Bye 2023, Hello 2024, Time to Wake Up

Letter from New Delhi

By Kul Bhushan

Yes, goodbye to this horrendous year! One after another, the disasters kept thumping all of us. Natural calamities, fires, floods, cyclones, hurricanes, et al, went on throughout the year. Riding on top are two major wars that threaten world peace and have disrupted supply lines to our basic needs such as oil and wheat, to name the most affected.

The first one started almost two years ago between Russia and Ukraine and lingers on without any clear outcome. Most probably it will end, if at all, in a frozen conflict. But it has played havoc with oil and gas supplies and prices worldwide. Plus, wheat exports have been diminished as Ukraine is a major wheat producer.

The second one came out of the blue in last October as Hamas attacked Israel. This has escalated into a major conflict and upset the politics of the Middle East. Both conflicts can extend to other countries which is a danger to our well-being. And no less than three armed conflicts raged in Africa with thousands killed and many more becoming refugees.

As if all this is not enough, the dreaded Wuhan virus keeps reappearing in new forms in the west. Again, this is a major danger to our health.

Forget about political climate, the natural climate keeps buffeting the globe in various ways from drought to floods, volcanoes erupting to forest fires, earthquakes, hurricanes to ice melting. This list goes on and on. Yet another global meeting COP 28 was held in Dubai which fizzled out without any breakthrough to fight climate change and more importantly any contribution by the rich nations to combat this huge problem.

Despite all these disasters, it is time to be thankful because you are reading this. You are still breathing. It means that you are alive and survived the annus horribilis. You will get a new job or re-start your business but if you had succumbed to this virus, you would be no more. Thus, it is time to show your gratitude to be just alive.

As you look forward to the new year, you make plans for ‘revenge’ indulgence of all the pleasures you missed during the past year. If it is travelling or holidays, you will go out with a vengeance to live it up. If it is movies, you will line up outside the theatres. If it is dining, you will head to the restaurants more frequently. And so on with your personal favourites.

But if you had more time to ponder over life and meditate, you will take a new course of self-discovery and delve deeper into the unknown which was so overwhelmingly powerful in 2023. Instead of exploring the far corners of the earth, you will try and discover your virgin inner space.

So bid goodbye to 2023 and welcome 2024!

The first month, January, is named after the Roman God Janus because the first day of January looks both ways – at the past, at the last year that has gone, and at the year that is to come. Janus is a Roman god with two faces, facing in both directions.

Osho says, “Man is a Janus; his whole life is a January. And both directions have something appealing and something that creates fear. One has to decide. If one decides to fall back, one disappears as an alive being; one has committed suicide. If one decides to go ahead in spite of all the fear that arises with the new, one is born spiritually. Remember it. Listen to the call of the unknown – and it is always there. Whatsoever becomes known has to be dropped.”

So, what is your new year’s resolution? “This and only this can be the new year’s resolution,” Osho says. “I resolve never to make any resolutions because all resolutions are restrictions for the future. All resolutions are imprisonments. You decide today for tomorrow? You have destroyed tomorrow.”

So just be grateful, very, very grateful, that you are alive, and you survived another year.

Kul Bhushan worked as a newspaper editor in Nairobi for over three decades and now lives in New Delhi

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 29 December 2023

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