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Year and there

You're probably busy weighing all those onions and tomatoes you have received from thoughtful well-wishers along with the season's greetings, but I must remind you that the end of the year is not just a time for counting vegetables, it's also a time for looking at the lessons we have learnt this year.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2010 23:00 IST
Manas Chakravarty

You're probably busy weighing all those onions and tomatoes you have received from thoughtful well-wishers along with the season's greetings, but I must remind you that the end of the year is not just a time for counting vegetables, it's also a time for looking at the lessons we have learnt this year.

The most important thing I learnt in 2010 was about the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). I was under the impression that a JPC was a select smokers' group set up by our lawmakers to consider legalising joints, or cigarettes containing marijuana. That accounted for my vociferous initial support for a JPC.

Sadly, I now know a JPC has nothing to do with joints, but is instead an opportunity for politicians to play at being detectives. That promises to be fun. But I see no reason why they should probe telecom licences only from 2001. While they're at it, why not start at the beginning and probe the whole thing comprehensively right from Alexander Graham Bell?

And surely, if the politicians care about the aam aadmi, they should also look into the onion price rise, especially when a foreign hand has made such huge profits by exporting to us. Throw in the little-known fact that onions are a miracle fat burner and very clearly, the increase in onion prices is a sinister conspiracy aimed at making us obese.

There's also something suspicious about what's happening to garlic. Considering that garlic repels vampires, could the undead, perhaps the Pakistani undead, be behind the rise in garlic prices? Only a JPC can get to the bottom of this.

We learned to be careful of what we say on the phone this year. With phones being tapped, e-mails being leaked and twitterers losing their jobs, the obvious lesson is that we should communicate either by smoke signals, or by morse code. You could always claim that when you signalled SOB, you actually meant SOS.

Thanks to the spectrum scam, we now know that the safest way to distribute resources is to auction them on eBay. And thanks to the Commonwealth Games, we are all aware the price rise in vegetables is trifling compared to that in umbrellas.

We know President Obama's slogan is now 'No, we can't' instead of 'Yes, we can' — no, we can't afford comprehensive healthcare, no we can't afford to tax the rich, no we can't pull out our troops. Everybody knows that Osama's boring videos scare no one and it's time for him to talk to Ms Radia for an image makeover.

We know that Shakira was the top scorer in the football World Cup, with Paul the Octopus a close second. Julian Assange now knows that while leaks are good, leaky condoms are bad. Nitish Kumar has proved beyond doubt that gifting bicycles to girls is a good way to win elections.

But the really big discoveries of 2010 were the finding of cosmic radiation older than the Big Bang and the capturing of antimatter atoms. The most amazing thing about quantum physics is that a particle can be at two places at the same time. In 2010, a largish particle called Mamata Banerjee took giant steps toward that objective, yo-yoing madly between New Delhi and Kolkata.

And perhaps the most important thing we learned this year is that in this wonderful land of ours, if a doctor dedicates his life to serving the country's poorest tribals, he's likely to be jailed for treason. The lesson for young doctors: stick to cosmetic surgery.

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. The views expressed by the author are personal.