HAPPY NEW YEAR – LOOKING AT THE PAST WITH THE WISDOM AND CAPABILITIES OF TODAY

As Time moves on, there are instances when we would love to have frozen a past event or even a moment for posterity. On the other hand, we just let it go without (at that time) realising its true value. Lets say some sixth sense would tell us that a particular moment that we are uncomfortable about or even find detestable would bring us the greatest happiness in future, won’t we preserve it with more wistfulness than the attitude of get-it-over-with-ASAP that we often have?

Let me give you an example. We are sitting in the classroom. The teacher is going on and on whilst we look outside the window. Everything else outside appears more interesting. We want to complete our schooling as quickly as we can so as to get over the boring stuff and get on with some real stuff that makes life worth living. Now, if someone was to tell us that 90 percent of the people when asked about nostalgic moments of their lives mention school-time as the number one, won’t we have enjoyed those moments more?

Here is what a mother told her son who was making faces at her cooking: “Relish it, son. Years later you would be telling your wife how good it was in comparison to her cooking.”

When I was a young officer in the Navy, I remember having seen this movie called The Final Countdown. It was in the year 1980. The movie was directed by Don Taylor and starred Kirk Douglas as Captain Matthew Yelland, Commanding Officer of USS Nimitz, which had sailed from Pearl Harbour, in 1980, for a training sortie in the Pacific. The ship had a civilian observer on board: Warren Lasky, played by Martin Sheen. The ship passed through a strange storm-like vortex and suddenly went back in time to 6th Dec 1941, a day before the Pearl Harbour Attack by the Japanese Fleet. Even though the ship had gone back in time, it had all its armament, sensors and aircraft on board as in the present day (1980). Gradually, as the events unfolded, the ship and its crew realised that they had been transported back in time and that with the modern facilities available on board, just one ship, USS Nimitz, was enough to take on the entire Japanese Fleet that had wreaked havoc in Pearl Harbour on that fateful day. Captain Yelland had to decide whether to destroy the Japanese fleet and alter the course of history, or to stand by and allow history to proceed as normal. Nimitz launched a massive strike force against the incoming Japanese forces, but before it could reach the enemy armada, the time – storm returned. After a futile attempt to outrun the storm, Yelland recalled the strike force, and the ship and the aircraft returned to 1980 safely. History was unaltered.

(Poster courtesy: boredanddangerousblog.files.wordpress.com)

The movie was a fine example of how we can’t alter the past with the wisdom and capabilities of today. Every moment that we live has actually gone forever and there is no way one can alter it.

Many people have this fantasy about seeing their own funeral by traveling back in time even after death and seeing people cry and miss them and pour out their love that they never got the feel of when alive. Urdu poets have written volumes about consoling the love of their lives after death. Why just Urdu poets? Even the great Punjabi singer (greatest?) Asa Singh Mastana sang this ghazal about seeing mourners after his death: Jadon meri arthi utha ke chalange, mere yaar sab gunguna ke chalange (When they carry me in my funeral procession, all my friends would walk humming in sadness).

That’s why the New Year is so attractive; it, and every passing year, allows us to look at the past with the wisdom and capabilities of today. We rejoice in the nostalgia of our childhood and schooling, even forgetting those times when we wanted to fast-forward and get-it-over-with.

Even a person with average intelligence can make out that there is nothing really new in the new year. Each day is a new day caused by the rotation of the earth around its axis. This rotation, completed in 24 hours, makes the Sun appears on the horizon in the East and makes it set in the West, Who made the New Year? We made it. Who made Time? We made it; imagine your landing on some other planet or star that doesn’t rotate around its axis in 24 hours of the earth. What do you call this new Time? Does it have a relationship with Time on Earth? Just like Time varies around the earth (if it is New Year in Japan, it would be another six and half hours before it is New Year in India), now imagine it in the universe. Is it the same time of the day, or even day or year or century in, say, Venus?

Why should we worry about the universe? Ain’t we content about living on earth without having to worry about what happens elsewhere? The short answer is No, we ain’t. Just as Columbus sailed to discover India, we have ventured out to other celestial bodies to see if they are like us. When a mountain climber was asked, “Why did you climb this mountain?” his response made a lot of sense to me, at least: “Because, it is there.”

Imagine a scenario, say 500 years (Earth Years, that is) from now, when the following announcement is made on the Radio Station in Space: “We wish our listeners on Earth a Happy New 2518, on Mercury the continuation of unendable long winter, on Jupiter…….”

The scriptures are very fond of saying that God made Man in His own likeness. He gave the best to Man except, it appears, the ability to alter his past. But, hey, look again and you will know that even that is possible! Have I gone mad? Or madder than I normally am? Well, here goes:

The scriptures erred in one significant point and that is that we must live the present moment and not to live in the past (Please read: ‘Debatable Philosophies Of Life’). Actually, there is no present moment, you can’t live it. By the time you can even think of living it, it becomes past. Your past is, therefore, the most significant period of your life. However old the past is – one moment to several years – we always look at the past with the wisdom and capability of today or the next moment.

Hence, if your past is indeed the most significant period of your life, why not make it more beautiful, more memorable? You know you have to live with your memories more than with your hopes and aspirations (which too are indeed children of your past!). Dissipate all your energies and – hold your breath – time in making it beautiful and memorable. It is in your hands.

Once you make your past beautiful, it is attractive and welcome to recall it.

If you have done so, you would rue burning the effigy of the passing year. You would automatically say: Yes, 2018 would be very beautiful but 2017 was also beautiful; I didn’t want it to end.

And I am saying it despite my having lost my mother – the most precious part of my life – in 2017. She and I made exceedingly rich memories that would never die.

Lastly, ladies and gentlemen, if in the so called new year you are going to do nothing new, isn’t it wasted exactly in the same manner as the past year? Hence, just think of at least one thing new that you would do in the new year that you hadn’t ever done before. Good luck.

Think………………..that’s the biggest gift that God has given us. The second biggest being that He made every moment new and not just the new year.

© 2017, Sunbyanyname. All rights reserved.

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17 Comments

  1. Well Ravi, both past & future are exciting. Life is like a book and years are like pages/ chapters. I read one chapter but look forward to rrad the next, it doesn’t mean I did not enjoy the last one. Just a mile stone. The most important is to look inwards and find one self. As Buleshah said ‘ Kadi apne aap nu pardhya nahi”
    Have a great year ahead.

  2. Awesomely written! Our past is indeed a matter of paramount importance. Past mistakes, past experiences, past memories. There’s so much to learn from the past.

    A happy, healthy, wealthy, bright & prosperous new year to you & your loved ones 💐

  3. Excellent, Ravi. Great read and commendable wisdom in your piece. Loved it!
    All the best and more power to your pen —
    or keyboard!)
    Warm regards,
    VAdm Pradeep (Billoo) Chauhan

  4. Your posts Always make me cry. They touch the Soul, because You write in Honesty, Truth , from Your Wonderful Heart and Soul. God Bless You ETERNALLY.

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