New Year Contemplations


If pursuit of happiness means anything at all as one of the most appreciated human freedoms, then Georgians are definitely among the peoples of the world who feel liberated enough to eagerly pursue and enjoy it. We are happy people by nature! This is why the ‘Happy New Year’ wish sounds very sincerely and absolutely naturally in this beautiful, although a little downsized, land. There are so many little unpleasant things in life that could curb the process of the pursuit, but we take it easy, elevating the New Year fancies and aspirations to the level of joyful excitements and anticipations.

The regular New Year model of behavior of the average Georgian gives the impression of affluence and magnificence. As an instance of this, I would throw in the holiday-time Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi, illuminated more lavishly than Las Vegas itself. The entire country wants to sojourn here, or at least drive through the overcrowded avenue to get a glimpse of the totally outlandish lights dancing all over the place and reflecting in the eyes of kids and grownups in the same delightfully sparkling way, like an earthly paradise of heavenly colors and celestial symbols. Only a few other streets in Tbilisi look as festive; others are as dark and trivial as they have always been – undecorated, gloomy and lonely. Well, to have all the streets of the capital lit as lavishly as the main thoroughfare of the country, the thirteen-billion national budget recently approved by Parliament would not suffice.

On the other hand, the holiday bliss and luster is good but it is a real hell for those whose abodes happen to be in the area. The heavy traffic in the center of the city is like a fly in the ointment: if you are at home, you can’t get out, and if you’re out, you can’t get in. I have always wondered why all those celebrations, holiday bazaars, demonstrations, protests, processions, manifestations and the disgruntled folks’ tents have to be organized here in the heart of the town. There can’t be a bigger pain in the neck than bumper-to-bumper traffic 24/7 in the center of Tbilisi year in, year out, although the gas stations must be doubling their revenues as a result of it (and the air pollution will be tripled as a consequence).

The overly abundant use of pyrotechnic facilities is another concomitant passion of the New Year celebrations in our style. Moreover, the ubiquitous gun-shooting, atavistically sounding all over the country, is deafening, and who knows how safe it is.

But even more deafening is the news about the so called black lists in the New Year. I couldn’t believe my years, on hearing the news about the multi-party oppositional political force craving to blacklist certain judges, prosecutors and police officers who have allegedly violated the human rights of their fellow citizens, having brashly exceeded their official authority. It seems like black is the favorite color of the country’s political wannabes as, in addition to the black lists, the blackout right in the middle of colorful New Year lights would have been for them the best finale of the nationwide celebrations, but it did not happen to their greatest chagrin.

Black PR, blackish mood, blackened future, black prognosis, blackmail and black-mindedness would also be part of those numerous blackly imagined and darkly presented vignettes of our life by those who think that they can make a much better government of the country than the one who is ruling the nation today.

Meanwhile, life goes on, and we the people carry on, based on the dogs-bark-but-the-caravan-moves-on model of existence, which is perfectly all right in terms of continuing our pursuit of happiness. Nothing matters more than happiness after all – regular, deserved, recognized, ongoing and firm. Down with those perennial confrontations! Down with endless misunderstandings! Down with mutually incriminating and unremittingly cantankerous politics! Down with anger, bile and ire! No more fears and confusions! Time to know who we are, where we are and why we are!

By Nugzar B. Ruhadze

Image source: Tbilisi City Hall

09 January 2020 17:52