Saturday, December 17, 2005

New Year

At the end of every year, the Media does us all a huge favour by over analyzing how every year goes by. They replay the rapes, the scams, the wars, the calamaties, the killings, the lootings and the bomb blasts.At the fag end of the year, journalists with their plastic smiles (or in a deeply concerned voice) wish us a happy new year and sincerely hope that the next year will turn out to be good.

By some curious mischance if things actually turn out to be good, half the journalists in this world would have to be sacked. Things have come to a point where nothing is considered news unless its bad news. People who know me well think that I am an eternal pessimist. I think I am just being realistic. I know its December 31st, you dont have to work tomorrow, just another excuse for you to party all night, drink to your liver's content and get high. But thats not going to make your new year any happier. You will invariably wake up late afternoon on the 1st with a really nasty hangover.An indication for the ordeals awaiting you in the coming 364 days.

So lets be objective about 2006 and not succumb to a night's partying and foolishly think that the New Year is going to be all honey and sugar. The best way to forecast anything is look at historical data and look for trends.Have you heard of the adage "History repeats itself". Offlate its been repeating itself with amazing regularity.

Do you know in 1981, Prince Charles married, England won the Ashes series, Liverpool were league champions and the Pope died. 2005 wasn't any different. I hope you see where I am going with this.

So my predictions for the next year.

1.Jihadis will continue with their painstaking efforts in teaching all infidels a lesson. Infidels: Anyone, it can be a Professor, a pregnant woman catching the train to meet her doctor, an office worker busily punching his keyboard trying to add a few more dollars to his company's coffers. Bush will continue his quest of finding Weapons of Mass Destruction. He might have to ocassionaly kill thousands of civilians. There will be some lives lost, but its all for the greater good of aMericANKIND or America's safety. Michael Moore and the rest of Bush's detractors will make movies,write columns,conduct surveys and opinion polls on how useless Bush is.

2.Mother Nature has been unwinding herself in too many ways in the last few years.I really do not know why Nature wants to expedite our passage to doomsday when we ourselves are furiously at work, constantly thinking of new ways to self destruct. So that gives rise to this multiple choice question,
Will 2006 bring us.....
A. An Earthquake
B. Flash floods
C. A Tsunami
D. A Hurricane/Cyclone
E. All of the above

3.Politicians will continue to be caught in compromising positions on Candid Camera. Scams of all sorts will be unearthed. We have already seen a gamut, from guns to fodder to coffins to something as simple as asking questions. So what if we cannot send a man to the moon, our politicans will continue to be imaginative and explore unchartered territories in their own way.

4. The media will continue targeting celebrities and will go beyond the call of duty to find out who sleeps with whom. Big B will end up doing 30 odd films. Rajnikanth will feature in another blockbuster. Vijay fans will continue lapping up his 5 gaana songs, 3 fights and mother/sister sentiments. Malika Sherawat will better her record of 17 kisses on screen.Tear inducing soap operas and artificial reality shows will register high TRP ratings.The Australian cricket team will beat the crap out of everybody. Federer, if he is out of form, will win 2 out of the 4 slams. If he is on song then he will go on to win 3 out of 4 slams.

5. The sexually starved Indian urban male will strike once again in one of the Indian Metros.The media will go bonkers for 3 days. They will ask all sorts of questions to all sorts of people about the lack of respect for women in this country. While the media play the role of crusaders, there will be 100s of women silently suffering a similar plight in the remotest corners of India. Think about it "Rape in Pallipalayam" does it sound newsworthy? "Call center employee raped in Banglore" now thats what is going to keep you tuned to your TV set in between all the cola and tooth paste commercials.

6. India will continue to be extremely concerned about moral degeneration of its society by pointing fingers at tennis players wearing short skirts and actresses expressing their opinions on premarital sex.Police officers who took 2 decades to catch Veerapan will continue to "do their duty" by roaming beaches, parks, restaurants and hotels by castigating couples for walking/sitting/standing together.Self righteous journos will splash pictures of men and women in private parties on their newspapers to sell a few extra copies.

Now to the other routine things,

Petrol and Gas prices will increase.
There will be some train accidents and Lalu will set up an enquiry commission as usual.
CTS, Infosys and TCS will hire thousands of people.
Its too early to say if Sania will win a slam but she is sure to get a couple of fatwas.
Some movie will run into troubles with the censor board or a religious outfit for inaccurately representing minorities.
Delhi will become dhilli (remember chennai,kolkota and bengaluru).
The Indian cricket selectors will be just as enigmatic as they have been all these years.

