Every year around the second week of December I land up doing something. I hide under the ample sofa in our living room, and avoid all phone calls. This is done purely in self-defence. You see, every year some bored editor or the other catches me around this time to do a year-ending piece. Why me and not some other renowned writer? Well the answer to that is threefold. Salman Rushdie charges money, Vikram Seth now writes in Chinese, and Saadat Hasan Manto is dead.
This year I did the same. Everything was going to plan. I would have avoided this onerous task (as prickly a task as surviving haemorrhoids whilst riding a camel), but for one unfortunate act of fate. My wife sold the damn sofa!
So now I’ve got to figure out what all transpired from January this year and hell I can’t even remember what I ate yesterday. How old my kids are. And if I have any kids in the first place.
I would like to begin though by telling you to sit back, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a roller coaster of a ride. But since we all live in India we all know this would be a complete untruth. Nobody wears seatbelts in this country. Besides, if I suggest to you what to do and you decide to answer me, this being a print medium this ordeal would go on for months!!!
Okay let’s start at the very beginning. April. See I’d like to go back to January, February and what’s that month after February? Whatever! Let’s all agree to start with April.
April had the two most humane, compassionate and sensitive movements of the entire year. The IPL and the General Elections. The good news was both were well attended and covered. The other news: Navjot Sidhu featured in both.
The Congress was supposed to decimate the BJP, a party devoid of stars. After all Narendra Modi had the 2002 stain. Rajnath Singh seemed to be better placed for MTV Roadies. Sushma Swaraj had been relegated to the back bench and no one had informed LK Advani that there was a general election in the first place and that he would have to abdicate.
The massacre that followed was loosely based on the charge of the Light Brigade. There 600 perished. Here it was the Congress, so the basic difference being the Light Brigade was better dressed. However, there is a plausible explanation for the rout. It wasn’t that the Congress were unprepared; they were fully prepared, in fact, but only for the elections of 2024 ... er, by which time I should once more have a sofa.
To explain this huge voter consciousness and political turnaround in a sense one needed only to look at a three-word explanation. Maybe India Sucks! Whether she continues to suck or gets better only time and some other sofaless guy will tell. As for the IPL, it must never be discussed again not because of the quality of the cricket or the match fixing controversy, but because of its terrifying programmes before, during and after each match.
This brings me to the Devyani Khobragade work-visa-for-housekeeper controversy. The US of A threw the said lady out of the country, some say on the housekeeper visa, more say because they couldn’t pronounce her last name. However truth be told (and this is the first time I’m doing this article), this small incident nearly forced India to wage war on the US. The idea was only put away when India realised that if she did so, we would never have Modi In Madison Square Garden. Which would later have the same impact as Simon and Garfunkel on Central Park.
Somewhere in the first half of the year the unthinkable happened. Er ... no, India didn’t win a Test match abroad, but the Sahara Shree was actually arrested. His bail amount was set at the exact same amount as the GDP of a West European nation. So far he’s still in as France has refused to pay.
And as someone who travelled to Malaysia in 2013, we were stunned at the disappearance of MH 370. And, we in India are used to disappearances. Our black money disappears, our candidates disappear, sometimes our rights disappear as well. At last count, the blame game hasn’t abated: 127 countries, 3 oceans and 4 continents have been accused in this tragedy.
Good news! In March, India was declared polio free. Sadly, dysentery, diarrhoea, corruption, apathy, listlessness, sycophancy and nepotism free may take a while. Still also in that month before April, Putin annexed Crimea. He gave 3 reasons: 1) He felt like it; 2) Because it’s there; 3) What Crimea? Never heard of it.
In April, India had her greatest moment as a democracy since Rakhi Sawant quit reality TV. Yes, you are right, the Supreme Court recognised the rights of transgenders.
Also Andhra Pradesh was split into Telangana and AP .Thus instantly solving the erstwhile AP’s entire gambit of problems. Jobs are now available to everyone. Health, education, civic security, and infrastructure are guaranteed. Meanwhile, in undivided Mumbai I still didn’t have my sofa.
June was declared a holiday for us to enjoy the pinnacle of man’s evolution. Football. The World Cup brought the beautiful game to the world and most beautiful people. The question on everybody’s mind was what will happen sooner: A congress government or India at a Fifa World Cup? For now, India’s best chance of playing is if Reliance or the Tatas sponsor the World Cup.
July was the Union budget. And since I can’t remember it at all, there wasn’t much change. Pun intended. And, more importantly, Germany wins!
August brought India her blackest day yet. Kerala announced that bars were to be closed from ... er today. How much lower as a democracy can we go?
Then the Censor Board chief got arrested in a bribery scandal. I don’t see the problem. You pay money to make films and to see films, so why not pay money to clear films?
September brought India’s glory days right back. Our Mass Orbiter mission was successful at first try. Not since Aryabhatta invented the zero did India swell so much with pride.
Now we come to the Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan, which vigorously encouraged all Indians to keep the country clean. So far two Indians have. Sorry just one, the other was apparently playing a practical joke.
As the year ended, the Nobel Peace Prize was shared by an Indian and a Pakistani. This kind of irony makes comedy and comedians redundant. I bow my head.
So that’s the year: new government, new schemes, new promises, new plans ... basically same old, same old. I don’t know about you but me? I would have happily spent the whole year blissfully under my sofa ....Maybe 2016??