New Year means a big celebration. Bonfire is lit in the compound of my house under mango trees and we (all relatives and friends) collectively cook chicken and other delicacies over earthen oven where food is cooked over wooden fire.
The preparation for new year celebration starts early when few branches of Mango trees are cut and they are left to dry on the roof top. No one touches them as everyone in the family knows that these woods would be used as bonfire for New Year celebration.
This is a routine and I exactly do not remember when and how it started but I know this ritual continued for over two decades. But this year – we decided to give this ritual a miss. Dry woods were ready. My relatives were eager and from Morning of December 31 they started throwing hints about party. By afternoon the family WhatsApp group was active as my brother-in laws and their children started throwing queries about the celebration.
I do not know why I preferred to stay low. May be because on December 31 my nephew Lim returned to Bangaluru after staying with us for three days. We had a blast with him.. I took him to Lucknow darshan all the three days and exposed him to Lucknow’street food like Idris ki Biryani and our own Chowk’s Malai Makhan.
We were tired – this could be one reason and another was my wife Mini was indisposed. She was shivering despite covering her with two quilt and a blanket. Another WhatsApp message popped up in the Lucknow family group which read: “Itna Sannata kyon hai bhai”.
I knew what it meant. Still I remained silent. I looked at Mini – she was still shivering and my son Joy had a concerned look at his face. I knew what I had do.. I put my mobile on mute mode and looked at Joy who was looking at me. He was clutching a book “Concept of Physics” by HC Verma in his right hand.
I did not say a word. Joy slowly slipped out of the bed room and went to his study.
No one said a word but we knew we are going to have a silent and somber new year celebration. I switched on TV which was showing a boisterous Cine Award Nite. Mini took her head out of the quilt as a tortoise takes head out of shell – slowly and very cautiously.
“Logs are there in the courtyard. Go and make a bonfire,” Mini said in whispers.
“No, this year we will celebrate New year by watching TV,” I replied.
Mini said something which I cannot hear as she again slowly pulled her head back inside the layers of quilt and blanket as is done by tortoise.
I watched TV alone for almost an hour. Joy joined me after 10.30 p,m. and by 11 pm we had dinner of roti with dal, cabbage ki sabzi and aaloo-gazar- matar. I did not miss chicken or other non-veg delicaies which were a norm.
To tell the truth – I did not miss the cacophony of music that usually goes with new year celebration or the late night drink session followed by a tedious routine of cleaning up the house.
In fact – for a change – I liked the soft, silent and somber way to welcome 2018. Happy New Year.