Year 402, modern era

The eerily empty Park Street in Kolkata heralded the imminent end of the year 401 of the modern era. Usually this street is crowded with party goers in the evenings of the ten days between Newtonmas and Perihelion day. Not this year. We ducked into an old favourite of a coffee shop, nearly a hundred years old now, but still filled with young people. This year the wait for a table was only two minutes, not two hours. The Family’s face was glowing, she’d heard a lot about the street at this time of the year, and she was happy to be there.

The long nights of this season seem to be made for fairy lights, and in this pandemic year people have put a little extra into them. We decided to come home for the new year. The new year? There are so many different calendars in India, that the arbitrariness of choosing a date to begin a year is obvious. Is there really a special date to celebrate as we roll along around our star? It turns out that there are two such dates: one when we are closest to the sun (perihelion), and another when we are furthest (aphelion). If we want to choose something close to the new year in the common calendar, then Perihelion day, January 4, today, it must be. A different new year’s day deserves a different era to go with it. In the 16th century of the common era, Nicolaus Copernicus first realized that the earth goes around the sun. And then, in the early years of the next century, Johannes Kepler realized that the path of the earth was not a circle, but an ellipse. It is because of the ellipticity that there are special points in the orbit, a perihelion and an aphelion. So this discovery should mark the beginning of the modern era of a rational calendar.

Welcome to the year 402 of the modern era. The last of Kepler’s laws was published that many years ago. The start of the fifth century was traumatic for many, filled with losses. I seem to have spent mine in the safety of my kitchen, judging from my favourite photos of the year. But this is a new year, with new hopes of accommodating this virus without harm to ourselves through a vaccine. This is a year to celebrate careful study of the world around us, and to act on this understanding for the preservation of our place in the world around us. So a happy new year, 402 ME. ☀

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

27 comments

  1. Year 402. That statement sets the perspective. I have only visited Delhi, and thought the air terribly polluted. It must be strange to see empty streets in these big cities…I remember photos from both Delhi and New York – almost an eerie feeling. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year – even outside your kitchen ;-D

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a clever and informative post you’ve given us this week I.J. I really enjoyed your response. As for your images, your opener is stunning and your food images beautiful. My favorite is the two fishes. Happy ME 402 to you then, here’s hoping it’s a safe and happy one

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love this post and the information you shared on the calendars. Then, amongst your favorite photos, I noticed the bottle caps from GOA Brewing. Have you been to the brewery? If I were able to visit, I would definitely check out their IPA. I love craft breweries in Portland, Oregon. Do you have a favorite GOA brew? I wish you a wonderful year to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting information.
    Those paplets or (pomfrets) look quite tempting! Usually this time of year we are in India and indulge on good fresh fish 🙂

    Wishing you a healthy and happy new year.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Park Street brings back some old beautiful memories Flury’s being one of the more persistent ones 💖 and some other beautiful restaurant whose name I don’t recollect

    Liked by 1 person

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