12.31 new years

tamils know how to celebrate! there is a nightly carnival / fair set up near the beach road since christmas, which i'm told and won't close down until january 14th, the day that the tamils celebrate their new year.

for me, new year's is today and my wish is to bring in the new year peacefully. after a scrumptious dinner at the guest house (they make thaali especially for me!), i check out the bands playing along the beach. i cannot understand anything they are doing but it is a pretty funny spectacle: a bunch of guys up on the stage singing in a very animated way to the crowd. i suddenly wish that i could understand what they were saying. after the show, i head to the beach to hang with a bunch of really cool guys from kashmir. the beach is gorgeous and there are so many people out, some hanging with thier families, others causing a drunken ruckus, and others still, chilling and looking out to the sea with friends.

we talk about everything - one of those types of conversations - just loose and go with the flow... at some point i luckily ask them the time. it's 10:20 pm. i'm in a panic - gotta be back at the ashram in 10 minutes!! i "happy new year" the kashmir crew and run down the street (quite a spectacle for the pondi crowd - more on this later). a zippy autorickshaw driver gets me back just as the guard is closing the front gates...

i spend midnight sitting on my candle-lit balcony and taking in the sounds of fireworks, the pondi locals and the waves crashing on the beach. my first "new years midnight" ever that i spend alone... but i accomplish my goal of a peaceful new years. there is something very special about this new years. something calm, unreheased, unhurried and above all, healthy. i feel very blessed to be here, grateful to see what i am seeing and to have all the things i have, that so many people, in their quest for more more more, seem to take for granted. i am happy to have my health, my crazy family (i mean this in the best possible way), my brain and my friends. it's a good feeling to bring in the new year utterly humbled and happy. i like it.

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