What are the different ways to kick off a new year? Take a vacation to a chic destination. Party on a farm with A-listers. Go to the pubs or spend some quality time at home with your friends and family.
Since the year 2000, I have not done any of the above. In fact, I have probably done the exact opposite. I spent the last hours and the first hours of the New Year in a temple. The din of fireworks or the blast of festive music was masked by the moving accents of spiritual music.
My agnostic or atheist friends would call it sacrilege, of a different kind though. Some would go further and call me a case of premature aging. Others would call me a LOSE R.
I would reassure myself that while most naysayers were healing the hangovers, I would wake up the next morning to a spiritual high.
To be honest, even inside the temple, I seemed to be in good company. On one occasion, I was brought home in a blazing red luxury sports coupe. Yes, people who drive such cars visit temples when no one is looking at them.
Then the 2020 pandemic arrived. New Years Eve would never be the same again. The extended lockdown prompted some agnostic friends, and even atheists, to share Whatsapp messages that said, “If you can’t get out, go inside.” What about us who were already looking deep within? Could it be some sort of coming out party?
I quickly realized that my world was merging with theirs. Marketers and advertisers who would avoid anything close to religion were now looking for a higher focus. Targeted marketing was a buzzword everyone wanted to swear by. In 2021, those who already knew the charms of a metaphysical experience were smiling as techies and brands lined up for a place in the Metaverse.
So how did I spend this New Years Eve? Writing of this newsletter. Did anyone say work is worship?