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A night to revel and reflect
Whether it is dancing to loud music or sharing a meal with family, New Year’s Eve is a night for celebrations, and a moment to reflect on the days come and gone.
For these six professionals from the city, the evening is one of either quiet contemplation, quality time with family, or cut-and-dry business as the sun creeps up.
Vinod V, photographer
Along with 12 close friends and their families, Vinod V usually spends the night with his school friends from ICF Silver Jubilee Matriculation School. The gang, dubbed the Bejargang, has welcomed the New Year with each other since 2003. Vinod would spend the evening clicking candid and posed pictures of the gathering with his camera. “I am the designated photographer for the event. One of my favourite pictures is of us at the Malabar coast, where I caught us mid-jump with the ocean behind us,” recalls the professional photographer. The photos are quickly shared in their WhatsApp group. “Initially, we used to post the pictures on Facebook, but then the memories we formed behind the pictures were just too meaningful to post on social media. So, we just kept it to WhatsApp groups,” he says. At the end of every year, says Vinod, he would already be looking forward to next year’s celebrations.
Ummul Khair, advocate
She’s not a fan of resolutions for the upcoming year. Instead, Ummul Khair sees the New Year as a time to reflect on the year that has passed. As a recipient of the Hellen Keller Award for 2019, the advocate marks the past year as one of personal growth. “I wanted to become bolder in the upcoming year. As a person with disability and as an advocate, it can be difficult to be assertive and stand one’s ground. And I managed to achieve that this year,” she says. As the courts are closed, the celebrations involve calling her family in Kerala and spending the day at a mall with her friends the day before New Year’s Eve. “It gets crowded on the day. So I like to go the day before. We usually just roam around and spend time with each other,” she adds. Ummul hopes to take on bigger cases in the upcoming year. “My hope for 2020 is that the disabled community comes together to tackle issues like access and inclusivity,” she says.
Praveen Kumar, musician
The end of the year has always been associated with music for Praveen Kumar – from performing at apartment functions as a child to jamming with his college friends. But the day falls in the month of Margazhi, and for the Carnatic musician, that means business. “Ever since I started performing at the age of 14, I have always played on New Year’s Eve. I want the last performance of the year to be peaceful, so that I can start the year in a positive note,” says the mridangam player. Due to his busy Margazhi schedule, Praveen does not have the time to properly celebrate the year, though he hopes to get a moment to reflect on the year. “I launched my first album, Unreserved, and it has got great reviews from the music fraternity. I wanted to take a moment to celebrate that,” he says, adding that he hopes to spend time with his family this year.
Mohan Babu S, DJ
As crowds in the bar dance and drink on New Year’s Eve, Mohan Babu S is behind the booth, blasting music for the gathering of party-goers. “As a DJ, I have to make sure the crowd is having a good time. The song selection and mixing are done a week before the party, and the set is almost five hours long. I work from 6 pm to 4 am on NYE,” says the 23-year-old. The night is an important one, as clubs and hotels see nearly 800 people that night. “There is pressure to do well and keep the crowd engaged, but on NYE the whole atmosphere is that of a party. That’s one of the perks of the job – it’s always fun.” For the upcoming year, Mohan wants to focus on his event management company, Hakuna Matata Events, and give the one-year-old business a strong foundation for the upcoming year.
Kirthi Jayakumar, activist
For activist Kirthi Jayakumar, even celebrating New Year’s Eve is a protest – one surrounded with family, meaningful conversation, and cooking at home. “I don’t believe in the capitalistic celebration of the New Year. I like to constantly be aware of how these systems and structures work, and I want to strike them down in my every day,” explains the founder of the Red Elephant Foundation. These systems are broken by helping her mother cook, lounging on the couch in pyjamas, and watching the family favourite movie, Jingle All the Way. Family gatherings are a dreaded moment of debate with those with opposing views for many. But for Kirthi, it is a chance to engage with someone. “If a family member is willing to talk about an issue and see my views, then I like to take the time to engage in a meaningful conversation with them,” adds the 32-year-old.
Dr R Gopal Krishnan, orthopaedic surgeon
When the world celebrates with aplomb, Dr R Gopal Krishnan usually spends the night tending to the emergencies that come in. With a majority of road accident cases coming in at 1 am, the surgeon is busy saving lives on New Year’s Eve. “New Year’s Eve starts with firecrackers in Australia, and then the whole world. But for me, the only lights are the ones above the operating table,” says the surgeon with Apollo Hospitals. From 9 pm to 7 am, Gopal Krishnan operates on high-priority cases like road accidents. Though cases have gone down in the recent years, there are still emergencies he must attend to. “It gives me a sense of pride. Very few people have the capacity to save a life on New Year’s Eve, and I am grateful that I am one of them,” adds the 65-year-old. The celebrations are thus pushed to a lunch on New Year’s Day, which he describes as a quiet and calm moment with family and close friends. “My wish is for people to be a little safer on New Year’s Eve, so that more surgeons can spend the night with their loved ones as well,” he says.