Last year was my first ‘real’ December in Lahore. Months before it actually arrived, a friend of mine started to get me really excited about the pending arrival of madness. I found it a little over the top, but invested equally in it nevertheless, cos, you know; what the heck. She insisted that the month existed outside the realm of the entire year, autonomous in its own right. All other months were centrally governed. December had a federal government, things run differently in that month. December had its own rhythm, its own rules and the best part was that they changed every year. It was only when you went around breaking them that you found out the new “updated” status regarding the tolerance and views of the deed. Not surprisingly, most of the time it’s a close call, and the deed is pronounced “understandable” that year, much to your relief and satisfaction. You’re not wrong, you’re edgy.
December, henceforth, is the month of Moral Grey Areas. Officially - The Grey Month.
Things that around the year can be classified as black or white, right or wrong all of a sudden change shades and become grey. Somehow, the situation is too complicated, and there are too many things that needed to be taken in to consideration before a proper decision can be announced. Gut feelings in these situations are most usually disabled, or on silent. Actions are justified by whims. Nothing is for certain, everything is circumstantial- especially those things that were previously so obviously a certified “never”. It’s nobody’s fault, really, it’s just the month.
It is a month of uncharacteristic leniency towards your own self and others. The most-oft heard sentence is “So what? It’s not like you killed somebody”, and during the month, that’s a bloody good argument. You think, ‘that’s true, I’m not a murderer or a rapist’. You’re a saint in comparison, and that's all you need to breathe easy. Moral demarcations that have been clear for the longest time, suddenly seems to disappear. You pretend as though you’ve forgotten whether it fell on the black side or the white side, so it’s only fair that you classify it as gray, as unfortunately you are not certain certain, and in this lapse of memory you don’t want to pick the wrong side. That’s a lot of crap under the unconvincing guise of “moral dilemma”, but in this month you hear yourself give this speech with a smirk on your face and you let yourself get away with it. Duck listening to others, you won’t even listen to yourself. You find yourself doing things that’s you specifically told yourself you would never do. Not again. You run out of ways to tell yourself, baaz aa jaao.
Aur phir aap naye aate, till the next year. The month in retrospective seems to one long, crazy, night.
Foods that were off limits are okay this month. Not sleeping at all is okay this month. Not knowing where all your money went is okay this month. They are the least of your worries. I racked my brain trying to wonder how this works, how this month is literally the spoilt youngest child of the family who can get away with pretty much anything. I’m not saying people become emblems of debauchery this month, it’s all dirty and sticky, and that’s all that there is to it. That’s not my concern and that would probably be pushing it. What is far more intriguing is how the early morning fog of the month brings with it this new sort of buzzing feeling, which makes everything fall on the legitimate side of the trade. Anything goes. Maybe because it’s the end of the year, so everyone is haplessly scurrying around trying to validate the entire year that has gone by, proving to themselves that it hasn’t been a waste. Something to remember it by, that’s truly worth remembering, something you could tell your kids and grand kids about one day. Everyone understands the sentiment to some extent, so they let things slide by. It’s like the end of the race na, at that point all bets are off and if someone acts like a POS, that’s fine- it’s only natural.
Plus it makes great morning-tea discussion so who are you to stop it?
I actually have a song that characterizes the feel of the month pretty well, but I'll spare you.