That li'l bit extra

That li'l bit extra

As the old year dragged its tired limbs towards the end of its journey, I started wondering what new year wishes would enthral everyone in my family. I wanted my greetings and good wishes to be a little different this year. Wasn't it true that every time a geriatric December surrendered before the irresistible charm of a daisy fresh, newborn January, wishing everyone a routine "happy, healthy and prosperous new year" had become old hat?

Even in the peaceful era that I have lived through, the old order did change yielding place to new. But it did so at a gentle speed. Nowadays, the old order is always in a mad rush to change. It behaves like a corrupt government official keen to hand over charge hurriedly without giving the new incumbent adequate time to detect all irregularities committed by him.

Naturally, the definitions of happy and healthy have also changed rapidly, though prosperity seems to be chugging along mindlessly on its one-way journey. I felt that the words happy, healthy and prosperous used repetitively for so many decades for the desired course of the new year sounded hollow now. The changed meanings of these words had dawned on me rather unexpectedly.

Only recently I had warmly congratulated a young couple on getting married, but somebody whispered in my ears that they had, in fact, been quite happy with living in together. Deep inside their hearts, they hated the idea of marriage. The irksome liability had been forced upon them by circumstances.

Someone else had, similarly, resented being congratulated on finally getting possession of a flat booked five years back at twice the current market price. Obviously, their presumed happiness was a mirage.

In another incident, while going out for my morning walk I had come across a youngster approaching our society gate at dawn. I had congratulated him on his healthy habit of rising early. He hissed back that he hated the idea and was, in fact, returning home from work.

So, I thought it would be better to sound my near and dear ones, all apparently happy, healthy and prosperous, on what little bit extra gave them great happiness in life.

My wife said that she really appreciated that extra few green chillies and coriander leaves the greengrocer down the lane gave her free along with the vegetables she paid for. My middle-aged, golf addict son confessed that often he was thrilled to find a plastic tee lying in the grass left behind by the foursome ahead of him. My grandson said that finding an unclaimed pencil or eraser in the school bus was a great pleasure.

So, on new year eve, I gave them small giftpacks containing their most precious li'l bit extras and wished them a repetition of the finds every day in the new year. Unfortunately, it seems they prefer the old-fashioned health, wealth and happiness in the rest of the year.