By Zubeida Mustafa
Here we enter a new year and I wish all my readers a 2013 that is peaceful, happy, healthy and prosperous. I am a bit late but I know my friends will forgive me for being forgetful. Here are greetings for Christmas. I cherish the message of love and amity this occasion always brings for mankind.
How should one greet the new year? Hope? It may bring new tidings and prove to be a turning point in one’s life. Fear? All the dreadful events taking place in our lives can be scary. A step further, many look forward to predictions – especially of the soothsayers’ variety. But I am not an avid champion of horoscopes. They mean nothing riddled as they are with ifs and buts that nullify what is stated. Read this prediction, for example.
“The Chinese horoscope shows us that this 2013 year of the black Snake is going to be an exciting year for many. There will of course be both ups and downs, and for some the ups will be quite high and the downs will be quite low. For everyone, there will be good and bad and highlights and lowlights.”
There is also the tradition of marking the advent of the new year by making resolutions — generally of the sublime kind. One common feature they all have is that they are invariably never fulfilled. So why waste one’s time on an exercise that always remains futile and is frustrating given the high failure rate.
So what should one do when January 1 comes along? There is also the need to ring out the old year? What I have found most satisfying is surveying the outgoing year retrospectively. If you do that and are positive. you will note that many good things do happen to people that entitle them to pat themselves on the back for these achievements that are milestones in their lives.
Take Shazaf Fatima Haider, whose book How It Happened will be hitting the shelves this week. She can already count this as her 2013 achievement. Her yearly achievements since 2010 might not be mundane for many. For Shazaf they were satisfying steps towards a goal.
This is how her timeline reads:
2010: 200 hours of meditation, 200 hours of reading self-help books on how to succeed and two literature festivals attended and 96 hours of “staring starry eyed at the mythic beings called ‘writers’ who had dared to submit their works and had managed to get published”.
2011: Submitted her own manuscript and got a wonderful editor and agent in New York while she made her fingers ache as she kept them crossed in suspense.
2012: The acceptance slip received from Penguin India.
Shazaf says, “The leap of faith was only possible because of all the optimism I worked hard to cultivate within myself.”
These are certainly great achievements compared to what have delighted friends, such as:
- Learnt how to handle the computer and send an e-mail;
- Been exercising for 20 minutes daily for several months;
- Passed a much feared exam;
- Secured admission in a coveted institution;
- Lost 2 kgs of weight.
The masterpiece was from a former colleague who wrote, “Happy New Year. In spite of all that, there is so much to be happy about. Think of Libya and Syria and thank God.”