It finally happened. While no one was looking. While no one was prepared. While many people were busy with other things. While my neighbour was just trying to find parking. While the West Indies team was trying to find its way home. This year, I believe it’s called 2019, is slipping away from us. It’s in a coma. On its last legs and the doctor’s report is not very encouraging. The end is nigh. 2019 will soon be consigned to history, unlike the Maharashtra state election, which may reappear any time now, as we speak.
However, let’s not do the cliché. The obvious. The stereotypical. What everybody does. What all hacks resort to. Let’s not go through New Year Resolutions. Er…that being said, under the Govt. of India Act, 1937, the one that ends with the line, ‘Mutual Funds are subject to market risks’. It is strongly recommended that all articles in this period do some sort of retrospection. And since it is the pen which is mightier than the sword and not the government which is mightier than the pen, we poor writers have no choice but to adhere to the spirit and tone of the ‘high command’. Also it is tantamount to high treason if ‘New Year Resolution’ is written in any other way, other than in the form of a last will & testament. “I, Cyrus Broacha, also known as Bunty, Choo-choo, and Tik Tok, (this was before TikTok), being of vaguely sound mind, do hereby declare my resolutions for 2020. These resolutions are all on my own accord and have not been forced upon me, although most have been downloaded from the internet. I solemnly swear to abide by these resolutions, although, if truth be told, I am still to stick to any single resolution from past years.
- Malabar Hill Revolutionary: I promise, in 2020, not to take part in any march, strike or collective political activity of protest. This is not because I don’t believe in protest, but because it is very difficult to be a revolutionary if you are born in Malabar Hill. Take last week’s August Kranti march as an example. I ran late because of the traffic jam. Couldn’t find parking. Had to get off far away from the protest and walk. Forgot to carry a cap and a bottle of water. Couldn’t catch WiFi. So tough to kill time while the speeches were going on. Then couldn’t get a signal to call the driver. Finally, after getting a signal, couldn’t make the driver understand under which statue I was standing for the pick-up. So no more protests. From now on I’ll simply write a letter to the concerned party. Or if I want my message to get across, I’ll simply scribble on the walls of a public urinal. Urinals are like an underground Instagram.
- No Such Things As One-Ways: I see bikes have no respect for one-ways. And ever since I accosted a cop who broke the ‘one-way’, only to be told to do the same, I’ve decided to declare all one-ways as two ways in 2020. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. One-ways will be passe in 2020. Welcome to the world of drive in any direction, at any time, that you like. You could, once this gets passed, drive in reverse from one end of Worli Sea Face to another, without a care in the world. Be the very epitome of the highly successful and acceptable anarchist.
- Cancel the Concept of Gifts: Since we Indians love to splurge on our weddings, b’days, openings and sometimes closings, let’s not bill the invitee. After all it’s never the invitee’s idea to get invited to the event. Uptil now, I haven’t called, say a wedding organiser, and asked to be put on the list. I mean it’s not like it’s the NRC list, for God’s sake. Then having being asked to come to ‘your’ b’day party, why should I have to pay a fine in the shape of a gift, or worse still, the on-its-way-to-extinction, cash! In 2020, we as a society must try and rectify our faults. And the poor, hapless attendee having to spend money on an event that is someone else’s idea, must not be penalised in the first place.
- It Should Not Only Happen In Finland: When was the last time, a taxi driver apologised profusely for not being able to ferry you? He’s obviously lying about his mother’s operation, but if he could use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ with an apologetic tone, things would be a lot better. Sadly, this being polite and courteous business only happens in Finland. 2020 is the year, India can become Finland. And, Mumbai can become, er…whatever Finland’s most commercial city is. (Kindly Google that information and place it in the blank space after the bracket). (Here ®) _________.
- Bending Has To Be Re-Learned: Indian public has become too fat. I mean someone had to say it, sooner or later. We’re so fat that if drop something from our hand, none of us want to bend and pick it up, the old-fashioned way. (The old-fashioned way is to bend and pick it up). The other day my friend Anup dropped his phone. It is a Rs 70,000 Apple product. What does he do? Bend and pick it up? No, he uses his foot. Which results in the snazzy phone being kicked around the room, for the next 15 minutes. I did find out later that it was more of a case of phone abuse. Call-drops and no network can bring out the beast in most men I know. Still, he could have done what most decent people would have done, that is, bend down, pick up the phone, fling it at a wall. 2020 is the year to wage the war against laziness. Destroy obesity. Bring bending back.
This is just my list of resolutions and improvements. Things to be worked on in 2020. Mumbai herself, has come a long way. In my grandfather’s youth, Mumbai ended at Shivaji Park. Now thanks to the Kemps Corner mess, Mumbai is forced to end at Pedder Road. Let’s take courage from Rudyard Kipling’s poem. “What If”. This is the first draft of the poem, which is now known as ‘If’. What if we can get though all the government’s shenanigans, the infrastructure debacles, the chronic corruption and the loss of empathy, then you’ll be a Mumbaikar, my son”.
On that positive note, ‘Happy New Year’.
The writer is a comedian, TV anchor, theatre personality, satirist, podcaster and an author.