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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Tale of a New Year

Boston Common Park, 2003 Year 2004 was my first new year in United States. I had just arrived in this exotic land four months ago and was still under culture shock. I witnessed new year’s eve in Boston. It was quite interesting and wonderful experience. For the first time, which would happen again on American Independence Day on 4th of July but I didn’t know it yet, orderliness of city was shattered. There were people walking on streets, happy families in their colourful and funky costumes. Music was in the air, literally, and there were rock shows organized in Boston Common Park and in many places in the city. Town squares were decorated with fluttering lights and colourful flags. Ice sculptures adorned various points on the way. Intricately designed elaborate scenes depicted in ice enthralled the audience. Chilled wind of the night kept people in their warmest of clothes but that didn’t stop crowd from pouring in large number. This occasion was what I can describe as closest to Indian mela or fair. Smell of hot pretzels, popcorns and hotdogs (samosa-pakoda equivalent) permeated the ambience. Kids adorned magical hats and played noisy whistles. Ground was covered in litter of various kind. All in all everybody seems to be making merry. Boston Harbor, 2004As countdown began for the magical moment, people went into frenzy and at strike of 12…lips were locked. Well, fireworks started too but we weren’t looking at them.

I knew all well what to expect, yet sea of people in embrace and smooching simultaneously was too much for me to handle. I’ve had my occasional encounters with public display of affections in first four months, but intensity of this event was way too much. Yeah, that was pretty much the high point of my that night. I wished I could click pictures but basic decency prohibited me.

Personally I find concept of New Year arbitrary. Celebrating arbitrary moment in man made artificial concept of time and giving unusual importance to that instant of rotation of earth is amusing. I do, of course, realize the need for such interruptions in monotonous life. We can call them birthdays or new years, festivals or anniversaries, they are supposed to be symbolic. Yet, I can somehow more relate to them than to New Years. Yes, I know it's random, weird and doesn't make sense. Anyway, if you feel something special today, Happy New Year to you!

Edit 06/01/2010: Found this on a blog. It says pretty much what I said except in much more narcissist tone.
This whole New Year business is just another reaffirmation of the inherent nihilism of our existence. Suddenly whats important is the launch of a new set of an arbitrary number of days, at an arbitrary moment in time initially chosen by an arbitrary group of people, an arbitrary number of years ago.