The weather girl looked dressed for snow inside her newsroom in Delhi. The weather app showed a few digits over zero, only. Out the window was a dull, grey and almost gloomy evening as the car windscreen stood patiently still under all the dew. And the trees shook not a leaf, blanketed by all the mist.
Just another wintry 6 pm it seemed, the evening of 31st December, 2013.
The eve of the new and the culmination of the old. The threshold to staring at a different calendar the next day and not just turning the page on an older month. The last night of 364 nights gone by – some short and warm, some really long. But by gone, all. The old was going to make way for the new. Readiness was all.
And what is it that I and my family were getting ready to do this evening?
Not a banquet of choices to pick from, but certainly a platter full of invitations lay on the console. All opened but none picked. Was it just the cold keeping us from dressing up in hot clothes and exiting the house? Or was it because our wallets had been emptied in the last holiday? Perhaps, it was simply the fact that all the invites with drunk wine glasses and swaying trumpets sprinkled with hearts also carried a message in bold red – Children not allowed.
We exchanged smiles. Once upon a time, we would pick the best place to go shake a leg. Call friends too, have a fun eve of eating, drinking and merry making. Time it all such that we were sure to be on the dance floor as the clock struck 12 am. And certainly by each other’s side when it did. Today, the invitations remained the same, but the ‘No Children’ painted inside a neon star glared at us like a schoolmarm with a birch rod. A warning. An exclusion. And a way to spend the last night of the year feeling every bit a couple but the least bit of parents, at least to us.
Age, stage or something in between convinced us to make air planes out of all the invites, for our son to fly. To those grandparents kid-pooling their night away baby-sitting the partying couples’ issues we sent a polite thank you. To friends who thought of the 31st of December as drinking-to-the-lees night, we sent in a "maybe some other time". To extended family far and wide, we messaged greetings for the new year in advance and promised to call once the jammed telephone lines were freer in their minds.
And at the stroke of midnight, all parts of ‘Madagascar’ had been watched with utmost glee, the necessary number of ‘Cheers!’ (plus one for good luck) had been said and swallowed neatly, and my mother’s home-cooked food sat in our tummies, happy to have been consumed with so much relish. In warm blankets in the lamp’s yellow light, the first tight hug of the year was shared between us three. Such a beautiful feeling until …
‘Happy *Burp* Year, mumma papa’, said he.
Silence. And then we laughed. And laughed and laughed as if that was the most rib-tickling wish we had ever heard. Because it was.
This was no simple coincidental burp making its presence felt. It was the one which came from the bottom of his tummy to make the bottom of our hearts happy. Big long burp, as if making place for what is to come in the new year ahead, at the same time announcing how happily satiated it was with what he had had in the old.
The night before the new year walks in is always so special. The excitement, the planning, the anticipation and then the countdown. It is because we make sure we are where we want to be on this special eve. I did and I am sure you did too. Felt love and togetherness, family and friendship, joy and something to look forward to. Praying for nothing more than good health and happiness, as a family and for our families. And nothing less than big burps of satisfaction from the little tummies too.
Happy 2014 to my readers.
[This post is written for the Wordpress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was "Stroke of Midnight - Where were you last night when 2013 turned into 2014? Is that where you wanted to be?”]