Yes Year 2019 is at the ‘train station’ preparatory to its departure so that year 2020 may “arrive”.
Train stations are like bus stations; bus stations are like airports. These are spaces of departure and arrival. No matter the allure and the beauty they present passengers with, they are meant to be left behind. In other words, nobody in his right senses would take the departure lounge for a home. No.
This is because stations, be it that of the airport or bus stations or train stations are spaces in-between two stations- the one left behind and the one targeted; the station in the past and the one in the future. Stations are equally spaces of and for friendship.
Passengers meet and exchange pleasantries. Friendship are forged and established; some permanently and others temporarily. Yet, they are what they are- temporary space, ephemeral locations.
Now if it is true that year 2019 is at the train station, that means the year is the ‘train’ that has arrived or is arriving the station, its destination. But exactly what is the train carrying? It is carrying ‘passengers’ with conflictual identities.
Yes. On this train of 2019 are ‘passengers’ known as happiness and sadness; ‘passengers’ whose identities are and were markers for the year. Yes. Of what meaning is life after all if it is not circumscribed by happiness and sadness? Happiness indexed by, for example, births and promotions, opening of new mansions and victory at the poll.
Ironically, life equally loses its essence and texture if it is deprived of sadness; sadness indexed, in turn, by deaths, by calamities, by threats and dangers. All these are passengers ‘seated’ not by choice but by force on the ‘train’ of 2019. These are ‘passengers’ waiting patiently in order to disembark and connect another train- Train 2020.
Perhaps we should use another metaphor. Let us consider year 2019 as a narrative; or a story. If indeed the story of the year 2019 were to be told, the summary would be that the ‘story’ is now or has now reached its climax. It has come to an end. We are now at the threshold of the beginning of another story – the story of 2020.
The beginning and ending of a year, be it the Islamic (today is 1st Jumadal Awwal, 1441A.H) or the Gregorian, usually occasion some sense of anxiety in men and women of intellect and understanding. To begin a new year, in my view, is to begin a journey one is not sure of completing; to end a year is to enter into some psycho-spiritual trepidation. This is because all of us are the story being told by the Story-teller- the Almighty. He tells our story to us using portents in creation which are beyond our control and imagination.
Thus, in my estimation, the beginning and ending of a year, instead of being a source of infantile indulgence in celebration and perfidious revelry, should be occasions for sober reflections. It should awaken in us the necessity to take stock of our failings; it should afford us the opportunity to reconnect with our Creator and repair what we have unwittingly destroyed in our spiritual capitals.
But to the majority, but to my compatriots some of whom have dedicated the nights of the past one month to dancing and drinking and revelry, the end of year is meant for fun and merry-making. These are subjects who do not know who they are. These are subjects who live in life even as life pass them by! They are those who are now flocking to the churches and the cathedrals.
Yes. The Churches are now filled to the brim. All of sudden the mosques are being ‘invaded’ by those who never visited them during the past twelve months. These are pseudo-religious subjects who remember the existence of the Almighty only when they are at the point of traversing one moment of life into another. These are subjects who work with the assumption that access to the bounties of the Almighty can be likened to the computer key board- ‘press and enter’.