement of those poses. Today, apart from the lives of Kishore Kumar and R.D. Burman, yoga is another subject I can write on without the aid of any reference material. How much of a yogi that makes me, I do not know. Practice might make one perfect, but man is never perfect enough to practise what he preaches.

2005 also, miraculously, pushed some of the most beautiful minds to my doorstep. I say minds because because I have only seen their minds: they have refused to let me see anything else. But who cares, the minds are beautiful enough to make me want them to be beside me when I watch the sun of 2035 set. I don't think any of that will happen, but they have certainly shaped the course of my journey from here till 2035. When I will look back at them, I will look back with a deep sense of gratitude that one reserves for mysterious benefactors; and also with a sense of loss, because I would have wanted them to come along. That sense of loss would be similar to the one you experience when the pet dog or cat dies. Dogs and cats are not humans, so their deaths do not qualify for the wails and the chest-beating reserved for the demise of a human being. The owner of a pet must grieve silently, or else the world will think he is out of his mind.

Any journey must have a starting point. And the journey of a human being, since he is capable of thinking, has many starting points. At any given point, he has the choice of abandoning his old starting point and choose a new one. Victory is in sticking to a course for as long as possible. I have made resolutions in the past -- some were silently made, some were written down, but none adhered to, for the simple reason that I was never accountable to anyone. But today when I jot down my resolutions, I am committing myself to Blogdom and its inhabitants. The inhabitants need not care what resolutions I make or whether I am sticking to them, and ideally, they should not care. But when something goes 'online', which is today's parlance is the equivalent of getting published, you are bound to be a little more careful about sticking to what you have said.

2005 was also the year when I bought more books than in any single year. Forty-six, to be precise. One of them was magician David Blaine's autobiography, Mysterious Stranger. A lot of people might dismiss Blaine as a man who does crazy things -- such as standing on a 90-feet pillar for 36 hours or getting self-imprisoned in an elevated glass cage for weeks -- for the sake of publicity. But I genuinely think the man is only seeking to prove what our yogis have proved centuries ago: the human mind is more powerful than anything else. And Blaine doesn't invent quotes like our New Age gurus: his book is peppered with the time-tested ones. Two of them which gripped my imagination:

"I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he would die for, he isn't fit to live. -- Martin Luther King Jr.

"When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute -- and it's longer than an hour. That's relativity." -- Albert Einstein.

At the end of the book, Blaine's give his Dream Manifesto. And that would be my resolution for 2006:

- Never overindulge.
- Have few extravagances.
- Resist addictions.
- Respect all life.
- Remember that a mistake is a mistake only when you fail to learn from it.
- Accumulate knowledge. Listen. Read. Observe.
- Visit the ocean.
- Try to interact with all different types of people from all walks of life.
- Wonder and be amazed.
- Love and respect those close to you.
- Learn to love yourself.
- Pursue your dreams and goals with passion. Our potential to create is limitless.


Sheks said...


Usha said...

Happy new year. great post. Loved the dream manifesto.

Akruti said...

Anything which is good for innocence needs to be cherished,i remember those days of eclairs,when we were away from the wageries of life,when we were not slefish and jealous,when life was{is} beautiful with all its simple pleasures.But with every New year we grow up as ppl and innocence keeps dying,strange that a human virtue which shapes a person is lost when he is ready to face the world.
Nothing was wrong with the year to go,But then whensoneone is waiting you need to make a way,so it just made away for new hopes, aspirations, dreams and a new world.
Memories makes us live,make us a better person,not always make us smile but we still carry them along,why? because our yesterday shapes our tomorrow,And these memories make us a little more matured,a little more patient,sometimes tough and sometimes make us more relaxed about the uncertainities of life.
i remember writing it a few days back "I collect allthe smiles from My yesterday,Neatly pack them into words and hide them in my heart,I call them "MEMORIES"for i have a tomorrow to Take them to,with the smiles and leaving behind the tears"

Last,If man were perfect then there wouldn be the concept of "GOD"

Akruti said...

There is always adifference between Real and Virtual world,hear not verything you see are read can be real,Oh,but thensame in real life also,afew faces says some stories which may or maynot be true,Like a few minds here.
but what makes it all wonderful here is that more than face a mind is read,Where u dont look at a face and decide if you need to smile or not,here you read the lines and decide if you want to be back to this place or not.Maybe we fall in love with such minds,or say the "WORDS" is there a diff? donno.Would be a dream if you feel these beautiful minds to be with you til 2035,But what the heck,"Dare to dream...."
Resolutions or no Resolutions,You stepped into a new DAWN with a new ray of HOPE,wish you a happy new year and let the obsessions continue,without them life is not what it used to be:)
{Drinking and smoking are not obessions,Point to be noted} Ok,i would have written a post by now:D,where is my Eclairs?

Anonymous said...

“2005 had to go to let us enjoy new things, new hopes, blah blah”
Been there, seen that!
2005 had to go because our ancestors found it suited (for some obscure reason) that a year should have 365 days, and it should start on Jan 1 and end on 31st December. Deducing the larger realities of life just goes on to prove the human tendency that we look for hidden meanings in the most obvious things in life…
New year just provides you with the reason to celebrate…so just get drunk, Bishy!!
Raise the toast, now.

Pradeep Nair said...

I managed to reach home from office to ring in the new year. Very few people can understand the plight of journalists like us when we have to spend days like new year eve in the office.

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Sheks, Usha, Pradeep: Thanks so much. A very happy 2006 to you all.

Akruti: I am tempted to do a Ctrl+C on your comments and post it on my blog. A die-hard romantic that you are!

R!: My New Year resolution forbids me from getting drunk, but I will have a drink anyway and listen to Sahir before the lyrics assume a different meaning.

Anand: Wishing you all the best for your film. Hope 2006 turns out to be THE year for you. I plan to add a Mont Blanc to my collection though I find it a bit too expensive. But I certainly will this year. Cheers.

Sushma Sabnis said...

Really liked what u ahve written... :) have a wonderful year..

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Happy New year! Inspiring manifesto for 2006!

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Kalabaan, Sushma, Shoe Fiend: Thanks! And a Happy New Year to you.

Sharmishta said...

That day at the station, I had eclairs in my bag...a temptation that I cannot resist. Little did I know then that it might have created a deeper bond....wouldnt have offered the lollipop then :)

Happy new year, BG!

About Health Blog said...

There was nothing compelling for me to put on the mandatory black and hit the dancing floor.

Anubhuti said...

Mr Ghosh, I have read so many of your posts, but I think 2006 has been the best so far, January to be precise. Loved every word. Such articulation is so difficult to achieve. I also think, it could have been the time when you were a little lonely and sad. I don't know why,just have a feeling.
January 2006 was an imp time for me too, I lost my first child.
Similarities eh ??