A Void That Spells ‘New Year’

Arshid Malik
Arshid Malik

What are dates or time in generality for? Well, dates are mainly meant to establish a chronological documentation and considerable periodicity in human affairs. Otherwise, dates hold no relevance. Dates are relative and relative only. Come to think of it. Today is 29th of December, 2012 and two days henceforth, we will step into the New Year which is just another incomprehensibility that complicates our lives. I never felt different on a New Year’s eve and I guess I have no reason to do so. The calendar is an oddity that I in all generality do not accede to since what matters to me is the present, while calendars are meant to delve into the past or peek into the future – or at least attempt to do so. What is now is all that matters. Tomorrow may never come. But then on the 7th of every month, I am eagerly waiting for an SMS to buzz into my cell phone announcing the arrival of my due monthly wages from the organization I work for. So am I contradicting myself? I guess not since I wouldn’t mind receiving my wages on the 2nd or say 10th day of the month as long as I receive it. This is confusing. While I am receding away from all kinds of affiliations to dates, I am, at the same time, acceding to the same and that may well be because of the fact that I am not accepting common logic as an interceptive in human lives and I will try to explain why it is so in the last paragraph of this write-up.

For teasers, I would like to try the following one on myself. Where do years gone by actually go? Yes, we find traces of them in all actualities that correspond to chronology like periodicals but these bear minimal references to the years gone by; where do the actual years go. The past is a fuzzy concept and so is the future and all other concepts related to chronology. It is all relative, my dear, and then there are various time cycles across cultural divides. Does that mean we can afford to do away with all concepts related to time? On eager hindsight, that would mean ultimate chaos as the world runs on a clock and if the clock stops, perhaps the whole world will stop, even though, technically, that is not happening, for the universe does not follow the aphorisms of us mortals and rather goes by its own rules and predications.

So when a friend of mine asked me how I would celebrate the New Year, I was absolutely listless before him, standing like a lump of bone and muscle with no expressions that would convey some meaning at all. “What are you talking about,” I inquired. “Well, you must have plans for the New Year’s eve and for the New Year,” he said. “Plans, what plans and what kind of celebrations are you talking about and pertaining to what. I am just going to be sliding from one day into the other and that is about it,” I replied bluntly. “You are a true moron,” my friend scoffed at me. A moron; yes I was a moron because I did not heed his affiliation to chronology and a moron I was – a moron who had no plans for the New Year. I guess I should stop capitalising the words “new” and “year” for I do not conceive of these two words tied together as some kind of absoluteness. I would rather stick to my own schedules.

I figure dates are imperative to all sorts of negativities. All wars are known by the dates they were fought on and without dates, the wars are stripped off all relevance. Wars are negative, don’t you agree? You would remember all issues pertaining to the negativities of your life assumingly in association with dates. The good memories sort of fly by like angels and I figure we do not need to stick to dates for that. Remember the “date” you were formally introduced to an educational institution. Yes, that’s the negativity I am speaking about. And do you remember the “day” you went on a picnic which was pure fun and frolic. Yes, you do remember the laughter, the teasing, the beautiful landscapes, the greenery and the awesome food (which did not actually taste so good since it came from your school canteen and this might lead to the recollection of some stuff pertaining to dates and that is the negative part). No need to recollect the dates when it comes to the good things in life.

So do we really need to celebrate the new year – an overly consumerist concept mechanized by the super affluent capitalist regime which wants us to believe that free trade and porous borders are good for us and our society. I don’t think so. My belief is that if we need to believe in and celebrate in something called a “New Year” for we can do it every day for each day corresponds to such another day in our past history and as per calculations in the past 365 or more days that actually comprise the capitalistic year.

I guess I have strolled way out of my league while negating the very concept of the “New Year” and celebrations that surround it. But my scepticism is born out of my deprived conditions and more so because of the deprivations that my community suffers as a whole. We, the people of Kashmir, have been sitting on politically crafted subliminal fault lines for the past many decades now. We have seen our brothers get murdered in cold blood; we have lost thousands of our sons and thousands of our daughters have lost their honour and pride to a vicious breed of tyrants who stand protected by the law against all kinds of abuses and violations committed against our kind; we have lost the light in our lives and there is nothing but unending darkness for us. Every year, the start of the New Year brings us news of more deaths and violations and it is just another day in a “wounded paradise”. Every day is the same for us, a day full of abjection. While the world celebrates its new years, we are left clueless in a landlocked territory that once smelled of rose blossoms. No new year in the past decades has brought us some respite from the dejection, anguish and uncertainty that haunts us relentlessly. I am a Kashmiri and I do not find any solace in the “New Year” and so be it.


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