TO NEW BEGINNINGS

 TO NEW BEGINNINGS

Even to the most cynical of cynics, the first day of January every year ushers in hope. Yes, it’s an artificial landmark brought about by usage of a randomly chosen 12-month calendar which has come down to us from Roma times. Yes, it doesn’t have any practical value whatsoever – for in reality, it’s just a day like any other. Yes, it reinforces humanity’s need to take itself too seriously, to give it one more cause to celebrate, even though it doesn’t know what it’s celebrating.
But in spite of all that, hard must be the heart that doesn’t feel a hint of warmth kindle deep within its recesses as the hands of the clock come together on the night of the 31st. Even if temporarily, the first day of the years stands for many things: not only individual emotions such as positivity, ambition, resolve and discipline, but also ones that better the condition of the human collective, such as friendship, brotherhood, cooperation, understanding and tolerance.
To celebrate these strands of thought, action and instinct that bind us all across the world, we erupted at midnight. Auckland’s sky tower treated us to a dazzling display of fireworks. Orange streaks filled up the night sky next to the Quadriga sculpture on the Brandenburg gate in Berlin. In Paris, thousands of people thronged to the Champs-Elysees avenue on the night to personally welcome the New Year.
Closer to home, Sydney’s Harbour Bridge lived up to its reputation and put out a display of lights that could be said was second to none in the world. Across India and other countries in the sub-continent, children made human pyramids, painted their bodies, twirled loops of fire in their hands, and laughed a lot.
It was not just a time for celebration. Tucked away in their monasteries, Buddhist monks in South Korea and Shinto priests in Japan prayed, because they know as much as anyone else how thirsty the world is for a drop of peace.
After the day has come and gone, after the lights have gone out from the sky, after the voice of the priest chanting from the sanctum dies down, we all must endeavour to keep the flame of home in our heart burning bright. Just for one more year, until another New Year will come along to give it strength.
We wish you safety, prosperity and contentment in 2015.

Gaurav Malhotra

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