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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome New Year 2013 ~ is partying only way of celebrating !

Another year has fleeted past, and in a few hours would dawn a fresh year – Welcome New Year 2013. New Year is the day that marks the beginning of a new calendar year – of Gregorian calendar. 

Binge  :  a bout of excessive indulgence in eating or drinking; spree. Morning happened to see some preparation and another newsitem, which put in some spot of concern… In many ways, English New Year is just another day to me. It is the perspective of an individual ~ one can celebrate, make merry in the manner that gives happiness to one; can make others to be happy on a special day.   When there were lurking fears that the World would come to an end on 21st Dec 2012, it was stated :

“Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then -- just as your calendar begins again on January 1 -- another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.” – not words of some ordinary people, but that of NASA.

A few more hours to go – it is time to rollick and celebrate.  Before we (in India) could do that people of Kiribati would be enjoying.  According to some reliable sources, New Year dawns here ~ with the time zones, it would progressive move on to the other parts of the Globe. Kiribati, officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean.  Popularly we believe that Sun rises first in the islands of Japan too.  It is a place called Hokkaido, an island in the land of the rising sun, dawn comes first to a cape of bizarre terrain whose name - Shiretoko -means the end of the earth.   

The celebrations around the World are far varied and widespread.  In Australia spectacular New Year Eve fire works are burst. Many other countries plan  massive pyrotechnic displays.  People venture to islands, go for sky walk,  para glide,  plan their party in Ships, night time bash in star hotels charging differently for couple and stags and champagne might flow unabated, hearing DJs blare favourtie tunes,  dance floors with celebrities,  ..  Revelries, dance, consuming whatever one desires, being with whomsoever they adore, making merry – all are individual’s wish and reach.    Enjoy and make merry – it is individual desire and way of reacting to events.

Year 2012 will end at the stroke of the midnight hour. India is freshly mourning the death of Nirbhaya,a young rape victim so named by media for her fearlessness in the face of adversity. This paramedical students undeserved fate would serve as a grim reminder of the cruel fate that befell on a young girl who ventured to catch a bus at night.  Nirbhayas is the story of millions of Indian women, open to insults, subject to ambush, vulnerable to attack, destined for demonization. The men who victimised Nirbhaya were monstrous products of this very society who have over time forgotten all ethical and moral values of not seeing women not necessarily as sisters or at least as women.  This girl was never alone ~ there perhaps have been many which went unreported for the fear of victimization and bad propaganda.  This should at least herald in stringent laws though mere legislations alone may never stop such barbarism.

Getting back, morning saw the Buhari hotel getting spruced up for the late night bash – in Chennai (would be similar in many other places as well)  - at  midnight, group of youth would gather on roads, drink, drive crazily, shout and sometimes disturb, annoy, rattle, enrage and even cause harm to others……….  What is this about and what would this merriment provide to any body ?  Everybody knows that drunken driving causes majority of accidents during New Year Eve and most claims are viewed with suspicion by the Insurers when they are reported closer to New Year.  The City Police keeps a big patrol on road.  Nearly 10,000 police personnel would be deployed on security duty for New year celebrations in the city.  A couple of years back unsavoury incidents took place in Mumbai beach on New year Eve ~ sure most of us have forgotten.

As a large number of people would throng the beach front, traffic restrictions and changes would be imposed in the Marina and East Coast Road, the favourites spots for the revelleries. Beach road,  Marina beach, Elliots beach, ECR, Mount road are some of the places where some incidents and some accidents get reported every year.   Besides the road accidents, Chennaites should remember the grisly incident at a famous hotel a couple of years ago.  On that fateful day, the makeshift dance floor on swimming pool collapsed killing 3 of the revellers and injuring few more.  Last year five fatal accidents and 22 non-fatal ones were reported from across the city.  Police had to be lenient and were not booking people for over-speeding or drunken driving – thousands of cops were on the streets – but are not human lives and limbs precious.. are there not better ways of ushering in and celebrating New Year.

Some of these are legacies of  British rule.  Elsewhere  in London, last year some 77 people were arrested during London's New Year's Eve celebrations, with most of the crowds generally "good humoured", police said. More than 3,000 officers were on duty to handle the large crowds which had gathered in the capital. London Ambulance Service treated 274 patients and had to answer more than 2000 emergency calls.  Among the arrests, 17 were for assault, 17 for drunkenness and 16 for public order offences, police said.

The newsitem in TOI troubled me; it reads ‘Curbs eased for 31st party on till 2am’.  The city can party late to ring in the New Year,with police saying they will allow hotels,clubs and resorts to serve liquor till 2am,two hours later than the midnight deadline strictly enforced over the past few years. Hotels will be allowed to organise parties and events only in halls and require certification from the police, public works and fire departments to set up temporary structures. Police specifically asked hotels not to erect any structures over or near swimming pools.

A few decades ago, New Year would usher in with hundreds of ‘Greeting Cards’ personally written wishes from relatives and friends that would make one happy.  That was the time when people thronged Post Offices for Post cards, Inland letters and covers – are they still in use ? – then e-mail took over ; now even sending e-mail is considered old-fashioned in the era of Facebook, twitter and other medias.  How many of us know the price of a Post card or Inland leter…

So, Welcome to New Year 2013 – enjoy and make merry – be cautious on thy self and care for others also.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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