So here we are ~ taking the first steps on a brand new path called 2018 ~ full of hope, optimism, dreams and plans. But then we began all previous years the same way, didn’t we? And we ended all previous years the same way, didn’t we? Full of despondency and dejection? So what new can await us in 2018? It all depends on what we script on this blank page called 2018 ~ it is all up to us. If we insist on carrying on the way we have always, 2018 will be a repetition of the years preceding the New Year. If we resolve to be the change and effect the change we want to see in ourselves and in our state, 2018 will be a watershed between our past and our future. So, is this what we want to make of 2018 or is it too much of an effort that will not gain us any personal benefits? There are too many issues involved in the afore-asked questions ~ such as must personal benefits always come at the cost of collective benefits? Do we really believe that we are incapable of taking charge, owning responsibility, looking at the bigger picture, understanding and empathizing with other views and generally doing what must be done to script change? Do we think that our leaders have aptitudes and qualities to lead us and yes, deliver us? Do we really believe that man-made political, social, economic, cultural and traditional institutions alone are the answers to issues that have dogged us for decades or are we ready to transcend into another sphere, which entails total change in thinking and doing? Is it possible for us to take ownership of thinking that are no longer viable and discard them, as also muster the courage to own a completely different line of thinking that has the potentials to bring us closer to solutions? Perhaps 2018 is providing us another opportunity to take a harder look at the premises we have always perceived to be predestined and have unremittingly built our thesis and assertions on? Isn’t it time that we re-looked at the formula we have been working on for surely someday we must arrived at QED ~ otherwise, what good would our existence be on the landscape of human history? As I write this, the first rains of the year pour down in a steady and reassuring rhythm, creating the kind of music that soothes the body heart and mind ~ the question is can we hear and would we listen to the message in this music? With this January Rains, the Universe is cleansing our Earth of the last environmental and all kinds of vestiges of the dead 2017, are we ready to face this cleansed Earth with cleansed eyes, hearts and minds? This becomes all the more imperative for us this year ~ in fact, in a couple of months or so ~ because we face hard decision-making times in the form of our state Assembly elections ~ the outcome of which will set the pace of our future for the next five years. And because Time is continuous, the pace for the next five years will set the pace for the next fifty and more years. Talking about pace, we have been simply swirling around in the pace that was set decades ago with no clue to break and/or change the pace and after having traversed through much blood, sweat and tears, we find ourselves standing on the same grounds, as our forebears did. Perhaps, 2018 is another opportunity for us to break and/or change the pace? Indubitably, change is terrifying but perhaps we could find the courage to embrace change if we realize that a hardened, a frozen, a solidified and a callused pace does not provide the scope for change. And so, we must change the pace ~ so that change is effected for the hopes, optimism, dreams and plans that grow in our hearts at the beginning of a fresh Year we have been blessed with. 2018 also looks like a good time to create legacies for the generations to come ~ instead of merely handing over to them legacies that were passed down decades ago and have no relevance to a world that has no resemblance to the one our forebears knew and have no connection to a century unimagined even a decade ago.