Every new year also reminds me of the revelers that I had seen on the night of 31st December 1991, for it had made a lasting impression on me. The Gateway of India is one of the popular places in Mumbai to visit on the eve of the new year. I and some of my friends had made a point to witness the spectacular fireworks and celebrations there.

When we reached there, it was late night already. The Gateway of India monument and the whole area around was well lit. The streets were choc a block with revelers. We found a vantage position for ourselves so that we could have a good look at everything around us.

Our attention was drawn to a street where there was sort of a commotion. The revelers were looking up at a multi-storeyed building on the street. Up there in the building, maybe on the 4th or 5th floor, a window was open. The family of that house was fondly dropping some goodies like party hats, from that window, for the unnamed guests who had assembled there for celebrations.  As they dropped a goodie, the crowd roared and one of them ended up grabbing it.

This went on till, I guess, they exhausted the goodies that they had for the distribution. The family was now simply enjoying the view. The crowd somehow was not yet satisfied. Some of them were still hoping to grab a thing or two. They were cheering and shouting and still looking at the open window. One of the crowd members lost his patience and threw a chappal at the open window. Some people liked this idea and they also started hurling chappals at that open window. The family got startled at this change in the mood of their guests. We eventually saw them closing their window when they could not bear the rage.

I was shocked by the incident. Here there is a family who attempts to share their joyous moments with others by actually spending money and buying gifts for them. And what they get in return is chappals! I was puzzled when one of my friends said that this was the scene every year. Why this family wouldn’t stop this ritual after knowing that the crowd was so ungrateful!

The dots connected for me later sometime when I was reminded of the legend of a sage who repeatedly tried to save a scorpion from drowning in the water, despite that the scorpion stung him in his hands whenever he tried to rescue it. His belief was that it was the dharma of a scorpion to sting, But it was his dharma to save a life.

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