Humour by Rehana Munir: Resolutions for the world-weary

It’s all too much anyway, so why not resolve not to excel but exhale? Especially with the pandemic still around
It’s that time of the year, where one makes and breaks resolutions, all with the best intentions (Parth Garg)
It’s that time of the year, where one makes and breaks resolutions, all with the best intentions (Parth Garg)
Published on Jan 08, 2022 10:59 PM IST
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ByRehana Munir

What’s a new year without the sweet delusion of resolutions? Here’s where we collectively contemplate a character overhaul but end up with a shiny new fitness product, quite-questionable haircut and poorly-made wardrobe decision instead. Personally, it’s great to be approaching the end of the phase, marked by a bunch of my friends and I entering our fourth decade. Oh, the tyranny of 40 and all the little and big demands it makes!

Which way to the biryani?

“Nothing succeeds like excess.” The pandemic era, perversely conjoining with my initiation into the forties, has attested to this much-nibbled nugget of Wildean wisdom. And so, the last two years have been an exercise in immoderation. The recurring apocalypse has steered my betters towards noble pursuits and a superhuman inclination to excel. I’ve, meanwhile, confronted disaster and destruction by never straying too far from my bed, a book and some biryani. Now, as we step gingerly into another masked year, I can claim a spot on any ‘40 Under 40’ list of the well-rested, well-read and well-fed.

A New Year’s resolution common to all of humanity—or that little segment privileged to engage with such amusing concepts—concerns what we eat. As someone who tries hard never to skip a meal and easily achieves the target, I don’t have much to attain here. I do, however, crave the simplicity of a time when friends gathered around a festive table and ate whatever it was that the host laid out. A time when allergies meant a serious health condition and not a minor aversion. When we filled our plates with chicken, potatoes and veggies and not protein, carbs and fibre. Bring back poetry in the new year, I say!

It’s complicated

I have a friend who refused to upgrade her phone for the longest time: “I want to be the smart one in the relationship,” was her contention. That age of innocence is sadly long past. A smartphone is now simply a cell phone, and it’s impossible to tell whether our deep dependence on it is a matter of technological advancement or psychological impoverishment. I’ve stared at my phone screen a few times (the present-day version of staring into the abyss) while typing out this paragraph, hoping for unspecified good news. It follows that one must take measures.

Deleting social media accounts is a much-touted wellness hack of our times, ironically evangelised on social media. But I’m someone who finds it hard to leave even a defunct WhatsApp group; staying quiet for all eternity seems like a gentler option. Hearing friends hold forth on the toxicity of FB and Instagram, only to return to the platforms a few days or weeks later, is perversely entertaining. We’re all in a complicated relationship with our digital selves; I sometimes wonder whether I’d recognise my Instagram avatar if I saw it walking down the street. Consequently, I solemnly resolve to be as authentic on social media as my mood, and the general circumstances, allow me to be.

Down with doomscrolling

Any life coach will tell you how placing people at the centre of our lives is intrinsic to our well-being. Ok, not life coach, but an ad for a healthy cooking oil. The point is, people matter, no matter how cool it is to label oneself a misanthrope. While we go about setting down resolutions to live better, we’re also responding to those around us and their own such needs. Now that I’ve dug myself into a life coach-shaped hole, I might as well mutter a philosophical quote from revolutionary American writer James Baldwin, and be done with it: “We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human being as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope.”

We’re almost at the end of the page and I haven’t yet made a list. (Insert ‘listlessness’ joke here.) But here’s a feeble attempt, in no particular order: Be more patient with friends who doomscroll and share their gory findings. Be less afraid of phone calls. Read Ulysses. Learn how to use a pressure cooker, give pep talks that don’t begin with “We’re all going to die anyway…”, drape a sari, keep a plant alive, sing at least one karaoke song passably. How’s that for ambition?

Follow @rehana_munir on Twitter and Instagram

From HT Brunch, January 9, 2022

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022