Opinion Op Ed 30 Dec 2017 Enough of looking ba ...
Irreverent, provocative, opinionated... Shobhaa De has been challenging status quo for four decades... and is at her best when she punctures inflated egoes. Readers can send feedback to www.shobhaade.blogspot.com

Enough of looking back... it’s time to look ahead

Published Dec 30, 2017, 12:31 am IST
Updated Dec 30, 2017, 12:31 am IST
Year after year every publication insists on a neat summing up of the most dramatic events that shook the world.
Elections 2019 will dominate our lives  in direct and  insidious ways.
 Elections 2019 will dominate our lives in direct and insidious ways.

Remember Rajesh Khanna’s immortal lines, “I hate tears...” Well, I hate nostalgia. For me, even someone asking what I had for breakfast bugs me a bit. I am forced to rack my brains and revisit... yes, revisit what? Muesli or poha? What difference does it make? Breakfast is long done. I have enjoyed at least three other meals since. Please ask me what I plan to eat for dinner tomorrow night, and I may display a tad more enthusiasm/interest. My cookie crumbles pretty fast. I am willing to concede I probably suffer from ADS (as most young adults do). This implies two things: I have not grown up and am stuck in my adolescence. I like the future more than the past. Both theories are half-true. Which is why I am shunning this whole tiresome business of providing a convenient checklist on the year that was (2017). It was what it was. It’s dusted and done. Let’s change the topic.

Year after year every publication insists on a neat summing up of the most dramatic events that shook the world. Some undertake this tedious exercise sticking to telling pictures, with crisp captions below them. Others commission a series of essays dividing up the past 12 months into topics as predictable as they are unimaginative and unremarkable. Such as: state of the nation, economic highs and lows, cinema highlights, celebrity weddings/babies/divorces/fights. I love the last section the most. Especially, those thundering spats. This year ended with Virat Kohli marrying Anushka Sharma, exuberantly celebrating the occasion across continents, and Prince Harry putting a ring on Meghan Markle’s finger. I lapped up every tiny detail. I wasn’t as excited tracking Bollywood bachchas born in 2017, though I did notice most of them had green-blue eyes and blond hair. Agents are already looking at signing up the tots. Marketing good-looking showbiz babies has been the biggest social trend of last year. Babies apparently generate a record number of likes, and get the maximum hits on social media. What’s the point of producing a gorgeous bambino if images can’t be flogged? There’s lolly to be made in dem kids. Bollywood has a roster of very photogenic bachchas, who in turn are dominating social media and hogging the limelight. Since airport looks were followed by fashion fanatics with a quasi-religious zeal, even the kiddos were appropriately styled by that tribe, which ensure their clients stay on point each time they arrive and depart from airports. Do these babies wear designer diapers too? Just asking!


2018 is likely to be a rough and tough year politically, not just for India but the rest of the world. I am a great sucker for astro predictions, and read every single astrology column, in search of guidance and clues (of course, you must believe me!). I understand after conducting my own deep research into what those heavenly bodies foretell, that we will be gearing up for a Mahabharat-style epic battle soon. In other words, Elections 2019 will dominate our lives in direct and insidious ways. Yes, the temple will be built. Yes, the BJP will win. Again. Yes, Rahul Gandhi will remain a bridesmaid, never the bride. The big worry is this: if the BJP has been seriously shaken by the far from dazzling performance in Gujarat, will the party turn more aggressive? More vicious? Will the screws get tightened on assorted freedoms? Will we have to gear ourselves to absorb more pain with little gain? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. But it is also being experienced on the ground. There is talk of a new version of the notorious Emergency being imposed by another name. There is also talk of various constitutional tweaks taking place under different guises. Of course, plenty of sops will also get thrown our way. Something has to be done to apply balm on the deep scars inflicted by demonetisation and the GST imbroglio. What might those be? Take a guess. Traders and farmers remain agitated. The natives are restless. And getting more so. Rousing speeches are not doing the trick. We need more rabbits in that hat.


I am clapping my hands in anticipation. Something major is required to show citizens who’s de boss! Generally, this means staging a war. Yudh is a safe-fallback option, when all else fails. The madman in North Korea may start one — just for fun. The other madman in North America could join the fun. If that sounds apocalyptic, it is! Closer to home, aggro sounds are being made, with a great deal of sabre-rattling going on. The borders remain tense. And the Valley knows no peace. It’s business as usual, folks. Come on, someone, do something. Find a bride for Pappu. India needs distraction. Reality is a bitch.


Have a gorgeous 2018, readers.