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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: A New Year Fairy Tale…

mumbai Updated: Dec 31, 2018 23:29 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
New year,Malavika's Mumbaistan,Metro

On the first hour of the first day of the New Year, as the first light of the sun’s rays pierced through the sky and there was magic in the air, and one by one, the city’s street urchins, rag-pickers, rat-catchers and the lost and the homeless began to stir, it came to their notice that someone had placed clean and warm blankets over each of them while they had slept at night, and lo and behold, they turned over on their sides, to catch a few more minutes of delicious sleep. For it was the first hour of the first day of the New Year and they wanted nothing more and deserved nothing less…

On the first hour of the first day of the New Year, the man in charge of the city’s Metro construction, awoke from a dream in which he saw a procession of all the trees that he’d ordered to be cut, imploring him to let them live; and lo and behold, he sat down immediately and dictated an official memo to those who toiled under him, ordering them to replant those trees exactly where they’d been before. ‘Leaf for leaf and branch for branch, let’s get them all back’, he wrote. And by the time he arrived at work, the vast empire he presided over was abuzz with excitement, because the news had spread and his offices were filled with delighted and grateful citizens. For it was the first day of the New Year and they wanted nothing more and deserved nothing less…

On the first hour of the first day of the New Year, collectively and spontaneously, all the politicians of all the country’s parties and from every side of the ideological discord, decided to set aside their hostility and their prejudice, their cunning and their strife and fulfil all the promises they’d made to all their electorates for the rest of the coming years. For it was the first day of the New Year and they wanted nothing more and deserved nothing less…

On the first hour of the first day of the New Year, Bollywood’s most celebrated film-maker, known for his cheerful escapist fantasies and OTT song and dance sequences decided to direct a no-star cast film, casting instead, the students of all the unknown and nameless colleges across the land, giving them the chance to perform in his legendary song and dance sequences, so that for once they became the stars of their own fantasies. For it was the first day of the New Year and they wanted nothing more and deserved nothing less…Toodles.

On the first hour of the first day the city’s biggest and most powerful builder, its omnipresent realty tycoon, woke up with the thought that he’d built one too many a tall tower and that they were all so high that he was practically in the Sky. “I think I will have to spend the rest of my time building a ladder to bring me down to earth,” he sighed. And from that day he resolved to never leave sight of the earth again. For it was the first day of the New Year and he wanted nothing more and deserved nothing less…

On the first hour of the first day of the New Year the city’s busiest newscaster, the man who jabbed and prodded and poked and yelled, woke up to the realisation that he had unleashed too many angry words at too many people on too many occasions and that he would have to spend the rest of his life atoning for them. “I have spoken so much that I do not like the sound of my own voice any more. From now it’s quietude and stillness; calm and tranquillity,” he said, before it occurred to him that even those were too many words. For it was the first day of the New Year and he wanted nothing more and deserved nothing less…

On the first hour of the first day of the New Year, India’s cricket team captain and its most revered thespian, decided to bury their differences and promised to get together as soon as possible for a friendly match; all the young men who did dangerous stunts on trains and bikes, decided to put an end to these activities for the sake of their worried mums; a congregation of the country’s biggest debtors, resolved to return the money they owed the banks and in addition, to settle unasked, all the debts of the aggrieved farmers as a measure of their new humanity. “We will return to India, not as fugitives and criminals but as heroes and statesmen,” they said, at a joint press conference. For it was the first day of the New Year and they wanted nothing more and deserved nothing less…

On the first hour of the first day of the New Year, sand miners were seen returning the sand they’d stolen from the city’s beaches; air passengers took a vow to follow rules and not harass, molest, offend or in any way make the lives of air crews any more challenging; bank employees, taxi, pizza delivery boys, beauticians and tailors, took a collective vow to deliver on their promises and sexual predators, crooked accountants, delinquent tax collectors were seen expressing remorse for their ways and seeking forgiveness. For it was the first day of the New Year and they wanted nothing more and deserved nothing less…

On the first hour of the first day of the New Year, the loneliest, angriest man on top of the highest hill, the one who’d built walls, imaginary and real, where there ought to have been bridges, had unleashed hatred and fear where there ought to have been love and compassion and created acrimony where there should have been peace, spontaneously awoke to the feeling that he was tired of it all and that perhaps he had done enough damage for one lifetime and that all that he wanted to do for the rest of his days, was live in peace love and harmony with his fellow beings. For it was the first hour of the first day of the New Year and they wanted nothing more and deserved nothing less…

First Published: Dec 31, 2018 23:29 IST