By Vatsala Mamgain Jan. 02, 2017
Slow down a little bit, 2017 – in the good parts, the happy parts, the cake-eating parts. The others, you have my blessings to do your usual weirdass shit.
It’s nice to finally be on the other side of 2016. This is the side that in India is popularly known as the bekkside, a technical term meaning bum, which brilliantly and accurately describes 2016 – an arse of a year. The best thing that one can say about 2016 is that it gave us Pokémon Go which helped acquaint children all over the world with something they had never encountered before – the outdoors. That apart it’s been a train wreck of a year as we all know. (For a ready reckoner of its putridness see here and here and here.)
Looking ahead, other than the prayer of wanting the New Year to be nothing like the parent that birthed it, here then are my hopes and dreams for 2017.
My first and most sincere wish for 2017 is that it reacquaint me with one of the things closest to my heart, the thing that 2016 has so cruelly torn me away from – my own money. I hope to renew my acquaintance with my dosh, moolah, money, my precioussss. And I hope that in the coming year, we can become friends again. And that I can be trusted to earn it, spend it, lose it, gift it, handle and manhandle it, stuff it down my sock or my bra, to deposit it and withdraw it, in whichever denominations I like, not just in multiples of non-prime numbers divisible by 13 and to not have to fill out a form in triplicate while standing in a long queue on one foot singing the theme tune of Naagin in a soulful voice to the RBI governor in order to earn the privilege to do so. If 2017 can grant me that, it’s already looking like the best year ever.
The other thing I hope 2017 gives us all is a new volume knob. In all the kerfuffle about everything else that’s been going on in this world, our volume setting seems to have gone all awry, so all we seem to be doing is yelling at one another. This shrieking seems to be at its shrillest when it claims to be for the voiceless, which of course is rich irony for those who like it (me, I prefer tiramisu). Of course the cacophony is not limited only to occasions of disagreement or anger, we have good naturedly begun to conduct our everyday business of living and loving at a pitch that is causing dolphins to stab their brain stems with coral, in an attempt to down the infernal din emanating from us. A volume knob would therefore be quite handy and while my own volume setting is quite prefect, thank you very much, I know of a few people whose knobs I would like to turn right off. (NOT PERFECT?? HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST MY PITCH AND VOLUME IS ANYTHING BUT??)
Also, wouldn’t it be nice if 2017 gave us a little more sense of balance? Everyone, who like me, is trying their best to juggle jobs, loans, families, health, the state of ones significant relationships, squishy sweet but ruinously expensive children, a fondness for good food and drink, expanding waistlines, milestone celebrations, the state of the world, the melting Polar ice caps, low-grade depression, a dark sense of humour, and a rich sense of the ridiculous could do with it too. So while a wish for a sense of proportion, poise, or inner equanimity to deal with life and its pressures would be lovely, I fear it’s too evolved to be of much immediate use to someone like me. So my wish for 2017 is much more humble, that it be a year in which the perpetual struggle to keep so many balls up in the air is imbued more with the grace of dancers than the comic timing of circus clowns.
Time to do all the things I resolve to do every year, things that I would absolutely get to if entire years didn’t just Usain Bolt past me.
On a related note, I don’t know if anyone else has noticed how time has become all funny and elastic. Apart from when I am in the dentist’s chair, (or practically all of 2016 – which was a dentist’s chair sort of year all around), time seems to be racing. I have barely finished writing thoughtful tips to some of the people who populate my social-media timeline on where they can shovel their ideas that an entire day has passed. If I close my eyes to take a nap, sometimes an entire summer is gone.
Apart from the fact that it is seriously interfering with my ability to keep any of the aforementioned balls up in the air (apart from the beer-shaped ball, that one’s doing great), I am also developing tinnitus from the sounds that entire years make as they whoosh past me. So what I would adore is for 2017 to just give me time. Time to do all the things I resolve to do every year, things that I would absolutely get to if entire years didn’t just Usain Bolt past me. Things like becoming a better human being or having the nervous breakdown I have been pencilling in for myself for many years but simply don’t have the time for or finally completing my lifelong research on exactly how many aloo parathas one can eat before looking like one. So slow down a little bit, 2017 – in the good parts, the happy parts, the cake-eating parts. The others, you have my blessings to do your usual weirdass shit.
My other dream for the new year is more terror. Obviously not of the today-there-was-a-terror-attack-in-Uri variety, but of the butt-clenching-I-am-going-to-empty-the-contents-of-my-bowels-everywhere variety. The sort that strikes every time we do new things, things we don’t usually do, travel roads we haven’t travelled before, the sort of terror that accompanies risks and challenges and novelty and exploration. While in my experience, the usual response to terror like this is mostly abject failure and a pile of shit, but a few blessed times exhilaration, creativity, innovation (and unlimited bragging rights) have resulted. So my hope for 2017 is that we all come face to face with more fear, adventure, and novelty, and can respond with more originality and freshness and imagination.
And finally, to end, here’s a list of smaller stuff I wish 2017 has in store – the dreamlets and hopelets that would make this a very happy new year indeed:
1) That, this year, the act of breathing isn’t just a long-drawn form of suicide. That by some miracle we can comprehend and can act upon the realisation that breathable air is the least and not the last thing we owe ourselves.
2) That we all eat more of the things that make us happy and nourish our souls. Meals with laughter and joy, with friends and family, food that makes us glad to be alive. May 2017 be full of the food of joy and the joy of food for all of us.
3) Idiots are everywhere, but fixing their idiocy is not our problem. I’d like this to be 2017’s gift to us. Well ok, to me. Because I’m sure you are smart and understand this already, but for someone of my impressive level of bossiness this is a concept I find impossible to fathom. While not engaging in direct headbutts with all the idiots who populate my life will require a complete personality transplant, I am hopeful that this new year will steer me gently but surely in the direction of not leaping in to meddle and pulling up everyone’s IQ to double digits by means of reaching in through their nasal passages.
4) Finally and most importantly, I hope in 2017 we see fewer mason jars everywhere except where they are supposed to be – in kitchen cabinets. If I never see one more drink with a precious name or one more layered dessert or one more dish plated in a mason jar (or mason-jarred in a mason jar if you want to get technical), I figure that will be a year on earth well spent.
On that deep and spiritual note, have a great 2017 everyone.