Don’t know about you, but I know exactly what I’ll be doing tomorrow at 11.59.59 pm when a hushed silence descends upon the country as people hunch over their mobile phones, thumbs poised over the ‘send’ button, all set to launch the mass SMS that reads “Happy 2008” and causes the first network jam of the new year.
At that exact moment tomorrow, I too will be hunched over my mobile phone, but I will be dithering about whether to send or not. Because, though I’ve spent the whole of December thinking about it, I will still not know whether to wish
my friends and relatives a happy 2008 or a happy 1988.
That’s because I just couldn’t get the hang of this year. Every day, the newspaper datelines read 2007, but all around me, what I saw and heard felt more like 1977, give or take a decade in either direction — which still didn’t bring us to 2007.
For instance, as I danced to Mehbooba Mehbooba at a New Year’s Eve party last year while practising (in my head) the perfect sneer to go with the phrase ‘that’s so last year’, I hadn’t the faintest idea that there’d be three Mehbooba Mehboobas to dance to in 2007.
Forget ‘that’s so last year’. Faced with more and more Sholays (inspired bys, remakes, the real thing et al) on screens both big and small, I had to come up with a whole new facial expression to convey ‘that’s so 30 years ago’. But to my horror, when I used that carefully created facial expression, that sneer to end all sneers which had taken me hours in front of the bathroom mirror to perfect, no one understood it.
They thought I was congratulating them on how they’d got things right. Because 2007 was the year that nobody did anything new. They went retro instead. And they call this the ‘new’ millennium. Bah! Humbug!
So years after I fell on my knees and sobbed with happiness because — at last! — that terrible tights and T-shirt combo that ruled the ’80s had gone, gone, gone, here they are again. Decades after Asha Parekh showed us how we should not — in fact, never — combine our large rear ends with short, tight kurtas, all I see around me is large rear ends in short, tight kurtas. When designers of the ’80s realised that the shoulder pads they’d inflicted on us made women look less like women and more like American football players and eliminated them, I thought the lesson had been learned. But no. In 2007, they came right back.
Even in the cerebral atmosphere of bookshops, there was no escape. When, to take my mind off the ghastly sights that fashion was flinging at my eyeballs (and, according to the 2008 fashion forecast in this week’s Brunch, much, much worse is in store — neon colours! In makeup!
And socks!), I tottered in for a little light reading, what did I find? Barbara Cartland novels! Gasp. I haven’t seen those since 1975.
So I don’t know what I’ll SMS to friends and relatives tomorrow night at 11.59.59 pm. Maybe I won’t SMS anything at all.
Maybe I’ll just plug myself into my iPod and listen to Deep Purple. Because that ain’t retro. That’s music.
(Feel free to mail Kushalrani at firstname.lastname@example.org , but she won’t get back to you. Email did not exist in 1988)