The champagnes have been popped, the toasts have been made, the celebratory jig has been danced and the wishes have been made. We have welcomed 2017 like we welcome any new year with open arms, loads of hope and a tiny dash of anxiety. 2017 could turn out to be what 2016 could not be.

The expectations are very similar to how they were at the beginning of 2016, 2015, 1999, 1934 or any year for that matter. We welcome a new year with much enthusiasm, we begin new things, we remain hopeful and we see newer dreams.  As we get closer to the end of the year, we cannot wait for it get over  and pin all our hopes  and dreams onto the upcoming year. The pattern repeats year after year.

I have my hopes pinned onto this new year too, even though I know I may very well be disappointed on some fronts. 2016 was good, as good as it could be. We made memories, there were triumphs, defeats and life lessons.

On New Year eve, I stood across a fence of a tiny skiing rink, watching my daughter learn to ski. It began with a very rough start. There were numerous crashes and falls. Every time she fell, I cringed. My fear was she would feel disheartened soon and give up. During the first break we cheered her up, but I could tell she was not listening. She was focussed on her own thoughts. She went back after the break, fell again but by then had learnt to remove one ski, stand up, clip the ski back and walk again. I knew that she would be fine there on. She may not feel like a pro or be natural like the other young learners, but she knew how to accept a fall, rise up and walk again.

That is where my hope clings in 2017 for my children, that amidst academics, sports and aquatics, brass and the string instruments,art and scouts, I am able to spend time to raise them to be kind and grateful. To be humble and respectful. To be modest about their success and to be unashamed of their defeats. To be able to bring home and share the good and bad part of their day. To be observant and willing to embrace the differences in life. Being a parent, I know the life skills outside of the numerous classes they attend are the most difficult to be instill yet most needed for the world tomorrow.

In a week or so that 2017 has been here, I have already read two posts from friends with special needs children, requesting for their children to be treated with kindness and not awkward stares. Much has been said about it for us to know what is appropriate. May this be a year where no parent begs and pleads for their children to be treated “equal” by other “normal” beings.

May 2017 be a year where women get to make decision about their own bodies, what they choose to wear, that they get paid equal and do not have to run an extra mile always to prove their worth. This is what has consumed the lives of most women, including me. It almost sounds medieval but it is predominant in every part of the world. The only way out is that we raise our boys and girls to believe in that “equal” that we may not witness in our own lifetime. It starts with the small biases at home, a different choice of toy, an activity, a sport that they play, a chore they are assigned, that is where it all begins.

Around New Year’s day, I sat to clean up my children’s treasure basket, a basket where they dump their prized possessions and lot of junk. There were the hot wheel cars, rail engines and tracks, umpteen hand-made craft, broken bits of crayons, orphaned Lego structures, origami’s, little pots and pans, a pretty pink tea set, fake food items, a T-Rex dinosaur, a spider-man sticker book and a small miniature set with figures of strawberry shortcake and her friends. In stores from where these things have been bought, many of them had belonged to different sections based on gender. At home, they belong to that common basket meant for the brother and sister. It may sound very cliché but that is where it starts. There is no girl thing or boy thing. It is a toy. You end the debate there. You extend this to every thing. Their capabilities, their choices and their freedom, all the same.

2016 made me ponder over one other thing. Science has made much progress yet there are so many undefined aspects of medical science.  There are those nooks and corners that still rest on the shoulders of faith and miracle.Throughout the year, I heard about or witnessed near and dear ones rest on those shoulders a lot, when science did not have an answer for them. A form of cancer, a developmental delay, a kind of depression, there was so much unknown, undiscovered still.

Then towards the end of last year, as I shuttled between scans, tests and ultrasounds, with that unknown fear in my heart – benign or not. I said to myself, in many of those moments – Life is precious. And science, you have a long way to go ! May 2017 shed some light on it all.

I wrote a lot less in 2016 compared to the past year. But I did not give up on writing completely. I wrote what I really wanted to write. I wrote for people who I wanted to write for, people who really needed my writing. I learnt it is important to share your voice, if you have one. If it impacts even one, your voice counts.

Writing is something I do for the sheer love of it, like many of you may love to read, travel, cook or do gardening. Sometime you need to take pauses for what life demands. Sometimes you take pauses to decide where you want to travel to or what you want to plant in your garden this spring. You need those pauses to decide what story you want to share and in what voice you want to say it. So, I hope that I write more in 2017 and write about things I really want to share. I also hope that I once again get to write with my other friends and collaborators of this blog.

2017, now that you are here, we have lots to do.

Written By : Piya Mukherjee Kalra 

Picture From : Chatoveracuppa Photo Repository