Opinion and Editorial

What fun it is to ruin your mood on New Year's Day

Bikram Vohra
Filed on December 31, 2019 | Last updated on December 31, 2019 at 08.49 pm

Why do some of us celebrate the new year with such vengeance? For the past two weeks the first question the human race asks is, 'What are your plans?'

Welcome to 2020 all you NYE revelers, staggering this lovely morning to your life-saving cup of coffee, groaning and moaning and holding a head the size of a melon. Shhhhh, don't talk so loudly, where is the aspirin?

And then there is clever us, the lot who went to bed at 0015 hours and are now off for a swim, smug in the fact that we didn't spend a bomb to get bombed.

Why do some of us celebrate the new year with such vengeance? For the past two weeks the first question the human race asks is, 'What are your plans?'

Don't have any. Nature does not have any. Not the moon nor the sun. The stars are the least bothered about it. Flora and fauna don't care; it is just another 24-hour cycle.

The cold-blooded ruthlessness. 2019 is out, kick the blighter in the back side, let's go curry favour with 2020 just like we do to the new boss when he replaces the old one - overnight change of loyalty.

The hypocrisy. Hugging people we don't know in a false sense of bonhomie and frigid warmth that will disappear in two minutes. The rest of the year, kill and plunder and destroy with glee.

The cant. We must love one another, and I hate people who don't, but are going gaga over people we cannot stand the rest of the year.

The competitiveness. Oh, we are going to see the Northern Lights. We are off to the Costa del Sol. Decided to bring in the new year in Greece in Santorini.

Bring in the New Year???? What an arrogance. You are not bringing in anything. The earth will complete its daily revolution and another day will dawn, and wouldn't it be far more rewarding to do one good deed per person rather than having three for the road and turning into a statistic?

How am I doing making you more miserable? Good. Let's make sure.

It is not as though the massacre of the earth will stop or mankind will wake up a better race or children will not be exploited, and we will ride posse against the common enemies of mankind: poverty, disease and injustice.

Come Monday morning, nothing is going to change.

Think of it. January, as a month, only came into being in 700 BC. And January 1 was chosen as the new year because Julius Caesar realised the sun and the calendar were out of sync, so he arbitrarily added 96 days on the advice of his astrologers and made it work for him. It was no party for the astronomers and January was chosen to please Janus, the god of beginnings. Old Jules wanted to be on good terms with starters.

And if all this hasn't ruined your mood entirely, think of five other good reasons.

You probably paid for  cheap over-priced drinks, were stuck in a miserable crowd in a miserable place having to say 'aren't we having fun' every few minutes because the service sucks and you are actually miserable. 

The food will be like swill if you can reach it.

Somebody will scratch your car if you can get it parked for a start and valet service will cost an arm and a leg.

Getting reunited with your car will take ninety minutes as you freeze in the chill, and some idiot on your table will get maudlin and mushy and sentimental and there goes your evening in a basket.

You'll have to suffer stupid comments, several versions of stupid see-you-next year jokes accompanied by false laughter and the music will drown out any chance of conversation.

Then there will be that odd ritual called making a new year resolution. Inevitably we will come across the most annoying individual in this sport and that's the giving-up-smoking-at-midnight guy.

Giving up, he'll say, even as he is chain-smoking, this is the last evening and then it's done and dusted, stroke of midnight and no more ciggies.

Good for you, you'll reply as he lights a fresh cigarette from the stub of the old one, a cloud of smoke hanging over his head. For some quaint reason this saga in self control becomes the central point of conversation and we were supposed to be having fun.

Folks will begin to relate stories of those who gave up cold turkey, used to smoke thirty and then one day, that's it, never again. And now half a dozen people are one upping each other with epic narrations of their battles with nicotine. Why would you think we would find this fascinating conversation?

Last one, he'll say, inhaling deeply and pouring an obnoxious plume into your face, even as normally sensible level-headed couples begin to ginger up for the Countdown and begin to leap around as they do the Scottish Reel or kick their heels and yell Auld Lang Syne in what has become de rigeur as an expression of joy.

And now we are into that love-a-stranger first half hour of the new year and our freshly-minted non-smoker is holding court, his fingers drumming a tattoo in nervous energy, the ceremoniously crushed packet testament to his determination.

See, he says, triumphantly, no problem, don't need it. Hear the drums Fernando and the celestial music. His wife looks at her hero with devotion dripping like rainwater from a spaniel. One thing he has, she says, like she was proclaiming an amendment to the Constitution, is will power. Everyone nods in agreement and offers that wow look.

It is 12:16, not exactly an era in the smokeless time frame.

By 1am, as couples now having exhausted their year's supply of goodwill are getting into arguments over each other's conduct, our friend has moved from drumming fingers to a picture of deprived agony.

You know what, he says in a whisper, now that I know I can kick it,I think I'll take a puff, for old times sake.

 Did you find the aspirin?

- bikram@khaleejtimes.com

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