New Year’s Eve when everybody was planning parties with their friends, Sarah was forced into attending a family gathering. This spoiled her mood and she lost her hopes of having a good start of 2017.


It was New Year’s Eve. Sarah left her house slamming the door behind, irritated by her parents, especially her father. Even though she did not wish to seem rude to her mother but felt she was equally responsible for spoiling her mood.
‘Come back by 8:30, everybody shall be home by then’ her mother called from behind.
As if Sarah cared who was going to come and who wasn’t. She was in no manner fond of these family gatherings. None at all, especially in her own house. It was the last thing she wanted as her 2016 memory; people sitting and giving their precious feedback on how SHE should live her life. It annoyed her how pokey relatives can sometime get. Her cousins were fine, she enjoyed with them…well a bit. But the elders were real pain for her. She remembered the incident when all she wished was to chop her long hair off a bit and got a half an hour lecture from her uncle. All she saw was his bald head. Her bidding 2016 farewell wasn’t going well and she expected nothing better as a start of 2017 either. Leaving her house she called her friend to come out too, she really wanted some fresh air and fun people to talk to as she was annoyed, irritated and angry, all at once.

They started walking around a complex and talked about Sarah’s storm out. She felt nice to have a friend who has the same frequency as hers and who shared the same mind set. It bothered Sarah, how intruding some people get into her life. She did not like going around and letting everyone know what is up with her. She usually never talks about it, unless it is very necessary. And today, well, it was necessary. She was very well aware of what was going to come at dinner table tonight. She had been the center of criticism and analytics among all her maternal cousins and she never understood why! Her first cousin was only 10 days younger to her, yet everyone always managed to point their fingers at her. From what to wear to what to study, she got all the opinions, she never asked for. Going on with her story of what happened back home, she now felt a little relaxed. But her friend had her deadline; she had to be home before 8:30. It pissed her to see the exactness here. Out of everything, all she did not want was to be home at 8:30. It would just make her mother think she was an obedient and willing participant in the gathering. And to her luck, she managed to be out till 9.

‘I absolutely understand but it’s just a matter of 3 hours, it won’t be that bad’ her friend left saying that.

She came in, all prepared for a bad ending to this bad year. Yes, like so many others, 2016 wasn’t great to her as well. It went quickly but it was all static. Looking back at it, she realized that nothing happened the whole year. There was no excitement, to be real; all she gained in this year was weight and nothing else. Even though her friends kept making her realize that this was an important year, Sarah did not want to believe it. She wouldn’t agree to it. All she faced this year was downfall. Yeah nearing the end, for about last 15-20 days, she did seem to be a little uplift about her life but it couldn’t balance the other 345 days of dismay.

As she entered the house, she saw everyone sitting down and playing some board game, and before she could even freshen up, her mother started calling her and asking her to play. This annoyed her more. First she did not want this gathering, now she is forced to play. The expectation of something good happening kept getting lower. She screamed back saying she had just come and she needed some time. Then she went looking for her cousin, the only 10 days younger one. She found her sitting in her brother’s room and studying. For the first time in 3 months she felt bad that she had nothing to study. It was the best excuse she gave the whole year for not attending the things that did not interest her. But to make the year worse for her, that also wasn’t there to save her this night. So, reluctantly she went out and sat in between her cousins and watched them play.

To her amusement only twice or thrice did her youngest aunt made comments about her. Then after a few rounds her brother convinced her to play too. So, she sat and played 2 rounds before everyone was ready to have dinner.

After dinner all she hoped was that everyone left before 12, so she did not have to fake anything. But something else happened, her brother was leaving to visit a friend of his and seeing Sarah’s mood, asked her if she wanted to come along. Well, why not! So, now rather than her relatives leaving the house, she left. It made her feel a little better. To her amusement that friend of her brother, had a dog, and let’s just say seeing that dog there, happy and jumping, her hope of a happy 2017 was regained. She played with that dog until he lazily moved around the house, finding a cozy corner to sleep in. It was 10 minutes to 00:00 now. 10 minutes to 2017. She planned on meeting her friend and boyfriend. But only one of it worked out.

So, when the clock struck 00:00, Sarah, her brother and his brother’s friend in unison wished each other ‘Happy New Year’.

The dog woke up from the noise of fire crackers outside and shifted to another corner of the house. Sarah called her parents to wish them, then called few of her friends to wish them New Year and messaged the rest. It was 00:05 when her boyfriend called and asked her to meet him. It was the first time in 4 years that they were going to meet on midnight of the New Year. Running down the stairs, she felt happy. Her 2017 was off to a good start.

Her boyfriend stood at the end of the lane. She walked up to him; he was there with two other friends. After wishing them a Happy New Year, and listening to their stories, something unexpected happened. He asked his friend to go ahead and wait for him while he asked Sarah to come with him on a ride. This was amusing because he wasn’t such a hopeless romantic boyfriend. And this was unexpected from him, though she wanted something like that to happen. So, they went on a ride around the area and it was the best feeling. They were on two-wheeler so the chilly breeze while riding, made her cheeks flush with blood. The initial minutes spent with him were the best she could ask for. And as they went around, they bumped into few of their friends, stopped and wished them before going back to their first night ride. Yes, it was their first night ride in all these years. They were about to reach where he picked her from. Before leaving, he leaned in and kissed her. She finally had her first of so many to come New Year’s kisses. Blushing, she turned around to leave.

The night she dreaded turned out to be the best night so far. And it indeed became a “Happy New Year” for her. Smiling to herself and feeling joyful, she walked back home. Checking off her first 2017 goal; being out at midnight. Her belief that 2017 was going to be her happy year was restored.