A Happy Frivolous New Year!
Columns, In Black & White

A Happy Frivolous New Year!

January 5, 2019

Every passing year, the greetings are getting more and more impersonal as we are assaulted with a barrage of digital greetings. Earlier it was just SMS greetings; now with the smart phone boom we have WhatsApp greetings — usually some banal image wishing you a Happy New Year.

This year, some people went a step further; they sent New Year wishes even before the New Year was ushered in! As though the WhatsApp mass greeting was not impersonal enough, they wanted to wish in advance like a chore they wanted to get out of the way.

To this I would like to reply by saying, “Thank you for the early New Year greetings. Since you believe in delivering greetings in advance, I wish you a Happy Birthday in advance.”  Now, this way I won’t get pulled up for forgetting birthdays.

Last year, Indians ushered in 2018 by sending over 20 billion WhatsApp greetings on December 31, that’s 2,000 crore messages! Globally, 75 billion messages were sent — this included 13 billion images and 5 billion videos! No wonder, WhatsApp service went down for a while last year on December midnight. This year’s report is awaited.

Prior to WhatsApp and SMS, people used to call and personally greet each other over the course of the first month. It felt sincere even if delayed. No wonder even though we may be digitally well connected today, emotionally we’re quite disconnected.

Earlier we used to arrange the greeting cards we got for Christmas and New Year on our tables to remind us and appreciate our loved ones. We used to take trouble to write something thoughtful and heartfelt, words of appreciation that made us emotionally connected.

Now, apart from digital wishes, one more item keeps coming to our office every New Year — a Diary. At least this item has some use and makes me smile. So far I’ve received four diaries and it is interesting the kind of information that a diary packs these days.

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One particular diary caught my eye; it was sent by our newsprint supplier. It had a page full of conversion tables — from weights to even tyre pressure! It also had a health page with information on calories of everything from biryani to carrot halwa. Then it had a page of medical information telling how you notice a heart attack, alcoholism and mental health! Guess, this supplier wants me to be alive, the diary was a business retention strategy — keep the buyer alive.

Also, all the diaries had ISD codes and maps. One diary contained a section called “Latin in common usage!” I wonder when it’ll come in handy. For now, all it taught me was that ‘Curriculum Vitae’ means “course of life” in Latin.

Now, all this conversion tables, medical information, geographical knowledge and Latin has made my first day of the New Year feel like it was my first day of school. Also diaries are depressing. It reminds one of the long year ahead.

Speaking of the first day of the year, I too have made a resolution. I promised myself I would not touch sugar or sweets this year. But then, like every year I visited Venkateshwara temple in Vontikoppal, where I received two delicious ladoos as prasadam. I broke my resolution on the very first day for “God’s sake.”

But it seems, losing weight has made it to the top of the list of most people globally and why not. Today, the world is getting vain with social media selfies. Also it takes great discipline and dedication to stay fit. That is why it is said being fit is the new rich.

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Oh! but then don’t be too hard on yourself, as they say, “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one ‘year’ and out the other.”

Dear Readers, I wish you all a joyous year ahead and thank you for reading what I write. I hope, I have done my job of enlightening and entertaining you with my banter.

e-mail: [email protected]

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “A Happy Frivolous New Year!”

  1. Gopal says:

    That was a wonderful write up.Being your fan,I always liked your narration style with subtle humour
    I agree -the New Year Wishes in earlier years, in the form of Cards,personal Phone calls were so welcome. Unlike these WhatsApp messages now.
    One used to cherish such moments and I still have some old cards for posterity sake. You have rightly p[ointed out this aspect.
    Regarding resolutions, my experience is same as yours. No more resolutions.
    In this connection, I wish you and family a very happy 2019.
    God bless you with the best in Life.
    Awaiting many more entertaining and thought provoking articles under In black & White.


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