New year, new me…or is it?
By the Masala Team
Hindsight is 20/20 – or rather, it’s 2020, a year that we’re all too happy to have in our rear-view mirrors. After everything we’ve been through, we’re smarter, stronger (albeit chubbier), and more resilient, and ready to face 2021 with new resolutions.
But resolutions should really be called revolutions, because the same ones always come around again and again. Whether it’s 2021 or 2031, here are a few that we’ll inevitably make, and just as inevitably leave by the wayside when the siren call of a midnight jalebi is just too sweet to bear.
To Become More Eco-Friendly
Fuelled by thoughts of a turtle choking on one of your Aunty Baby’s ubiquitous thoongs that you’ve seen her stuffing into a drawer dedicated to just plastic bags, you’ve decided you’re going to embrace a life of environmental consciousness. First on the agenda is cutting out plastics. Regrettably, you just remembered that you’re set to host an outdoor kitty party on the weekend and couldn’t possibly ask the maids to wash 30 different sets of dishes (and trust your guests not to break them), so you decide to briefly forgo your newfound environmentalism and invest in plastic cutlery. Besides, there’s all that water waste to think about. While the party was a success, you bin the Styrofoam plates with a tear of regret in your eye and reassure yourself that all your leftover rajma will find a home in the raggedy Tupperware boxes you’ve been re-using for the past five years. And with that in mind, you wipe away your tears, comfortable in the knowledge that you’ve done your bit.
To Cultivate a New Business Idea or Skill
Thanks to the global pandemic, you’ve had time to delve into your deepest thoughts and tap into your creative mind – if 2020’s lockdown’s been good for one thing, it’s the sheer number of people who’ve become homegrown entrepreneurs, transforming their baking prowess or love for homemade soaps into tangible businesses.
But for those who have great ideas and are even greater at putting them on the backburner, this one’s for you. Whatever the skill, whether it’s mandala art, yogic breathing, swimming or Zumba, chances are that after the “New Year, New Me” buzz dies down (around class number three), you’ve already sent a WhatsApp to confirm…that you will no longer be there. When it comes to learning a new language, not long after starting your audio tapes, the sweet, sweet tunes of society gossip will take over instead and the hopes of learning anything will be plagued by the need to keep up with the constant community buzz. After all, the New Year doesn’t just come with opportunities – it also comes with 12 months’ worth of new gossip to sway your time.To Make a Love Match
After crying one too many times over Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), you’re bullish about your chances of finding love this year – after all, 2021 is the year of the ox. You’ve decided to attend as many society functions as you can in your best lehenga or kurta and show off dance moves that will shine during any future sangeet, and you’ve reinstalled that one dating app that you told your nani was for the weather. But after a series of disappointing dates where no one lives up to Shah Rukh Khan’s Aman, you find yourself wondering how to get hold of Sima Taparia’s Mumbai number. Soon, the walk to the mandap in your mind’s eye is replaced with the walk to the nearest 7-ELEVEN for some comfort kanom jeeb and by April, you’ve given up on romance altogether and decided to just focus on self-love this year. To Drink Less
The last year was hard, so who could blame you if you overindulged once or thrice a month…or week? But in deference to your liver, you’ve decided to embrace the Mocktail Movement (page 12) and trade the booze dens for a juice cleanse and the Smirnoff for smoothies. You proudly show off your newly-svelte figure and clearer skin until someone invites you for brunch and you decide a mimosa practically counts as a fruit juice. Soon, you’re telling yourself that a bottle of red is good for heart health and before you know it, you’ve plunged back into that well (or cheap bucket). Besides, Havana Social has expanded and it’d be rude not to check it out, and wedding season is coming up and the bartenders at FlairMix, that you now consider friends, would be so offended if you refused the booze…
To Lose Weight
At first you’re extremely excited because you’ve figured out that a combination of home workouts, keto meal plans, and going to bootcamp with your friend Priya will have you looking like Tiger Shroff or Deepika Padukone in no time. But things quickly begin to pall halfway into January, when you realise you’re Indian and no matter how far you run (both literally and metaphorically), you’ll always be surrounded by alcohol, aunties who love to feed you, and a Didi who never fails to let you know that home is stocked with gulab jamun, kulfi and leftover festive season mithai that you’ll undoubtedly always pick over a simple bowl of fruits. You’ll go on and on to your friends about how they’ll catch you at the gym, even buying cute workout gear to fuel your newfound excitement and posting the occasional ‘I’m at the gym’ selfie, but in reality you’ll use the well-worn excuses, ‘I have so much work to do after the New Year!’ and ‘I’m only gaining weight because people keep inviting me out!’, and once again this infamous new year’s resolution will be pushed to the following year in a similar fashion to your growing waistline.