So after carefully reading newspapers, magazines and watching news channels all these years I can confidently say that 2006 is going to be like any other year.

The grass is green and the roses are red....
Hoping against hope, Happy New Year!

10 Comments:

Blogger karthik durvasula said...

how are u any different from all the newspapers u were talking about? u seemed to be talking about sad things too!!

don't agree with the tone of sadness, or even worse the tone of helplessness, in ur post. agree with u to the extent that those are the things we need to consider to improve.

and no, things won't as bad as they were last year. things will improve. it just takes a long time for us to realise they are. every penny we collect for the needy, every minute 'those great people' spend in saving others' lives, helps in improving our lives.

yes, i am to blame as much as anyone else. if we really cared about all these things we wouldn't be 'posting' stuff on it. we might actually be doing something more constructive. i am not in anyway (even indirectly) pointing fingers at u, kumar. the problem is with all of us. i remember the phrase 'armchair philosophers' - it fits us perfectly. we want to be seen as intellectuals without having to bear the burden of actually having to do anything about it. (sadly, this very post appears to be doing what i have just condemned).

all that said, the least we can do is to look to the future with hopeful eyes.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Sriramkrishnan said...

[KUMAR]

When one looks at the history of the world, things have changed ... one cannot say that they have changed all for the better or all for the worse, but I for one do believe that the general trend has been for the better and it is no different for India.

Expecting 2006 to be different from 2005 is foolishness. Even rapid change is never that rapid and only great upheavals seem to bring great good and we will see more upheavals this year. How we face them and adapt to them will decide what our state of living will be many years down the line.

This is neither blind hopelessness nor blind faith.This is the reality, the flux we live in.

[DK]

Regarding your point of arm chair philosophy - perhaps its not necessary to be so harsh on yourself. Perhaps the first step in helping the world is helpful one self and I think that's what most people are doing. Each person has his own level of contentment that he must reach before he is able to do something for someone else. Expecting people to be charitable before that is again unreasonable. Of course the problem is that most people never reach this level or keep raising the bar, but such is the hard life.

2:13 PM  
Blogger pagala'k' said...

kumar. the problem is with all of us. i remember the phrase 'armchair philosophers' - it fits us perfectly. we want to be seen as intellectuals without having to bear the burden of actually having to do anything about it.

I know whatever you are not in anyway indirectly pointing fingers at me. I would still like to say that the fact that you or me not being able to do something constructive shouldnt prevent us from commenting on such issues. If I want people to appreciate my intellectual skills I would prefer them to enjoy my stories. This post was solely intended to give vent to my frustrations. Its about the futility of saying happy new year when we know tough times are ahead.

So all that being said, I think you are taking yourself too seriously. What do you think I can do about some jobless cleric issuing fatwas? What do you think you or I can do anything about a Tsunami, the best I can do is donate some money. People come up with arguments like, what do you know about pain and suffering,you sit in an airconditioned office signing checks far away from the filth and suffering. All I can say is that thats the best I can do and I am happy if it remotely helps someone. You just cant turn into Mother Teresa one fine day. Imagine a world filled with such idealists, people who tirelessly work to make this world a better place to live in. They would require support from you and me.Your argument of donating money for helping one kid study wont be of any use because you will never be able to get rid of illiteracy in this world is lame.

Probably the sarcasm wasnt obvious in this post. The point is we are never going to get to see happy things on TV and magazines. If someone in 2150 is going to replay tapes of NDTV he would think his ancestors led sad and depressing lives. The only happiness that I experience is on a personal level. You can call me materialistic and overtly sentimental, but its the little things like me getting a job, me graduating, my baby niece, catching up with long lost friends, getting tickets to watch a good movie, reading a great book and people saying that my stories are good and I look handsome :D.

This post commented on all the things that may not impact me directly but are still sad. Try googling "operation majnu" and you would know. It happened in uttarpradesh and I cant file a writ and take the Uttarpradesh police to court. So why should I write about it when I cant do something about it? I am human and I am unhappy about it and I use this as a medium to vent my frustrations.

I do understand your point. People dont react as long as they get affected. It makes for interesting discussion at cocktail parties. But I beg to differ. I agree I am not the kind of guy who is a revolutionary. And what if I am a revolutionary? Who am I to revolt against- the Jihadis, the sexually starved Indian urban male, bad roads no electricity?

Things were much simpler in the 30s, when we had the most basic of things to fight for- Freedom. Things are different now, I can vote the coming elections and I can write a long letter listing my woes to the municipal office.Thats the only thing the "established" world lets me do.

