Yes, this is the customary year-ender. I know I am a bit late. But, rest assured, one of my resolutions for 2015 too is not to be late, often. Busy procrastinating since Christmas-cum-Good Governance Day, I gave some thought to what defined 2014, and what should or should not define 2015. Result: Much like this column, with no theme but a stream of thoughts packed into long sentences covering Chandigarh and the rest of the world, I got a mixed bag. For ease of writing and reading, I’ve turned the ender-cum-beginner into an A-to-Z of people, places, things and concepts. Let’s get to it:
A: Alia Bhatt. No, I won’t pretend there are more important things starting with A. Yes, I am smitten silly. Of all the things that we take forward from 2014, she is one that must remain unchanged. I am worried she’d lose her innocence in a quest to become invincible. Alia, please don’t do a Priyanka Chopra.
B: Bird flu. Scare of the year after a dead goose at Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lake tested positive, it led to culling of some unlucky birds; Shivraj Patil boasting about having survived plague (!); a snowy look for the lake thanks to lime dust; a ‘meat ka langar’ to dispel fears; and another lesson in how panic spreads faster than awareness.
C: Corruption. As an issue, no longer that hot. As a practice, hot as ever. Will it be the other way around this year? If you ask the queue-hating me, I hope not.
D: Dustbins and a disposal system. What we actually need for Swachh Bharat.
E: Extra-terrestrial intervention. This is one thing I hope for every year, the only thing that might save this planet from self-destruction. Or so I like to believe.
F: Freezer. Since January 2014, when he was declared clinically dead, this is the abode of Ashutosh Maharaj, head of the Nurmahal dera near Jalandhar. Followers believe he’s only meditating, but the court wants the body cremated. Dead he may be or not, it’s hard to find a baba so cool.
G: Ghar wapsi. The ‘reconversion’ project is in top gear. So much so that every time ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is on TV, I wonder when they’ll actually come to take us back. G is also for Gul Panag, who got more than a lakh votes from Chandigarh. Where is she these days? Don’t say Twitter.
H: Headlines. A twist of phrase here, a satirical turn there, and a bit of poetry too, if possible. Giving great headlines is one thing desk journalists take pride in. Wish our ilk some sexy ones this year.
I: I, me and myself. After a year dictated by personality cult, let us hope for more of we, us and ourselves this year.
J: Jamai babu. Will Robert Vadra, the ‘scamster’ son-in-law of the Congress president, be taken to task this year by the BJP regime? Are you serious? Are you serious? That’s what he asked.
K: Kirron and Kejriwal. It’s fascinating to hear the Chandigarh MP speak. So much fun, so much froth, so little else! May Kirron Kher frolic through politics this year as well. As for the ‘bhagoda’ who went nowhere, Delhi polls this year will decide if Arvind ‘Runaway’ Kejriwal can outrun perception.
L: Love charger. This will continue to play in my car, until Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan comes up with his next gem.
M: MSG-The Messenger of God. Releasing on January 16. The. Best. Movie. Ever! Faith is all we have. M is also for Modi, of course.
N: No smoking. Kindly continue to ignore the temptation of the skull-and-bone danger signs on cigarette packets.
O: Orwell. Bolstered by 2014, Subramanian Swamy is writing ‘2002’ to counter ‘1984’.
P: Pop history. 2014 was the year our PM revealed how Lord Ganesh got an elephant’s head. That’s how you use plastic surgery to conjoin mythology and history.
Q: Queen. Kangana Ranaut.
R: Radio. Chandigarh has four FM channels. While the two sarkari ones are confused between farming techniques and country music, the two private ones only sell cars and flats. Can we please straighten out the ‘golmaal’ this year?
S: Selfies, Sanghis and Sunny Leone. Self-revelatory signs of our times.
T: Teachers’ Day. No longer their day, with effect from 2014.
U: Uber. The much-maligned taxi service must set itself right and operate. After all, Uber and others like it are the only option in the absence of public transport.
V: Virat Kohli. At the turn of the year, he became the captain of the Indian test team. Expresses his emotions with MC-BC. Power to a true Punjabi!
W: World Cup. India’s chances aside, I just hope Dhoni doesn’t retire midway to grab all the attention.
X: Generation X. Alleged change-makers.
Y: Generation Y. Alleged change-makers who don’t even ask ‘Y?’
Z: Zindagi. A TV channel that did more for India-Pak people-to-people connect than any posturing or pleasing can. Jiyo!