Question: What kind of person writes columns on New Year’s Eve? Answer: A drunk person. Not that I’m sloshed, of course, it’s just that finding the keys on this keyboard is a bit difficult, because they seem to run into one another. It isn’t my fault they don’t make laptop keyboards like they used to. Besides, the lights in this bar are too dim. Anyho…..just a sec, ah got it, found the damn w, anyhow, there’s an off chance that some people nursing outsize hangovers will nonetheless want to read about the state of the world on the first day of the New Year, god knows why, so here goes.
Let’s start by wrapping up the year gone by, just in case you missed it. Lots of things happened, like they tend to do. There was this thing called the Arab Spring which was very exciting before the Islamists won and it became an Arab winter. In India, there was a lot of stuff about the constitution and corruption and cosmopolitan. No, not the last one, that’s a cocktail with vodka, cranberry juice and triple sec. A Cosmopolitan is very good, although not as good as the Constitution. About corruption, the defining image was of a victorious Anna Hazare breaking his fast by drinking orange juice, although how he managed it beats me, I’ve always found orange juice tastes funny without vodka.
During the year, they did their stuff in politics, with walk outs, scams, rushing to the well of the House and more buck passing than bill passing. Interest rates went up, the stock market tanked, profits plunged and the rupee plummeted. The economy is so unutterably tragic, so ineffably heartbreaking, I feel really awful about it. But do I cry? No sir, maybe a sniffle or a muffled sob sometimes, but no crying. By the way, why is that pink elephant seated across the room glaring at me? The ploody bachyderm is going to get bit with a hottle, if he doesn’t watch it.
Where was I? Oh, I missed out the Japanese disaster, the nuclear catastrophe, the Euro calamity and the American tragedy, not to mention the something cataclysm. I’ve had to hurry along a bit here, because the laptop screen has started to shimmer and flicker and the letters have begun to dance around. Looking at them with one eye closed helps, but not much.
Which brings me to the New Year. What does it herald? Well, when French President Nicholas Sarkozy met German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently, he told her, “white skin-u girl-u girl-u/girl-u heart-u black-u/eyes-u eyes-u meet-u meet-u”. Oh sorry, that’s Kolaveri Di. Anyway, I’m sure he said something encouraging about the European situation. America is going to be fine, but from where I’m sitting, India looks decidedly wobbly, what with the floor sliding around like mad.
Those of you who have got this far will have realised this column is going to make your hangover worse, even with a wet towel wrapped around your throbbing head and in spite of wearing dark glasses. You could instead try pickled sheep’s eyeball in tomato juice, the favourite hangover cure in Mongolia. The ancient Romans believed in raw owl’s eggs or fried canaries to do the job. They must have had incredibly strong stomachs. I would instead recommend Black Velvet, a soothing mix of champagne and Guinness, to put you back in shape. As for me, I can only quote a great poet, “I’m just a little slort of sheep, I’m not drunk like thinkle peep.”
( Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint )
Views expressed by the author are personal