I am the average powerless law abiding (for the most part) citizen who doesnt mind standing in long queues, the guy who looks for a dustbin to dispose his plastic cup. And I want everyone to be like me and until that happens I will continue to write about things that irk me.

Probably I can take things into my own hands, become an activist or a politician. I dont have the necessary skills for the latter. But as Sriram pointed out I have some responsibilities to fulfill in my personal life. So this armchair realist until then will try to do whatever he can.

11:44 PM  
Blogger karthik durvasula said...

As usual, I am not sure we are talking about the same thing here. will let it pass this time. part of my new year resolution is to let the losers suffer :D. all that aside, i did like your jab at amitabh bachhan, and a couple of others in there.

on a more serious note, what is this - 'for the most part'. please explain!!! i am interested. lol.

we should talk sometime ijjit. been too long.

4:48 AM  
Blogger Sriramkrishnan said...

Dear Kumar

I once again refer you to my answer which I have reproduced under under [DK]. I do agree with most of what you have written. Happiness can only be found at a personal level and in doing so you are not doing anything wrong. This is not to mean I disagree with anything else you or DK have said. Only that I will try and make a few points regarding your apparent state of hopelessness and conflict.

I am myself very often depressed to the point of wanting of wanting to just drop everything and leave, become an ascetic ... but is that possible, become an activist ... but is that practical. In fact for the most part,such thought is escapism of the worst kind.

On the other hand, if you do sit in a comfortable chair and sign checks as you say and give money and do the little things that matter to those around you, IMHO you are in fact doing the world great good. Mind you people will criticize you whether you do that little bit or not - if you don't have a job , people will criticize you, If you don't have an air conditioned job, then also they will, if you are a charitable person, they will question your motives and if you aren't they will point fingers at you. My point is, should you let your inner feelings be dictated by these outer impulses, however strong they may be.

Do whatever your needs require. The only important thing is that you do not let your personal responsibilties overwhelm you so that you become blind to the world at large. Do also what you feel you need to do for others when you can.

We do live in a very horrible world, but remember also that the world is the mirror through which we see ourselves. If we give up hope, we stand no chance of changing anything around us and our actions will be hopeless. We will never be able to grasp the chance to make a difference.

On the other hand with hope, with clarity of thought, you will have clarity of expression and action. You will be able to see how you can make a difference , however small -- but most importantly , having once seen it, you will be able to go ahead and do it.

As you say, you can do nothing about a tsunami --- but you CAN donate money if you have it. The question is - Have you ? Perhaps in a few days, you will meet a child who has lost his dad and needs 300Rs a month to go to school. The question is, will you then help? Perhaps it wont change the world overnight - in the sense that there will be children who are completely hungry and dying, but any change however small will add up and we as human beings can only do so much.

Have you for a minute imagined how frustrated a Mother Teresa must have been after years of striving when the same scene was repeated over and over again in her midst ? You and I are luckier that we have been spared that drive. This may in fact be our gift.

Also, regarding your point of 2150 etc. If you imagine scenes of our ancestors slaughtering each other -- does that conjure up images of a happier past . It doesn't ! If you think it does, I am afraid, with some reflection you will realize its just not true. But in levels, we are better than they were. This I believe in personally. How does it matter if kids in 2150 say we led a sad life as long as they lead something better than we are leading.

I hope I managed to convey at least something of what I am trying to say. I know I may have digressed largely. Bear with me on that.

Sriram

8:48 AM  
Blogger Kumari said...

My foremost resolution for this year was 'Not to Think' so i shall just say "Happy New Year" to all and disappear quick :p

2:12 PM  
Blogger pagala'k' said...

@ Sriram: As I mentioned in my email, whatever you said makes sense (as long as you are on my side) :D. Yeah, we are much better of than our ancestors. We have managed to bring some sort of order to the way we function. But still sometimes the bueraucracy frustrates which results in people being escapists. Will try to make a conscious effort of being proactive.

@Kumari: You know what, thats the most sensible resolution I have heard :). I hope it doesnt have an effect on your writing.

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Arun said...

kaka...kavalpadadhey...wait till i bcome PM...happy new yr

virumandi

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this is where the Analsyt practices writing his 'Executive Reports' :-)

Speaking of which, you were going to mail one right?

Romit

p.s. Still mad @ you for ruining my year!

9:58 AM  
Blogger pagala'k' said...

@Virumani: Machaan, venaam da. If you become the PM, half of your years in office will be spent saying..."Yennadhu! Yennadhu!"

@Romit: I hope I snet it to the right email id :).

12:45 PM  

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