Humour by Rehana Munir: All hail the month that doesn’t judge

Published on Nov 19, 2022 02:40 AM IST

We’re now ensconced between Diwali and Christmas, living in the sweet spot between doing and being, remembering and forgetting, promising and betraying

The penultimate month of the year brings with it relief from the heat and the promise of a better future (Hexcode)
The penultimate month of the year brings with it relief from the heat and the promise of a better future (Hexcode)
ByRehana Munir

We’re now ensconced between Diwali and Christmas, living in the sweet spot between doing and being, remembering and forgetting, promising and betraying. October was a time for wistfulness; December is the season for regression; and January will predictably bring about a rude revival of our collective conscience, signalled by the desperate renewal of gym subscriptions, diet plans and professional ambitions. For now, it’s enough to slip under the radar, lost in reverie, allowing ourselves to float in that special November air (unless you’re in Delhi) that makes no demands and expects no obedience.

God, for a man that solicits insurance!

If only it were that simple. I’ve recently been chased by an insistent insurance agent; the more he tries to sell me an insurance renewal, the farther I feel from health. I realise, of course, that this is not (all) his fault, even though the urgency of his calls can only be rivalled by that of Ravi Shastri’s voice in the commentary box when Virat Kohli is blazing on the field.

What I want is someone who will accurately predict every medical eventuality for the rest of my days, offer me a health plan I cannot refuse and disappear from my life completely. Except, this renewal business comes up every November, making me feel like I have to take control of uncontrollable things. I blame my education; arts majors know the value of everything and the price of nothing, to flip a popular adage. I go back, reliably, to a favourite poet—Dorothy Parker.


Authors and actors and artists and such

Never know nothing, and never know much.

Sculptors and singers and those of their kidney

Tell their affairs from Seattle to Sydney.

Playwrights and poets and such horses’ necks

Start off from anywhere, end up at sex.

Diarists, critics, and similar roe

Never say nothing, and never say no.

People Who Do Things exceed my endurance;

God, for a man that solicits insurance!

Darshan at Mannat

Entitled brat that it is, December is already making extravagant claims on our time and emotions, headlined by reunions and excursions that one is never adequately prepared for. And that’s the best thing about November. The penultimate month of the year, it’s the last chance before the last chance. Things began thoughtfully with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, when the departed were remembered with flowers and prayers. My morning walk through St. Andrew’s Church in Bandra, originally built in 1575, is always slightly guilty, sidestepping graves in the churchyard and avoiding the eyes of mass attendees inside. But the payoff is always immense. Nothing prepares you for a new day among the living like a walk through the realm of the grateful dead.

Shah Rukh Khan’s birthday was no less a neighbourhood feast, with Mannat drawing cheering crowds I admittedly joined in the hope of being in the right place at the right time. But, of course, I had to make do with widely shared videos that captured the moment—the black tee evening darshan, and the white tee morning one—which made me renew my longstanding ambition to watch DDLJ at Maratha Mandir.

’90s liturgy

Tata Lit Live is an annual festival that I’ve come to look forward to, despite an aversion to literary events in general; “Best to meet in poems” as Eunice de Souza wrote in Meeting Poets. A mid-November event conducted at NCPA in Nariman Point and Title Waves bookshop in Bandra, it temporarily steals the cultural crown from Delhi, with readers and writers posing for Insta stories with bookish hashtags and illuminated smiles.

For a different kind of fan experience—read black tees, foaming beer, banging heads and widespread sneers—I-Rock returned after a nine-year-long hiatus earlier this month, making its debut at Princess Dock, Mazgaon. Speaking of Indian rock legends, I recently discovered a fact about the Indian Ocean’s 2000 hit, Kandisa, on Wikipedia, which has blown my elder-millennial mind: the song is written “in Aramaic-East Syriac, which is used in the liturgy of the Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala.” No wonder we never understood a single word while singing it lustily through our misspent teens! The ’90s are now returning to me in an unstoppable musical stream. Cue Slash’s guitar solo from November Rain.

Follow @rehana_munir on Twitter and Instagram

From HT Brunch, November 19, 2022

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