Everywhere around you, it seems the celebrations have begun. Messages of happy new year pouring in, people putting up status on Instagram and WhatsApp for hoping for a fruitful and happy new year.
Inside, well my house I mean, another party is being planned. A barbecue it is supposed to be. Families and friends are invited for a cozy dinner in the front-yard. What is to be cooked is already noted and extra stuff has been brought from the market. The house has been swiped clean and the crockery is shinier than ever.
But inside my little self, I am already feeling so tired. This tiresome event where everybody seems to be shouting, calling, amusing, partying and creating a hell lot of noise. I feel angry at all this. This isn’t how I imagine my new year to start.
And then, nostalgia kicks in and I am reminded of the best new years I have had, my kinda new years. So, I sit back and travel in time.
It’s 6’o clock in the last day of the cold December evening of 2012. Mommy is all set for the night. She has been telling us to wind up our work because we are to go to a gurudwara for the new year celebration. There would be a lot of food, a lot of people and a lot of religious music to help us enter the new year with blessings.
(Yes, we are a devotional family. My father is utterly devotional. We have both a religion and a guru to follow. )
So anyways, she comes to my room and my mind is already powered up, gathering reasons I will put forth, for not going.
When I start blurting the same, my brother stands across me, besides my mother and gives me that ‘weird’ ‘disgusting’ look that asks me why the hell are you choosing to stay alone Vs going out?
He doesn’t understand I don’t like all that noisy stuff. He believes I am a spoil sport. So, there’s a lot of crying, a lot of shouting and I ran amuck to the only person who can save me now, that is my grandma!
She is almost 75 now, cooks great food and has always been my shield. She lives just beneath us. Her old age has taught her all about peace which to my luck I already know at this age!
So, I ran upto her, convince her to take my side and she is all set for it. After that it becomes easy to give my mother a stronger version of ‘I am not going’. Now only my father is left to be faced. He is still not home so I have plenty of time to prepare.
So after a while, I head back to my refuge- that is my grandma’s house. The kitchen smells of lentils being cooked. I move upto her sit on the kitchen slab while she makes chapati. I could never understand how delicately she makes every ball of that dough as if she adds a bit of her love in it. I couldn’t resist so had to taste her love.
After having a sumptuous dinner, we decide to grab the cozy blankets and just cocoon ourselves in the bed. It’s almost 8pm now and my family is ready to leave.
My grandma feels cold and needs a bit more warmth so we warm our blanket with a heater too. I lay by her side while she tells me stories of her childhood, my childhood, my father’s childhood, stories about partition and so on. As I lay my head on her shoulder I realise she is so warm and has that woody warm smell that I have always loved. My eyes are closed and I find myself in the space and time she is describing.
Suddenly my father arrives and asks me to get up and be ready since they are too late already. Filled with dread, almost shivering, I say no, I don’t want to. And he starts shouting. While I prepare to remove myself from the blanket, and to leave my grandma’s side, she steps in the conversation. After all she is the mother, my father couldn’t stand a chance.
And so I spending the night lying on her shoulders while the window bears noises of firecrackers being lit. People are dancing to freaking loud tunes on their roofs, some in their balconies while some are looking at others dancing away on their TV’s. The air itself feels so crowded. Thankfully, the window was easy to shut.
And there we lay, content and happy and peaceful and warm. A slow start to a new beginning inside my comfort zone doing what I love.
And the bell rings, I guess the guests have arrived. The new year party is peaceful no more.