New Years – Intimate Fires and Being Alone

by Yaska Sahara

This short New year themed post is not to talk about resolutions but to reminisce and think about ways of celebration. I love a chilled out New Year celebration. I have disliked or been indifferent to all new years parties I’ve been to. Not necessarily because of the people but just the whole thing; noise, people you don’t know and fake excitements etc. I don’t usually enjoy big parties and the best new years in my memory have been alone or intimate.

I love being alone in general, in travel, home relaxing… anything and everything. So the New years I spent alone were great. When we came into 2017, I was sitting in our 8th floor apartment, alone on a sofa, next to the balcony. At the time I lived in Ahmedabad. Everyone else in the family was too tired to function, so they slept. I like to stay up even if it isn’t really monumental. I mostly just sat with some music, some TV shows and also in silence with my thoughts as I waited for midnight. But when midnight rolled around, I stood on the balcony and watched…

Our building was the highest in the area, the surrounding ones tended to be around four or five floors. So I could see rooftop parties and fireworks clearly. I think I was extra lucky that our balcony faced the more central, lively parts of the city. Due to delays in noticing or slightly different clocks, I heard cheers beginning at ever so slightly different times, which I laughed to myself about. And fireworks, I saw so many fireworks. And in India, it isn’t just a few measly garden fireworks and then a few big organised displays. No, it is anyone and everyone setting off massive fireworks extremely close to others, on the road and on their rooftops. Like it or not, it is indeed a spectacle. It was lively and serene at the same time. I got to witness it all from the comfort of my home and I got to be a part of the parties without the social interaction. I got the lonely bliss and liveliness at the same time. It was great.

I even woke up naturally the next morning to see the dead of the morning at around the time of sunrise (I had fallen asleep on the sofa so the light woke me up). I then went to sleep in my bed with that beautiful memory and as I recall slept much of the first day of the new year! A restful start.

Stepping into 2018, I was alone, in Spain, in a small bedroom of a Spanish host’s flat. I was the only one there. I’d bought a pizza and some wine and chilled on my own, watching Netflix’s Las Chicas del Cable. I came into the new year relaxed and practising Spanish. Not much to speak of but it was calm and allowed me to be with my thoughts. Again, great.

The most recent New Year, I’d come back to Ahmedabad for the first time in a year and half and decided to make the most of the rooftop flat we have here. We’d used it once way back on December 31st 2015. We had a small, quiet fire before leaving for the airport an hour or two into 2016. I’m honestly not sure what I loved so much about that year but I think it was mainly the warmth and the calm of it all. Also, I love fire in general, I often get people to come with me and light them whenever I can.

So on 2018’s last evening, I was with my brother, my friend Kareena (who has an awesome Instagram art-themed profile by the way) and family who let the three of us be. We had homemade apple crumble (made by yours truly), nachos with homemade salsa and a bunch of other snacks. We played some music, chatted, chilled out, ate and just messed around really, making boomerangs of the fire, taking funny pictures and videos of each other. Then, as we were coming into this year, around midnight, we watched the city celebrate, we saw the fireworks from the comfort of our rooftop perch, warmed by the fire. We even found a measly lone firework we set off from the roof ourselves. It was underwhelming as a firework but a funny moment as a whole. It’s these little things that make experiences like this special.

So I’m describing these moments to try and persuade to try something different, light a new years fire, a new years baking session, a new years TV show marathon. I’m not saying a chilled new years is not a concept enough, I am aware many people do as much without reading my blog and that some people do not even notice and spend the night like any other. I do think though, that people either go to parties and make a big deal or do absolutely nothing with their new year. I think people tend to see it as unimportant or too important. Personally, I think it is nice to reflect on and commemorate the year, but in a relaxed manner. I think such a balance is what has made my last new years the happiest ones. One’s before that in my memory were lively but uneventful so I was a little sad later because I’d felt the liveliness but it had not been fulfilling.

However you celebrated or live the next year, I hope 2019 is a good year for you! I certainly have plans to make it a good one.

Putting this post in ‘Culture’ may be slightly stretching it but its my blog 😉 Oh, and I will be publishing a longer post all about Ahmedabad next week so look out for it on Instagram and Facebook!

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