New Year resolutions have a strange way of lying dormant the first 364 days of a year and suddenly cropping up in the last fortnight to trigger a scramble. There were times when I attempted the most bizarre and attention-seeking resolutions fit enough to brag about for at least the first few weeks of the next year (who pursues them beyond that?). On other occasions, I vowed to undo or renounce something the family has been nagging me about for a whole year and did so just to pacify them.
The fate of the most serious of resolutions taken in all earnestness would only be forgotten in the euphoria of starting a brand new year. This time being no different, I went through the whole exercise for the umpteenth time. After a couple of hard-thinking hours, I came up with a resolution different from the previous years. Instead of the usual ‘things I need to do’ list, what I jotted down had the heading ‘things I need to get others to do.’ This list went into pages and fearing protest, I decided to compromise and toned down the heading, adding the word ‘urgently’ at the end of it. Thankfully, the list shrank to a bearable single page. So, I spelt my mind to my eagerly awaiting audience (read my family).
The first thing others need to do is “to give me a break...,” I announced. Before I could finish, my folks gave a predictable ‘oh-no-not-again’ look, least knowing what was in store for them. “...from the sati-Savitri-supermom act,” I concluded. I am sure my no-nonsense tone did not betray a fluttering heart as I got to sense the sudden silence it augured. “Who asked you to be one in the first place?’ shrugged hubby dear. “Mom, stop being so filmy,” said my eldest. Lightening the air, the youngest asked, perplexed, “Who the hell is sati-Savitri?”
I cleared any remnants of doubt by drawing the battle lines. “No more spoon-feeding and ladle-scooping.” “The first casualty shall be the morning tea.” All eyes riveted to the man who slumped deeper into the sofa. “But how on earth do you expect him to get up?” cried his sympathisers. “Just as I did for the last 20 years,” I retorted. “Moreover, now that I am on a ‘rediscovering-myself-trip,’ I need to renew my kathak skills with guruji and so shall have no one disturbing me between 4 and 5 p.m.,” I went on. “But that’s when I play my computer games!” said the aggrieved party. “So...?” I quipped arching my eyebrow (kathak-style).
I fired the next salvo, ...“and by the way, since you guys feel embarrassed at my tears in the movie hall, please don’t mind as I’ve decided to watch mushy SRK romantics with like-eyed…oops I mean like-minded friends.” “Can you imagine a whole row of sobbing beauties...” guffawed a brave heart. Ignoring the rolled-up eyes, I went ahead with the next item on my list.
“From now on, my e-mail and Facebook passwords, mobile phone and ATM passwords shall not be considered public property. I am entitled to my secrecy as much as you all do.” I marched on with courage, perseverance and determination — feeling like the sole flag-bearer of a post-modern feminist movement. Gauging by the looks exchanged, I’m sure they gave up all hope on me.
Next, I decimated the slightest aspiration of a counter-view in the most reluctant of the trio (remember the one sinking into the sofa) with this last commandment. “Thou shall from now on beware of leaving wet towels on beds and bathrooms wet....thou shall fear leaving the party after two pegs and soiled clothes on every peg...dare you never leave tea cups under every chair and snore so loud without a care.” I couldn’t stop loving myself for this sudden poetic outburst.
By the time I came out of this trance, the galleries were empty. Nevertheless, somewhere deep down I knew I had driven home a point under the pretext of New Year resolutions. Something I haven’t been able to voice the last 364 days. How far into the next year will it last is what only time can tell.
Happy New Year!
(The writer is an Assistant Professor of English at Varanasi and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)