The last Saturday of 2007 is a good time to take stock of things — not only of how the last 365 days have contributed to the making of a 2008-to-be, but also vaguely understanding how we've perceived ourselves before walking into another room called the future. It being a weekend, we won't muster up numbers and statistics. Instead we'll go into the heart of the supposedly two-headed creature: two Indias. While much has been made of this Real India-Unreal India (?) divide, the truth is that it is us, pretend- or otherwise pundits, who draw that thick line between the have-nots and the haves.
There are many, many more striations that divide the haves from the have-nots, the have-lots from the have-bits, the have-not-so-much-at-alls from the not-have-that-muches, from the...you get the picture. But human as we are, we prefer the nice, neat duality that divides a Bangalore software executive from a Nandigram farmer — or should we also include the difference between a farmer in Punjab and Ratan Tata. We got you confused, didn't we?
But confusion is the name of the game. Because the other truth is that while there is a road accident or a riot or a victim of caste bigotry, there is also a Rakhi Sawant whining about losing a dance competition or much hulabaloo about a 'friendship' between an ex-Chief Minister and a Pakistani journalist or a humiliating defeat for India in cricket. And both are taking place, affecting us at the same time. What we might be trying to say here in a rather fluffy, airy-fairy way (the only way these days that a message can get carried across; ask the spiritualwallas and the management gurus) is that there are serious things and there are frivolous things, both as genuinely 'India' as they come.
So sitting down on the last Saturday of the year, the trick is to actually first enjoy the frivolities that life in 2008 will surely provide and take note of the serious bits and yet know that both are part and parcel of Real India. This is not media studies-speak being spouted here but taking note of what actually happens and what actually is perceived by everyone, whether it was in 2006, in 2007 or in 2008.