At this time of the year, most newspapers and television channels are busy reviewing things. The top ten sportsmen of the year, the ten most corrupt politicians this year, the top twenty film actors of twenty-ten and so on. And, in a few days, we will be making new year resolutions. I won't smoke this year, I won't let my wife drink this year, I will exercise more this year, I will fight less with my boss this year. Then, on new year's eve, we will party, mostly, sitting on our butts, smoking and drinking, and getting into drunken brawls with everyone including our bosses. Then, in the first week of January, the top ten lists will be gone, the resolutions will be over, and I will get back to reading Hagar the Horrible on page six, admiring the wonderful life the Vikings had. Including their drunken brawls.
Our life is so dependent on the solar cycle. We go around the sun in three hundred and sixty five days, give or take some small change. We have absolutely no control over the amount of time we go around papa Sol. But, we do have control over when we will start our year, when we will party and how we will divide up the year. So, although most of the world starts its new year in January, the Chinese dance with their dragons in their own new year, the Punjabis do their Bhangra on Baisakhi, and the Bengalis do their smoking and drinking on Poila Boisakh.
The first of the year is easy. Just take those three hundred and sixty five days, and start counting from a particular day. That becomes your new year. Of course, it is so much more fun, if the primary agricultural produce of your civilization just gets harvested, and, you can ferment it to make strong alcohol (extremely important). I often wonder why the Gregorian calendar starts in January. Most of Europe is frozen solid at this time of the year, and if you go a little northwards, you get to eat seal blubber and drink last year's beer. Why in the world would you like to start the new year so depressed? And since European civilization became the civilization of the world, we ended up celebrating the new year at this dreary and gloomy time of the year as well.
And then, there is this thing about the months of the year. A few Roman gods here, a few goddesses there and a couple of bald Italian guys. Yeah, the same kind that you see on TV trying to show you how much goat cheese to add on a pizza from Tuscany. Honestly, would you be comfortable with two months of the year being named after two greasy Italian guys called Tony and Guido? Then how come you don't protest July and August, named after the father and son duo of Julius and Augustus? Ceaser, that is just too much.
I like Baisakh. The spring is in the air. The birds are chirping. Trees have new leaves. The mango season is only a couple of months away. And, palm toddy tastes really nice at that time of the year.
I don't know about you, but this year, I am celebrating new year in April. In the month of Baisakh. And between then and now, I am going to start a signature campaign to rename the months of July and August after the new rulers of the world, Beer and Vodka. Can you imagine how wonderful it will be?
January, February, March, April, May, June, Beer, Vodka, September, October, November, and, oh, what the hell, Scotch.
Are you with me on that?