TODAY -

New Year: Diary Notes

K. Radhakumar *



New Year's Day is the first day of a year. In many countries, it is a public holiday or a national holiday. Here in Manipur, we have general holidays and restricted holidays. The Government of Manipur will also issue a list of public holidays for a particular year under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

What is a holiday? And why is New Year's Day a holiday?

In this diary note, I will not use holiday in the sense of a period of time when one is not at work (e.g. summer holidays) etc. Rather I will confine myself to holiday in the sense of a day when people do not go to work. People do not go to work especially because of a religious function (e.g. Janma Ashtami) or a national celebration (e.g. Independence Day).

My definition of a holiday now boils down to the following sentence: A holiday is a day when people are not at work. People do not do anything active on this day and take a rest from all the hard work done in the days that were.

A day of passivity after a period of activity! A day of doing nothing or relaxing - for me this is a day of doing nothing. Just sleeping.

Why are people not active and take rest on the first day of the year especially when people's resolution is to achieve success in the year? Is it ideal to begin with a note of passivity? Yes, we take a rest on a holiday.

Is a holiday meant for taking a rest only? No. There is a missing link.

Then why declare New Year's Day a holiday? It is for celebration - celebration of what and how? It is for celebration of the start of New Year. And how? It would depend on the circumstances.

My questions! It remains unanswered. Let it remain so.

Instead, let me re-read my New Year poems published in earlier issues of Hueiyen Lanpao.

Somewhere in 2011 I wrote about a mother and her daughter. They talk the same language but do not understand each other. Nothing can bridge the generation gap - the mother always wakes to a morning and makes preparations to start afresh. The daughter knows no past and no future. She lives in the present and lives one day at a time.

New Year came to them: It came as no surprise/ To a mother and her daughter. I am quoting these lines from my poem, Greetings.

In my Twenty Twelve,
the past runs into the present and,
the present runs into the future.
Does life begin with birth and end in death?
The protagonist asks: Is it possible/
I wake to a shining sky/
To make a fresh start/
With no insecure feeling of homelessness/
A hangover from childhood/
Like a bitter taste/ Left in the mouth by black coffee/
Is birth a beginning/
A waking to life/
And death an end/
A farewell to life/
The beauty of lengthening life/
Beyond birth and death/
The facet of eternity/
In our universe of/
Spatial and temporal dimensions.

When I re-read my 2013 New Year poem, the prosaic intensity of the common man who is dead today for a rosy tomorrow strikes me:
The authority upstairs/
Has no influence/
Over the inhabitants downstairs/
And New Year/
Will not bring/
A new life/
If one does not fully exploit/
One's day-to-day life.

Here I am not offering critical notes on some of my poems or lines and dots. I write what I want to write about and in the way I can and when it is finished, I feel the piece of writing is no longer mine.

And I read these pieces like a reader and I feel as if those lines were written by another person. I am trying to answer my question on New Year and holiday, and I find myself re-reading some of my poems.

This year New Year comes as an unannounced visitor.
The visitor with myriad facets of life!
And I know New Year will come with or without me.
Yes, it always is - come what may.


* K. Radhakumar wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on January 01, 2014.


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