“Bani, Bani, please it’s time to wake up!” Bani’s wife tried frantically but in vain to wake up her husband at eleven o’clock in the morning after celebrating the turning of the New Year.
He slept on the floor of the kitchen partially covered with a bedspread. She would manage to wake him up and then he would doze off and fall into deep sleep yet again.
This was as the result of stupor he got from liquors he took right from Christmas Eve to the previous night. The concoctions were still working on his head. Bani’s wife gave up on waking him up.
He was snoring aloud when his brother intervened and poured some ice cold water on his head. He jumped asking “what was that?” Everyone else around chuckled.
Bani and his workmates were lucky to get their salaries from their company three days prior to Christmas. He, like is the tradition in their family, had made arrangements on how they would slaughter a goat for the big day.
It is a day that everyone in the family looks forward to because it is the only time in the year that the extended family gets to meet together.
All the members from the family living near and those from far would meet together in a selected home of one of their own.
This year’s gathering was to be at Bani’s. All the necessary arrangements were made and family members started piling in from Christmas Eve. He had a six roomed house which was good enough to accommodate almost all of them.
Christmas came and the neck of the goat was not spared. Some chicken also faced the knife. The compound was full of activity. Children were running here and there.
Each one of them showing off to the others how smart they are wearing outfits bought specifically for the day by their parents.
Women were busy preparing food. Men like Bani had to stay near the kiln where the goat was being roasted, taking beer.
Each evening after Christmas, family members would gather in a campfire outside the homestead. They would chat on all kinds of subjects.
How bad and how good the year had been both politically as well as in individual’s capacity. The young were given advice by the seniors on different subjects at the camp fire.
This ranged from how to operate business, how to handle money and how to live best with one’s spouse. It was lively all the time as there was plenty to eat and drink.
Past family history would be re-visited. The reminiscence of their childhood and the various experiences they have had together revitalized their spirits.
This one week, right from Christmas Eve to now New Year was one of a kind and would be stuck to everyone’s memory from the playing kids, young and the old.
Kids would remember the season by how they played with their cousins. How smart they were clad in new outfits and of course how they drunk numerous sodas with no restrictions.
The young and un-married would remember how they drunk themselves out and how they teased girls in the neighbourhood.
The young and married like Bani would remember how they drunk and spent a lot of cash extravagantly. The seniors would probably be contented to have been with their children and grandchildren and pray that another day like this would come while they were still living.
“Each age has deemed the new-born year the fittest time for festal cheer,” said
Walter Scott. Bani wanted to welcome the New Year in style this time round. He had hosted his family for a whole week and wanted to have an excellent send off.
He organized single handedly, to take the whole family for a night out. All except the mothers with small tots who were breastfeeding and the elderly welcomed the idea.
He hired a caravan and off they went for a night out. The party was one of a kind. Bani particularly wanted to do something he had never done before to end the year.
He decided to sample liquors he had never tasted before. He did as he wished. “Five, four, three, two, one, happy new year!” Everybody was in high spirit.
hey have lived to see year 2010! “Happy New Year! Happy New Year!” All who were present sung in unison. Unlike others, Bani was in a trance. He laid his head on the table and was in a complete blackout. He had consumed a poison of choice!
Bani had to be lifted to the caravan by other staggering family members. They went home past mid-night and everyone threw their weary bodies where they could find space in the house. Bani happened to land in the kitchen.
It was here where the following day he had to be woken up with a lot of difficulty.
After waking up, he had to make New Year’s resolutions the first one being that he would from henceforth abstain from alcohol.
“Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” -Oscar Wilde