As we go into 2009, danger lurks on every side. On the one hand the war drums have started beating on our western borders, on another we have a crumbling economy. Stronger-than-usual New Year resolutions are called for. Thankfully, many eminent people have been more than equal to the challenge, as the following resolutions show.
Pranab Mukherjee: I resolve that I shall stop repeating the phrase, "All options are open". Everybody is getting awfully irritated with it. It has started to grate on all our nerves and, delivered with my self-satisfied smirk, has helped ratchet up tensions with Pakistan. In the New Year, I promise to close some options.
Mayawati: My New Year’s resolution is to find new and innovative ways of funding my birthdays. Unfortunately, my older business model isn’t working. My Brahmin advisors have proposed two models. The first of them involves pre-selling birthday rights to distributors in various territories. That way, I am assured of revenues although the distributors may not be able to sell my birthday to ordinary people. The second model is to set up a factory manufacturing large statues of myself which can then be sold to municipalities and panchayats throughout UP.
Asif Ali Zardari: In 2009, I vow to defend Pakistan till the last drop of our blood. Wait a minute, though. When I say our blood, whose blood do I mean — the Army’s, the ISI’s or mine? Defend Pakistan against whom — the Taliban or the ISI or India? What exactly is Pakistan? Who am I? To remove all ambiguity in the last matter, I propose to shortly announce a mega merger between Asif, Ali and Zardari. All three will get an equal share in the merged entity.
Nawaz Sharif: In the year 2009, I shall take a final decision on the following important issues: 1) whether Ajmal Amir Kasav is a Pakistani or not; 2) whether the ISI has cordoned off the village of Faridkot because their top brass is sunbathing there, or whether they have any ulterior motive.
Amar Singh: I resolve to oppose with all my might any donations for Mayawati’s birthday. I shall tell the donors to contribute to Clinton’s birthday instead.
Ramalinga Raju, chairman of Satyam Computer Services: I vow never again to tell anyone I will be using company money to buy assets owned by my family. Such things are best done the discreet old-fashioned way, in the time-honoured traditions of Corporate India.
Krishna Palepu, independent director on the Satyam board and a professor at Harvard Business School whose work has focused on how to make corporate boards more effective: I shall not sleep during board meetings, I shall not sleep during board meetings, I shall not sleep during board…
Vilasrao Deshmukh, ex-chief minister of Maharashtra: In 2009, I propose to star in a movie directed by Ram Gopal Varma to be called Wah, Taj!, with music by Ustad Zakir Husain.
English cricket coach Peter Moores: I will try my best to induct Muntazer Al-Zaidi, the Iraqi shoe-thrower, into the English team. His arm action and the force of his delivery clearly make him superior to all our current bowlers.
Manmohan Singh: My resolution is to get re-elected as Prime Minister in 2009, so that I can break my world record of passing nine Bills in 17 minutes in Parliament. My aim is to pass 60 anti-terror Bills in 60 minutes, a pinnacle of efficiency I’m sure I’ll be able to achieve with a little help from Chidambaram.
Barack Obama: I solemnly resolve to fix the global financial system, end the recession, provide jobs to all, get my troops out of Iraq, win the war in Afghanistan, defuse tensions between India and Pakistan, feed the poor, heal the sick and usher in world peace. Oh, one more thing — I shall also try and walk on water.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint