Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ASSORTED HAPPY NEW YEARS

We Indians are a clever lot. Long, long ago, when the Divine Creator was chalking out the human calendar, Indians said, “O Mighty One, please do not give us only one new year’s day like you have to the Western World. They usher in the New Year on 1st January, and wait 364 days for the next one to come along. We are an impatient lot. We don’t want to wait so long. Also, we like to celebrate and we need excuses for that. So, can you please give us a dozen New Years each year?”

The Divine Creator thoughtfully stroked his long white beard (make that “the day-old stubble in the cleft of his chin”, if you want an image-makeover for the old chap), gave his trademark benign smile and came up with a SMART SOLUTION to this somewhat bizarre request: each community would have a separate new year’s day, separated from each other by weeks or months, so that there would be valid excuses for celebrating. Which means declaring government holidays, shopping for new clothes, visiting and gossiping with family and friends, and eating a lot of sweets and other calorie-rich food. Along with other activities like playing the latest Bollywood hit-songs very loudly on the loudspeaker (for the entire community to hear, of course).

The Gujaratis and the Marwaris bring in their new year a day after Diwali (being business-minded, they combine the two festivals to make the whole affair costly but cost-effective). The Parsis have their Pateti in August, and the Maharashtrians celebrated Gudi Padwa a few weeks back (along with the Sindhi Cheti Chand, Manipuri Cheiraaba, Kashmiri Navreh and the Ugadi of the Telugus and Kannadigas).

As is quite evident, the allocation of new year dates reflects a certain bureaucratic bungling on the part of the Divine Creator’s minions (a trait which has been inherited by the public sector in India). For instance, certain dates got mixed up, and the Punjabi Baisakhi, Tamil Puthnadu, Malayali Vishu, Oriya Mahabishuba Sankranti and Bengali Poila Baisakh all fall on the same day, or on consecutive days in April. Instead of breathing down each other’s necks, they could have better spaced out. Of course, our Indian indefatigible officials are trying to rectify the error by attempting to relocate some of the new years. Wikipedia informs me that the "OFFICIAL" Malayali New Year comes in August, and that certain sections in Tamil Nadu are also campaigning to shift their New Year to another date. But change, as always in India, is a slow and laborious process, fraught with debate, discussion and delays.

And so, we have a whole bunch of New Years coming up. Since I do not know how to speak either Punjabi or Tamil or Malayalam or Oriya, here’s wishing SHUBHO POILA BAISAKH and a better new year to all of you. Like every year, let us crib and cheer, embrace and jeer. What to do, we are like this only.

12 comments:

Pradip Biswas said...

SUBHO NABOBARSHO TO YOU AND ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS.
We are lucky to have so many newyears and enjoying so many parties with variety of culture and foods. At least here we enjoy the variety.

sukku said...

Happy New Year.......period......

Koel said...

Shubho Nabo Barsho!!!!
This is why we Indians are so special - there is so much to celebrate about round the year....

SGD said...

Shubho Poila Boishakher Priti O Shubhechha tomader shokolke...

Indyeah said...

LOL!:D yeah liek you wrote what to do?We are like this only and happy with it..
the holidays could be lessened though...too many working hours wasted no?:)liked your take on it immensely:))

Shubho Nabo Borsho to you too:))

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Sucharita Sarkar said...

Prdipda, sukku, koel, SGD, Indyeah,

Same to you and all your loved ones.

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Thanx for the info.

magiceye said...

hinduism is the most user friendly religion!

Double-Dolphin said...

I think we have the world's largest number of public holidays here in India.

Shubho Nabo Barsho to you and all your loved ones.

Pinku said...

SUBHO NABOBARSHO TO YOU AND ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS.

Pinku said...

SUBHO NABOBARSHO TO YOU AND ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS.

mesoliloquy said...

Shubo Nabo Barsho! :)

March-April for Indians is indeed a display of unity in diversity.