To Make Your Parents Proud
We all crave those four magical words: “we’re proud of you.” Every year, we’re reborn with energy to surpass our siblings to become The Beti/Beta of the Year. One that our parents will brag about at the annual family share lunch. Whether it’s attending Yale, getting a Dr. in front of your name, or finally finding a soulmate that will give them grandkids with John Abraham’s chiselled looks and Ranveer Singh’s charisma, these plans always start off with a fire that’s comparable to Hrithik Roshan in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) when he delivers the monologue: “if you want to achieve something, listen to your heart, and if your heart doesn’t answer you, close your eyes and think of your parents and then you’ll cross all the hurdles.” But who are we kidding, by day 14 (or so) that fire has probably been extinguished, and you’re once again in Koh Samui with your friends justifying any inaction with the belief that next year means you’ll be older and wiser, so it’s probably best to start then. Acceptance takes time and your parents’ cup of chai and your chai latte might not be the same, but the good news is they’re somewhat convincing when they tell you no matter what you do, they’ll love you anyway.
To Become More Mindful
Here comes the digital detox vow, the one where we go in with an Ayurvedic acumen, looking for a mind cleanse from the gossiping aunties, the looming societal pressure to take a million selfies (no fewer!) no matter where you are, and that noxious impulse to stalk your ex (who is now probably dating your cousin) online. It starts with a bye-bye to Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat and a big namaste to a 10-day Vipassana retreat in the North of Thailand, and hello to Surya Namaskar every morning followed by some refreshing green tea; after all, our bodies are a temple! But what was that Ayurvedic remedy again? You Google it and oops, one hour later you’re staring at wedding photos on your successful, sanskari cousin’s Facebook page, back in that digital black hole, spammed with dadaji’s ‘Santa Banta’ jokes on the family WhatsApp chat. Before you know it, the herbal teas, haldi doodh and TED Talks have gone out the window, replaced by a smartphone and apps for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all served with a side of gossip you’re probably better without. To Become More Organised
It’s that time of year again where we’re lying to ourselves about finally clearing out the junk in our homes. From the Ferrero Rocher gift hampers and Lindt chocolate boxes piled up to our eyeballs, doubling as both the afternoon snack we shouldn’t indulge in and a way of disguising how messy our kitchens are, to the multitude of photo albums and unplayable cassette tapes tucked inside cupboards, filed in no particular order. There’s the crockery, from porcelain and Corelle glass to bone china and crystal that’s only good for gathering dust, and don’t even get us started on the shoe closets that never seem to end. We Indians belong on the TV show Hoarders (2009) because we’re experts at justifying why we need to keep something because “one day in the future we’re going to need it”. We can browse Pinterest for inspiration and watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (2019) as many times as we want, the truth is that the only thing that will ever be organised in an Indian household is the masala dabba!
To Read More
For many of us who live in the digital age, we’re so plugged in 24/7 that we’re going into this year hoping to become more conscious of the time we spend browsing online. One way to offset all the screen time is to have your head in a good book, but all too often we’ll decide we’re going to start by reading a book a month, Google the ‘10 books you must read before you die,’ pay a visit to our neighbourhood Kinokuniya where we’ll spend an unnecessary amount of time trying to find the right shelf, make a purchase, and then never let the book see the light of day. It’s undeniable that one way to reduce our screen time is to opt for reading instead, but by reading we don’t mean the endless number of WhatsApp group chats we’re all a part of, or adding subtitles to whatever you’re watching on Netflix. Not sure what to read in the coming year? Subscribe to Masala and start there.