April 14, 2017
My screaming mobile woke me up. It was 8:36 AM. The moment I woke up, the first thing I did was turning on my mobile data. Not actually though. Turning off the alarm was the first thing which I did.
I was now looking at the notification bar of my mobile that showed around 300 unread WhatsApp messages. All the WhatsApp Groups that seemed dead all these days suddenly became hyper active today. I also saw messages from those people whose existence was a question mark all these days.
However, all the messages were more or less the same. There was only one reason for all those messages. It was a very special day. It was our very dear own Tamil New Year (தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு).
Chiththirai 1 (சித்திரை 1) marks the beginning, 1st day of Tamil New Year.
I read all those messages but something stopped me from wishing them back. I felt just exchanging messages over social media and doing nothing than that means nothing special. That too for a Tamizhan like me who stays in Bangalore where Tamil New Year is not a happening festival, I wanted to do something today. Atleast something small.
I was on my way to office. I had called my Mom over phone to wish her. Not just Tamil new year wishes but also her birthday wishes. Oh yeah, today’s my Mother’s birthday as well. She is lucky to be born on the Tamil New Year. It’s a special day for 80 million native Tamil speakers around the world and my Mom is one among the few who gets to celebrate their birthday on our New Year.
I was at office, in my workstation. I had wished some Tamil people for the New Year. Some of my colleagues from other states had wished me too.
I was in cafeteria with my colleagues. They were discussing something. But my mind was restless thinking what I should I do. There it struck my head.
I was drafting a mail addressed to all my project mates and few other colleagues with the subject “Celebrating Tamil New Year – இனிய தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு சித்திரை திருநாள் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள் ; Malayalam New Year – Vishu Ashamsakal ; Sikh New Year – Vaisakhi“. The body of the mail had “Chocolates at my Desk. Kindly help yourselves” text along with images of Tamil and Malayalam New Year and Baisakhi festival wishes.
This was the simple idea that struck my head few minutes back in cafeteria, celebrating New Year by sharing chocolates. There I had bought a pack of 5 star bar chocolates in Foodland store.
And yeah… Malayalam being my second favourite language next to my dear own Tamil language and Sikhs‘ whom I have good respect on, I also wanted to celebrate Malayalam New Year Vishu (April 14) and Sikh’s New Year Baisakhi (April 13).
After all those two are also Indian festivals. The pledge we take, “All Indians are my brothers and sisters…”, I feel that it shouldn’t be just in words. So, I just thought I would celebrate my brothers’ and sisters’ festivals as well.
Some of my colleagues were surpised to see a guy celebrating Indian New Year festivals by giving chocolates to the whole team. All my colleagues from different parts of India who now works in the same project with me shared their wishes for Tamil New Year. It was then I felt happy that I did something from my side to celebrate Our Own New Year.
I sometimes wonder why the celebrations of native Indian festivals is not so grand in recent years as it used to be before! Why do our people consider celebrating foreign festivals/cultural traditions as superior to our very own Indian festivals/cultural traditions! I’m not against celebrating foreign cultural practices. But I just feel that we should not forget our Indian cultural practices are one of the best in the world. I’ve seen many people with the same opinion as I do. There are still lot more people who wants our cultural practices to last long.
On this Special day, I just wish that people around the world gets a peaceful and happy life…
© Navin Rajagopal