The ringing of the new year at midnight is the most magical moment for me. As a kid, it was listening past all the static to Ameen Sayani on Binaca Geetmala for the year’s top song, then it was watching Dick Clark in the US. The celebrations moved from being intimate family affairs to elaborate outings with friends. For the last 12 years, my NY eve was always shared by our son, Arnav. This year, Arnav was playing for the Karnataka state football team in Neyveli, Tamilnadu. My husband Rajat and I did not want to put pressure on him by being in the bleachers and he really wanted to do this on his own as well. So, this New Year’s eve, I celebrated with my extended family in a farm house near Hyderabad. Murali, Mukund, Neeraja and I have been friends for over 40 years and Murali invited my extended family of cousins to stay at his farm house. All evening long, 15 of us feasted on sugarcane juice, fruits, spicy snacks followed by a traditional vegetarian meal complete with gongura pickle.
We all became kids, riding around in a rickshaw, ATV, going down a slide, enjoying the swing and skipping rope. We sat around a camp fire, shared jokes and toasted the New Year with cake, coffee and sugarcane juice. Even though we had some gin and tonic, my friends and I became those kids who dare not drink in front of my older sister. The next morning, we all sat together and celebrated the 100th anniversary of my father by sharing stories of him, his parents and the extended family. We spoke about how our fathers kept us together even though they were all first or even second cousins.
I got back to Bangalore to celebrate it with my INK family with lots of sweets from Hyderabad. We mourned the death of the infant son of Mani, who brings us coffee and tea everyday. We celebrated the wedding of our team member, Godwin. We gathered and talked about the next avatar of INK, from being best known for its annual gathering to being a life long learning institute.
As I look at the New Year, I see that we are all returning to our roots after we spread our wings to be global citizens, I see our kids going out into the world taking their own risks, seemingly detached from us and yet irrevocably attached. I see us making the time to be there for each other more to mourn the losses and celebrate the journeys. Brexit, Trump, demonetization – all point to a trend where we each are looking inward, trying to take care of our own problems in our own way, flawed or fair. We are taking huge risks, going through sweeping changes and also returning to our own comfort zones.
Andy Grove used to say that we may agree and commit or disagree and commit but it is important to commit and move forward. And that’s what I am going to do in 2017. With all things I agree or disagree, I will make a commitment to move INK as well as my own life forward and contribute even in a tiny way to create positive change in this world. Here’s to more stories, more magical moments and magnificent journeys.