Thursday, January 1, 2009


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.



Lazyani said...

You brought so many memories about the old Doordarshan programmes and the warmth of a New Years Eve spent with family.
These days the entertainment is varied and the action more frenzied. But the warmth is only in the temperature scale and one doesn't go to sleep with so much hope for the New Year.

Kavi said...

Ah ! Doordarshan. And then arbid songs. And in home. The well heeled used to go to parties and come back and talk to us about it.

And that tradition continues. The well heeled do go to parties and we continue to listen.

And ofcourse, can we forget TWTW and the year end round up...!!! It used to be eagerly anticipated. The one ok program of the DD years...

sukku said...

As a kid it was New Year ala TV. And as a teenager it was out on the streets and now it's back to the Telly....well live goes one full circle....

The Comic Project said...

Happy new year. I miss TWTW so much :-(

seanag said...

Thanks for the chance to think about the old New Year's traditions, Sucharita. In our family, we at least for a time had a pretty great tradition of going out to a movie together. I wish I could remember them all, but I think they tended to be musicals like Gigi, which was reissued for the big screen again one year, and That's Entertainment. Maybe Finian's Rainbow once. Anyway, we'd go out and then come home and make these cracker concoctions that my grandmother had taught us that you had to heat in the oven. It was really great, but more than one year I was an inflexible teenager who didn't want to partake of anything 'indulgent' after the stroke of midnight, when all my New Year's resolutions apparently had to kick in or the new year would be wrecked. How pPuritanical I was back then. I'm glad I at least enjoyed the movies...

Great to hear about the TV traditions that many commenters here seem to have had in common.

my space said...

Ahh good old doordarshan..we did EXACTLY that!!But then life was simple and sweet. u bought back sweet memories--but while they were happening they were dead BORING!!!
..btw hopped on from mampis blog`

nsiyer said...

Till I was in school, going out for New Year was a strict no no. My parents never ever liked the idea of a night spent away from home. Night movie shows okay once in a while, but had to return home . No sleeping in anyone else's house, be it a friend or a neighbour.
Went to college and discovered freedom. Went for New Year's eve party - did have many pegs - but still returned home.
Now I advise my children - no going out at nights- even if late - they need to come home for sleep.
Thanks for bringing back those moments I treasure.

GuNs said...

Ditto man. I bet every kid from an Indian middle class family had a pretty similar new year's eve back in the 80s and the early 90s.

Since 2004 new year, my list has been:

31st Dec 2003 - Juhu Beach, Mumbai
31st Dec 2004 - Baga Beach, Goa
31st Dec 2005 - Baga Beach, Goa
31st Dec 2006 - London Eye, London
31st Dec 2007 - Party at Town Hall, Leeds
31st Dec 2008 - Party types in Kathmandu Nepal.


Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks, everybody, for sharing your old new year memories. May you have many more to add.

Mampi said...

Ahh, spent the new years as a child, in much the same way..