Happy New Year. Or Happy Wednesday. Pass The Booze, Please.
One of the (many) problems with keeping the same email address for about a decade is that every spammer on the planet has attempted to flood your inbox at least once.
I have created many spam filters, hit the delete button a million times, and the “Report Spam” button is now a close, cherished friend. Gmail itself has tried various ruses – they split up a simple inbox into multiple ones, they created auto-folders, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve resorted to hiring shamans in San Francisco. But they pile up nonetheless, those spam mails. They’re the bane of my online life, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
And it was just the other day, when I opened my inbox one fine wintry morning, and saw about a dozen mails within. Of which, you could be sure, about eight would be canned meat product, made mainly from ham. And I was just about to consign them to the recycle bin, when one caught my eye.
“DON”T CELEBRATE NEW YEAR ON 31ST!” it admonished me in no uncertain terms. Intrigued (since this seemed a nice, convenient way to procrastinate a morning away), I clicked upon the mail. And was gratified to see that a solid morning’s worth of procrastination reposed inside.
“DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS”, it began promisingly,before striking a rich vein of form, in which it continued for the rest of the mail, ” OUR GRAND CULTURE HAS STAYED WITH US FOR A THOUSAND YEARS AND MORE, AND YET WE SUCCUMB TO THE EVIL TEMPTATIONS OF WESTERN CULTURE!”
The email, I was happy to note, had been sent from a Gmail ID, that grand old bastion of Indian culture. After speaking about how wonderful our culture was for a couple of entertaining paragraphs, and spending some contemplative lines on explaining how bereft of anything nice Western influences were, it got to the point.
“THIS YEAR, BRING IN A POSITIVE CHANGE, AND EMBRACE OUR PROUD CULTURE AGAIN!” it said. “CELEBRATE THE HINDU NEW YEAR, AND NOT THE WESTERN ONE!”
You’ll have to forgive me, dear reader, for I do not have the mail with me any longer, and my memory is not good enough to remember exactly what the Hindu New Year is called* – suffice it to say that it was a very long name indeed. Whatever the name, the mail said, that is what must be celebrated, and not the Bacchanalian orgy that the 31st of December promised to be. For long-name-that-I-do-not-remember is a true reflection of our country and its culture, while partying on the 31st is Anti-Indian, if not not actually Pro-Evil.
A Pandit whose last name shares an important characteristic with the official name of the Hindu New Year had taken the time and trouble to send me this mail. Far as he’s concerned, New Year parties are evil thrice distilled, and if we want to lead good, respectable lives than we should stay galaxies away from them.
I didn’t send a reply to the good Pandit, naturally, but you can take it as a given that your author will be imbibing plenty of liquids that probably wouldn’t meet the approval of my new email pal come 31st evening. But here’s the thing: you can also take it as a given that your author will be hogging away on all things wonderful come the version of the New Year that Pandtiji would want me to celebrate.
For I subscribe to the inclusive school of thought, you see, rather than the exclusive one. Not that I see myself as belonging to any one religion, but even if I did, I would be all for celebrating all festivals. Not just the evil 31st one, and not just the name-I-can’t-remember one. Because if there is one philosophy that your author subscribes to, it is this: make use of every excuse to eat, drink and be merry.
And on that harmonious note, ladies and gentlemen, here’s wishing all of you very happy new years. May all of them be awesome.
* No, it wasn’t Gudi Padwa. Something much, much longer.