Santa Claus has just left after popping down the chimney with gifts. Now we have Anna Claus bringing more cheer. Now while tempers may run high in the parliamentary debate on the lokpal, outside the economy in places has got a much-needed boost with the action around Anna Hazare's fast.
While poor Anna may not be able to ingest a morsel, the happy campy people who have gathered in support are not holding back on food and drink to dispel the chill. And local vendors are laughing all the way to the bank when they would otherwise have seen customers decrease due to the cold and the drop in business at the year-end We have a lot to thank Anna for. As the year ends, we editorial writers are normally reduced to scrounging around for issues to bring to you, but this year round we are a contented lot. Anna is keeping us in business as much as he is doing with tent-makers, mattress-sellers, local transporters and sundry other purveyors of goods and services. Then there is also the festive factor. There is nothing we Indians love more than a mela, look at how we take so enthusiastically to the streets to celebrate everything from Ganesh Chaturthi to Valentine's Day. So the Anna fast is also an occasion for those who might not be conversant with the overflow of amendments sought in the Lokpal Bill, but will come along just for the merriment and energy of the occasion.
In fact, in times to come, we might even commemorate this event. In the old days in parts of Canada and the US, indigenous people would throw a potlatch to give a fillip to slack economic conditions. A village or person would throw a gigantic feast and people would come from far and wide, energising the economy. The Annafest could be seen as a desi version of the potlatch. We still don't know what the outcome of the Bill will be, but leaving aside Anna and his gang and many politicians, it sure has put a smile on the faces of many who would otherwise have been nursing year-end blues. This is a thought we should hold fast to for the moment.