Somehow the dawn of New Year has always failed to evoke any exciting feelings, which one often hears about, with so many people going overboard to hail it. Hence, the morn of New Year turns up just as quietly as any other day. I have never even sent a greeting card to my friend of four decades, Jhikki.
But this year wonder what overcame me; I felt the need to change my attitude. I posted a floral card to Jhikki, in spite of her residing in the back lane of our house.
Then the first thing I did at daybreak of the New Year was to greet the sparrows, bulbuls, seven sisters (yellow-billed babblers), doves, crows and mynahs that had come for breakfast. They gave me a strange look and as I was going inside, I overheard a mynah addressing others, "What's the big deal? We couldn't even sleep properly at night; these humans were creating such a ruckus."
A dove responded, "You know, they are really an ignorant lot. Humans know nothing about peace, patience and quiet." The winged audience nodded in agreement and continued with their repast.
At 11am, the phone rang. It was Jhikki. "I was thinking of coming to your place, are you home," she asked. "Yes, very much…we'll have the new year tea together," I effused.
Within no time Jhikki was there. She was carrying a paper bag and the card sent by me. Showing the card, she looked askance at me, "What happened this time? Aren't we doing quite well without such display of sentiment? The postman just delivered it."
"You know, everyone's so excited about the New Year. I too wanted to surprise you," I explained hesitatingly.
"New? The year has become an old one; it's been used for so many hours already. As soon as the clock strikes 12 at midnight, it starts becoming stale! And my dear if everyone sends a card, what will become of this planet, with so many trees being sacrificed at the altar of our whims!"
"Even I have exactly the same views but …," I uttered with an already waned ardour.
"We don't need to change our views just to join the rat race. Every day is new, every moment is new and I revel in this newness countless times, each day. I feel grateful for this feeling," saying this Jhikki suddenly looked at the bag she had brought and asked, "That labourer woman, who works at the construction site in front of your house; has she come today?"
"Yes, I saw her; even her daughter is there." Jhikki got up and asked me to accompany her. Both the mother and daughter were busy breaking brick-pieces, quite blank about the 'speciality' of the day. Jhikki gave the duo, the bag which contained assorted biscuits. They smiled to express gratitude. They were quite used to such display of empathy by Jhikki.
As we sat down, upon returning, I happened to mention the term, 'new year resolutions'. "We can resolve everyday to make this world a better place, do our bit for the have-nots, environment… time just flies away…we cannot afford to wait for one whole year to improve ourselves," Jhikki observed.
Her comments brought me back to square one.