New year vs নববর্ষ

The city gathered throughout the day around the city’s tourist hotspots and flanked Park Street like some anonymous army ready to take over the fallen castle of 2016.

31st December, a day when people celebrate the end of a year or rather celebrate the beginning of another or maybe bit of both.

End of a year, sounds a bit apocalyptic, right? but I never thought time to be real, it is a construct built by us by taking the earth’s rotation and revolution into consideration. We have trained ourselves to live by that construct and perhaps be enslaved by it, but this issue is totally different and might take another post to be discussed to its fullest.

What matters is the celebration of the New year. A true bong has the unique privilege of celebrating ‘new year’ twice during a year.

One obviously being the new year as we know it, which follows the roman calendar another being the ‘Poila Boishak’ (পয়লা বৈশাখ) which follows the lunar calendar.

As an overgrowing cosmopolitan community, Bengalis take great enthusiasm in counting down the last seconds of 31st December and scream “Happy new year” as soon as the clock strikes midnight.

But the grand celebration of every bong lies in the shopping for ‘Poila Boishak’. The excitement in ‘Poila Boishak’ mela or fairs that are part of our culture and obviously the ‘Poila Boishak’ special bong cuisine.

Beneath all the western pomp and show there lies a little bit tradition that is very important for the survival of any community. But as the city plunges into celebration and gets ready to scream ‘happy new year’ by inflating their lungs and saving a lot more for ‘Poila Boishak’, I would ask all of you, what has this year given to you?

Recently there have been posts in the social media highlighting the death of many celebrities, The horrific air crash of a football team, The great Demonetization and other jolts that shook us during this year. But did 2016 only gave us negatives?

For many it brought hope, experience and knowledge, for many it brought bitterness, sorrow and misery and for most of us it brought bit of both.

Year in year out, we have endured misery and sorrow and fought it with hope and optimism, this is how our construct of time works.

But what I hope for the next year is that people should find their individuality. No offence, but there is no shame in admitting that people follow the ‘Monkey see, monkey do’ perspective of life. We tend to do things that majority of the crowd does, just because we want to blend in the crowd. We may have our own doubts about our actions but our desire to be a part of the crowd suppresses it all. Many people who are flooding the streets today would agree to this. They could spend time with their loved ones or ailing parents, but they chose to be a part of the trending. There’s nothing wrong with that, but somewhere round the corner we compromise our individuality, not just this instance we have done it for ages, be it using dog faces in snapchat to resorting to total hypocrisy to be part of a group.

As for marking a successful 2017, I wish all the best to everyone out there, we have survived a lot in the years before and we can survive more, for life has always been a story of survival. That should wrap it up for today, as I too have celebrations to attend, lungs to scream and a wait for ‘Poila Boishak’ accompanied by Nalen Gur er sandesh and lots of traditional delicacies to eat.

The cycle of bengali festivities has started again.


[The Bong Cacophony wishes it’s readers a very happy and prosperous new year.

We would want to know what are your expectations from the new year… You may leave them in the comments, or organize them and mail us or message us on our Facebook page and the best entries will be featured by us.]

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