Among my many regrets, as those who read my column regularly should know by now that i have many, is the fact that i never went to a New Year’s Party in my late teens and early twenties, a time in one’s life when these things can really change your life.
There were reasons for that. First of all, growing up Bengali middle class, the English New Year (December 31st) was considered, by and large, to be a fraud event, the celebration of which was the exclusive preserve of the “executive class”, that is those who worked in the upper echelons of private companies, were given company sponsored Ambassadors (with drivers) and membership to Calcutta club as perks of the job. Yes. Those people, with no “kaalchar”.
Real Bengalis did Bengali New Year (Noboborsho) which is in April. Now i would have had no problem with that, if it had anything close to a party, but the only partying Bengalis did in those days was the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The Bengali New Year was celebrated in the afternoon over a lunch of fish, with no alcohol or dancing or fast music, but with the haunting rhythms of snoring on a full post-meal stomach. There was a Noboborsho cultural program organised every year and telecast on Doordarshan, a few hours of poetry and song and high culture chit-chat by the reigning stars of the Bengali intellectual firmament, which i honestly struggled to appreciate, because otherwise i would lose the licence to be called Bengali.
But December 31st, that was where the action was at. So while my lucky “executive class” friends went to Calcutta club or Bengal club or were part of a circle of friends who were allowed to have parties, with minimal if any adult supervision, i sat at home with my parents. And it was not as if there was nothing to do. Doordarshan had a midnight programme of song and dance and terrible comedy, hosted by B-team TV celebrities (i guess the real celebrities had happening parties to go to). Around midnight, the pièce de résistance of the evening would be brought out, a fruit cake from Farinni’s, and my father would cut it, and that would be the New Year’s party, and all that would be left in the morning would be crumbs of fruit cake and of “what could have been.”
Happy New Year everyone.
DISCLAIMER : This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.
via TOI Blog
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