Dear 2009,

Welcome. I hope it was an enjoyable journey, your safe arrival indicates that it was. 2008 has left, taking with it its umpteen incidents, the pain it caused me and the rough times I’ve had. I’m glad that you have arrived and are staying with all of us. Though there wasn’t another choice we had but to accept you I’m glad we didn’t have one.

I know it’s going to be another 365 day long stay with us. And yes, there are going to be surprises! There are going to be lessons to learn, people to meet, ladders to climb and potholes to fall into!! I don’t really know what I should ask you to give me neither do I know if I’ll be able to keep all the promises that I’ve made to myself. (I have not promised anyone else anything, as far as my short term memory takes me.)

I just want to ask you to do me a favour. In fact, do all of us a favour. Please don’t give us a year with anymore violence and terrible deaths of loved ones. Please don’t give Mumbai so much rain that we literally drown ourselves for days. Please don’t give us anymore “regionalist” politicians breathing down our lives. Please give India more breakthroughs in terms of space science. Please don’t subject us to any more torture from “heavy saree-clad women” and “men who can’t keep their marriages together”. Please infuse some sense in the leaders of our nation. Please conserve the wildlife of this country. Please give us safer railways and public transport. Please give us strength to keep our friendships together and families happy. Please restore peace in the disturbed homes and places. Please do us these favours. (Amen.)

I hope I’ve not asked for too much as soon as you’ve arrived. And if you think I have, then I guess something is wrong in the air. All the things I’ve requested for are basic human necessities that we should be entitled to without asking for. It’s something you promise to deliver unconditionally each year you arrive.

I hope that your stay will be wholesome and enjoyable. We’ll try to treat you in the best way possible too.

Have a nice stay and I hope you will be kind to us.

Thanking you.

Sameen.