It’s Ugadi/Gudi Padwa today – which marks the beginning of spring and is considered very auspicious and also treated as the beginning of a New Year. While Maharashtrians tie a gudi and eat a mixture of neem and a bit of jaggery to herald the new year, down south, people in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra celebrate it as Ugadi and distribute bevu-bella (neem and jaggery), a bittersweet symphony to signify the way life brings us both joys and sorrows.
Right now, we are in the middle of a nationwide 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of Coronavirus. None of us have been through anything like this before – it’s all very new and novel indeed. Different people are worried about different things – death, food, supplies, health, money, economy, sanity, aged parents, etc
I just finished watching ‘Contagion’, the 2011 Steven Soderbergh movie that sort of fast forwards the current virus situation. It’s bleak and shows mostly worst case scenarios like riots for food and medicines, burglaries, deaths worldwide, coverups by governments, pharmaceutical wars, media onslaught, false news, miracle cures that don’t work, rationed vaccines after it’s discovered and so on.
I hope and pray that we don’t ever get there – so let’s stay in and stay safe for ourselves and for each other.
Anyway, I always love any day that signifies a new start. And new start means new resolutions. Right? Some say that resolutions are useless and outdated. So let’s forget about setting objectives for the coming year.
Let’s try to simply reflect…
If you are in a lockdown, then this is the right time. Let’s take the time to sit quietly and evaluate our experiences throughout the year. It has nothing to do with our work accomplishments, our weight or our acquisitions.
It is more about who we are becoming, how our personalities are changing, and how we are reacting to situations. We are constantly developing new habits or letting go of old ones. If we don’t consciously keep track of those changes, we risk becoming people we do not want to be.
Our tight schedules and mounting responsibilities push us to live and react on autopilot most of the time. Repeating that kind of behavior over and over makes us experts at functioning mindlessly without clearly seeing what we’ve become, or how we’re affecting others around us. Taking time to reflect is necessary to be aware of the habits we have adopted throughout the passing year. Only then can we choose consciously the ones we want to perfect and the ones we need to reject.
It doesn’t have to be done at the end of a year, or at the beginning of a new one. But it helps to have a recurring date set for that reflection.
The point is to take a little time to think about our behaviour towards ourselves and towards others.
If reflecting on the past year’s experiences stirs up too much heartache, we can take the time to quietly count our many blessings, and look forward to those we will gratefully receive in the future. And yes it’s important to visualise that rosy future especially when it seems bleak behind all this corona haze.
We are all in this together and we will overcome!
A very happy Ugadi to you!