Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year Resolutions

Today my students asked me if I had made any new year resolutions.
I said I never made any. "I never make anything to unmake it."
"Don't you think Ma'am you are a bit old fashioned?" Sumit remarked tentatively.
"What has fashion to do with resolutions, Sumit?" I retorted, a bit shocked.
"It's the in thing Ma'am. Everyone makes it, specially our school teachers. Our English teacher has in fact even given us a holiday assignment of listing our resolutions and how we plan to execute it. "
"Fine," I say, "Let's talk more on it, since you all are so keen on this topic."

Having said so I began to think was I really orthodox , or backward never to make any new year resolutions? Was I not trendy or 'cool' ? I then threw a veiled glance at the class and found them busy sharing each other's NYR [the acronym for New Year Resolutions ]. So I continued my self-introspection. Actually, I said to myself, I was not only trendy or 'cool' but also honest. I had the guts to call a spade a spade. The guts to say that it is just mere fashion to make NYR. I am sure all those who make them are a bunch of blasting liars. Resolutions, as the word suggests, literally means purposeful determination- the willpower and tenacity to stick onto something. Now, making a NYR at the beginning of the year and adhering to it throughout the whole span of the year, is not only ridiculous but also cumbersome and unpractical, according to me . It gives you a foolish rigidity and takes away the elasticity.

It is like I promise myself in the morning ,"I will not lie today," which means I cannot go to bed in the afternoon!!
How can one promise himself something and cling to it till the 365th day, without getting irked, frustrated or desperate?
The class, by now had assimilated some opinions and wanted me to join in.

"Why is a NYR not worth encouraging according to you , ma'am?" Raima chipped. "Should'nt we try to continuously better ourselves? Why do you cross us in this exigent? Did'nt you yourself suggest spontaneous improvement ? What is wrong if a person self-acknowledges his lacunae and swears to improve himself ? Don't you think ma'am you are trying to shirk away from commitment and responsibility?''

I was indeed flabbergasted by these volley of questions.
Gathering my wits I bravely quipped, "See Raima, you have yourself answered your questions. Bettering oneself is a continuous process which requires performance, not words. Spontaneous improvement is possible only when we focus on our present problems and act on them. It requires a tacit action not a proclaimed announcement. It needs dedication and involvement of the SELF, not public endorsement."
Way back in the early 90's , I had once taken a resolution to reduce my weight from 56 kgs to 50 kgs. Consequently the first month of January was spent in setting the Thames on fire and burning the candle on both ends so that my ends looked slimmer. By the end of February I actually secured my target but by November I embraced my earlier weight attaching a few more bonus kgs to it!

This experience taught me two lessons. First : Resolutions taken are rigorously and ritualistically followed in the first month. As the year progresses, they are dusted below the carpet. They become passe. Second : Therefore make simple resolutions, like say ," I'll do exercise once in three months!"
I have heard that the Americans make the most New Year Resolutions the top five being :1. I will lose weight.
2. I will show more fidelity towards my partner .
3. I will be good to my neighbours.
4. I will be more organised in my workplace.
5. I will abstain from having random sex.
I will comment only on the first one. America is one of those nations which is plagued with obesity which seems to be a national crisis!!
Nevertheless, it is never the worse to begin the year with virtuous thoughts, positive approach, benign faith and good hope.
But I did hear to my utter horror, that next year, my students had indeed planned to submit their winter holiday assignments writing about how unhealthy it was, to begin the year with lies, lies and more lies!!!