It’s a pernicious day today. Not only is it a Monday, but it’s the second day of the new year — unremarkable unlike its flashy sibling, the first day of the year. Like a beggar wearing a thrown away Gucci cap, January 2, 2012, still has some trimmings of the last weekend of 2011’s hanging round its neck, but actually it’s imbued with as much of festive spirit as those festoons in the BJP headquarters after the final results of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
So how does one negotiate with such a dreary day? One option is to join one of those ‘Hindu pride’ organisations that denounce the Gregorian calendar ‘imposed on us by foreigners’ and treat January 2 as a pernicious device through which neo-imperialists like Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC’s Top Gear programme wants Indians to pull his Lamborghinis along the streets of Oldham and Brixton. If that sounds too sectarian, I would suggest looking at today’s date being the 17th of Poush, 1418, as according to the Bengali calendar — an easier option than to figure out what a generic ‘Hindu’ calendar has today as.
But for those tired of the ‘Yes, we can!’ rubbish being peddled to us as if from a bad hypnotist — rather ironic considering it roughly coincides with the worst social and economic mayhem across the world we’ve seen for a while — today could be a great day to launch forth on a ‘No can do!’ spree. While the Pied Piper’s ‘Yes, we can’ tune worked with rats and children for some time now, January 2, 2012, should be the day — to mix my fairytale metaphors — when we point at the piper and say that he’s not wearing any clothes.
So next time someone tells you that the Indian economy will reach double digit growth sooner than you can say ‘Montek Singh Ahluwalia loves Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis’, or that we are at the cusp of becoming a First World Country, or that with the right spirit, you could grow bougainvillea in Siachen, or that Sachin Tendulkar will score a century before you start getting more interested in golf, let today be the day from which you can push your hand forward and say, ‘Stop! Get real.’
But yes, that does sound too ‘activist-y’. And lest anyone starts thinking that you, god forbid, see some spunk in the likes of Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare, it could be a better idea to treat January 2, 2012, as the fourth anniversary when a barrel of oil reached $100 for the first time in history, or the 20th anniversary of Shane Warne’s Test debut against India in Sydney, or 44 years since Christian Barnard performed his, er, second heart transplant.
In other words, if you need to make today somewhat less banal, pick an occasion. Or even better, pick a pick-me-up drink now that you’ve been cured of your New Year’s eve party hangover the next day. In any case, look at the bright side: think about last year this time and what is yet to come. This January 2 can only get better. Wishing all of you a moderately happy first Monday and second any day of the year!