As the year gently draws to a close, I have the privilege to recount my last experience at Cacra for the year, that both fills and heals my heart.
I’d planned for a symbolic purge to make space for hope in the new year and perhaps, the creation of a personal new year tradition amidst a range of absurd and curative traditions around the world.
In Goa, we make effigies of an ailing old man representing the dying year, which is set afire at the stroke of twelve so that one can begin the year in earnest- afresh, to give ourselves a fresh shot at existence. We sat in our cozy group of ten and spoke about new year traditions, why people came up with them and what they mean. Kareena said -‘to get rid of traas…troubles.‘
We brought out a large atlas and looked for countries and spoke about their new year traditions.
We banged on pots and pans at Australia, stuffed twelve grapes in our mouth at Spain and jumped over seven imaginary waves while at Brazil.
We then settled down to reflect upon what we wanted to get rid of in 2016. Contorted writing positions and lots of ‘what’s the spelling of’s later, we were by the nullah burning our old man.
We held hands and watched as fights with friends disappeared, we watched as bad feelings towards boys who teased us were gone, we watched as memories of not being allowed to play with classmates went away.
We stomped on his dying embers for good measure and set back towards the library.
We decided that we’d make our flower shaped offerings to Lemanja-the Brazilian sea goddess. We wrote about what we want from the new year- ‘friends’, ‘a new life’, ‘family’ and ofcourse ‘chocolates’.
By the sea, we stood ankle deep in water and set our flowers adrift.
The sea has us now. We’re going to be just fine.