The most anticipated night of the year the world over is here.
New Year’s Eve, although not all that looked forward to in our society, is at least observed as the last day of the year, the day before ushering in the new one, according to the Gregorian calendar.
In the urban towns and centres, it is mostly marked by celebration of friends than with families, gathering around a public venue, usually in discotheques and bars, to count down the closing seconds of the old year.
A common tradition in discotheques and bars, so far, has been of people celebrating the event by exchanging hugs, between friends, even with strangers, or the guy or the girl beside, raising glasses in salutation, and wishing happy New Year.
Some, who do not wish to spend much money but just want to hang out with friends, plan potluck dinners, providing just the ambiance to relax and enjoy each other’s company and celebrate friendships.
Some people have small gatherings at home, some like to keep it within the family, sipping hot beverages and food, and a few snuggle inside the quilt watching live programs on television, secure from the freezing temperatures outside.
But the hours around the start of a New Year can also be one of a spurt in crime.
It offers no solace that the New Year’s Eve and day is not a public holiday here, as it is in most other countries, or that it falls on a weekday, that it does not give revellers a complete day of recovery after a whole night of partying.
City police and health officials at the emergency ward of the Thimphu referral hospital are taking no chances, and are bracing for what they fear would most likely be the busiest time of the year.
Alcohol-fuelled deaths and injuries are typical of any New Year’s Eve, and the coming celebration, it is feared, will be no different than any weekend of previous New Year celebrations.
Just as much as the police loath spending hours outside on the road, in the unforgiving chill, just to ensure avoidable maladies can be reduced, particularly among people for whom drinking is a major part of a celebration.
Some worse injuries, they say, and medics at the emergency ward agree, are typically associated with drunken driving.
So, on the eve, it is best that we part from the thought that the day, which comes but once in a year, should be marked with excesses, in this case, drinking.
We have this queer tendency to believe that everything we have achieved or, even if not, for an entire year should be represented by the social gusto of one night.
Similarly, we believe, wherever it came from, that New Year’s Eve is a magical night, and anything less is a failure, which indeed it would be, if it is to welcome the New Year with a bad hangover.