When I was growing up, the new year meant sending and receiving greeting cards to and from friends and family. For over a month, the postman would continue to deliver bundles of actual greetings almost daily. As a child, it was most exciting to receive cards and we would eagerly wait for them every day. By January of every year, our house would be full of colorful greetings from friends and family from all over the country. Many times these were accompanied by a short letter or a note. At times, we would receive letters from long-lost friends and it would help to rekindle the forgotten relationship. Every card that was received brought in loads of memories with it and we would fondly remember the good times spent together. We would religiously make the effort to respond to each one and add the new senders to our annual greeting card sending list. The Archie’s and Hallmarks of the world did make life easier when it came to sending wishes to our loved ones. And I think just like me, many people saved and cherished these cards for years to come. They were precious!

Cut to 2023, the greeting cards, the card shops, the postman, and sometimes even the relationships have faded into oblivion. Today sending wishes usually means a short WhatsApp message… sometimes as short and cryptic as “HNY” ?. Most messages are forwarded creatives and images. No offence meant to the senders! Responding to new year wishes is a cut-copy-paste phenomenon, at times even without downloading the image sent by the other person especially if the wifi speed is not upto our expectations. (For all you know it may not be a new year message at all.) The second day of the new year is usually spent deleting all the images that have clogged the phone gallery. In the tsunami of hundreds of messages there is no time to actually think about the person or the relationship. Our lives in the 21st century are indeed very busy and time is a commodity that is always scarce.

As I grow older I tend to think a lot more about the years gone by. I have been blessed with some really good friends and the list keeps growing every year. I do believe that we can make friends at any age and of any age. It could be a child or at times someone a lot older. There is no formula for making friends. It just happens. However, like every other relationship in this world, friendship also needs work and effort. Life tends to happen to all of us and our friends tend to slip away even without us noticing. As I write this, I am also guilty of allowing this to happen to my own friendships. At times years pass by and suddenly one day we realize that we could have done a better job of supporting each other a little more.

Last year for me was about rediscovering old friendships and making new ones. At this stage in life, I realize that one more publication, one more conference, one more book written, one more presentation, one more difficult surgery or one more career goal achieved cannot bring greater happiness than one more friend cherished or one more new friend made. The rat race is exactly that… a rat race. If we wish to live life king-size, we have to first stop being a rat.

Friends are precious and if you have a few to grow old with, you are lucky and blessed. In this new year cherish them and make that little extra effort to keep up the friendships. If not a greeting card, do make the effort to pick up the phone and give them a call. Nothing can be more rejuvenating than a heart to heart conversation with a close friend.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year full of friendship and love!
Dr. Aparna Govil Bhasker

2 thoughts on “HNY!!!”

    • Cannot agree more with you on this beautiful thought doc! Life is a lot beyond social media. I think somewhere in the 21st century, we have forgotten to have real conversations with real human beings. Everyone is so engrossed in the devices that we forget to have conversations.

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