When we were in school, new years were ushered in sedately, at least in our home. No wild night out, no cheering boozily, no getting-your-bottom-pinched by unruly revelers in Kolkata’s Park Street.
New Year Eves were spent in front of the television set, along with family members, munching on leftover Christmas cakes and savouries, curling our toes under comfortably-wrapped shawls.
There were two must-watch programmes on TV – both provided by the one-and-only Doordarshan.
One was the much-awaited annual news round-up, THE WORLD THIS YEAR, ably anchored by the iconic suave and smiling Prannoy Roy. This was a special extension of his weekly news programme, The World This Week, and was a very good cut-and-paste rehash of important national and international news and newsmakers, with a section on hilarious snippets of global and local bloopers (tailormade for a certain President when he was probably a babe in the bush).
The other programme was a long and meandering countdown to midnight, comprising songs and dances by various established celebrities (few and far-between) and wannabe non-celebs (too many by far), along with stand-up comics and put-you-to-sleep comperes.
We never did go to sleep, though. We forced ourselves to sit through the countdown, dozing off now and then, and waited till the magic midnight strokes to jerk us fully awake. The noise on TV met the bang of crackers exploding outside, and we would then go to bed wide-awake with excitement, happy to sleep late the next day, which was a holiday; happy to greet a new year which seemed to be so full of promise, full of exciting offerings which would let us be a little more grown-up.
HOW DID YOU SPEND YOUR NEW YEAR EVES AS A CHILD?