C for Celebration

Happy New Year’s Day. My best wishes to you and yours for the best of health and every success. Huh? You might say. Has the clock stopped for this guy? It’s April now and in business terms , we are already one quarter into the new year as per the Gregorian calendar. That’s right but did you know that we in India have more than one New Year’s Day?

Apart from January 1, celebrated universally as New Year’s Day, we in India celebrate New Year’s day largely depending on the region and community we belong to. For our community of Gowd Saraswat Brahmins, the New Year begins today with the festival of Samsar Padvo. It is called Gudhi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, all large states in India. As per the   Hindu calendar the year Chaitra Shukla Vikram Samvat 2068 starts from the day after Amavasya ( the no moon day ) in the Chaitra month. The day is celebrated with prayer, gaiety and hogging the special dishes traditionally prepared for the occasion!

We Indians love celebrations. They tend to be noisy and boisterous in which everyone joins in with gusto. The entire nation had cause for major celebrations  recently when India won the Cricket World Cup after a huge gap of 28 years. The celebrations that followed on the night of April 2 had to be seen to be believed! The win was of great significance because it was the first time Young India had experienced such a major victory in this cricket crazy country!

Most of them were toddlers and many not even born when India beat the mighty West Indies at Lords in 1983 to pull off a spectacular upset in that edition of the World Cup. I had the privilege of seeing both the victories ( on TV, I might add). The ’83 one was far more thrilling because it took us to where we had never been before. Kapil Dev and his Kapil’s Devils were very much the under dogs and no one gave us a hope in hell. Our beating the mighty West Indies who had won the earlier two editions of the World Cup was nothing short of a miracle!

In 2011, many considered Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Team India to be amongst the favorites ,more so since we were playing at home. Still this triumph needs to be celebrated. It was a great victory over some very tough teams including arch rivals Pakistan in the semi-finals and a very strong Sri Lanka in the finals.

I wondered how people were going crazy celebrating the event . The answer was not far to find. India is a young country. A full 50 % of its population of over 1.2 billion people are under 25 years of age. If you consider age 35, the figure rises to 65 %. It was natural that this celebration was a first for most of them. As they often said ” We had heard of the 83 celebrations. We had seen old videos of the images but we got to experience it for ourselves this time in 2011″. More joy to them, I say!

The years between 1983 and 2011 saw India make great progress as a nation, in terms of prosperity, economic power and a place in the world of sports, especially cricket. So go right ahead and celebrate. You deserve to. Besides, what’s life for if you don’t celebrate these happy moments?

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