(This satirical column was published in DNA edition dated January 1, 2010.)
Sociologists and economists predict that 2010 will be a “Goldilocks year” – that is (as in the children’s story of the little girl and the Three Bears), unexceptional, ‘neither too hot nor too cold’ and therefore ‘just right’. It’s probably meant to reassure people that we won’t see major political disruptions or economic meltdowns, but it’s also short-hand for ‘plain boring’. After a rollicking year like we’ve had, it doesn’t seem right to have a boring year. What we really need is a wacky year, filled with wild, madcap events. Here’s my list of 10 wacky things I wish would happen in 2010.
1. Shashi Tharoor rules on Twitter
After being cautioned for Tweeting about the Indian government’s visa policy and for posting politically incorrect jokes about flying ‘cattle class’, Shashi Tharoor is finally sacked as minister and expelled from the Congress. Tired of being picked on by Luddites in politics but energised by the support from his followers on Twitter – more than half a million by last count – Tharoor sets up a ‘virtual government’ on Twitter.
2. Obama falls for Pratibha Patil
On his first state visit to India, President Barack Obama goes beyond the dictates of protocol by falling at President Pratibha Patil’s feet during a Rashtrapati Bhavan courtesy call. US protocol officers had evidently convinced Obama that this was the correct way to show respect to elders in India. As happened when Obama bowed deep before the Japanese Emperor, right-wing commentators in the US go ballistic, ranting that Obama is signalling an enfeebled America with his excessive shows of courtesy.
3. Mallya floats ‘fly naked’ airline
Following security fears arising from the thwarted terrorist attack in the US on Christmas day (where a young Nigerian had a bomb sewed into his underpants), tycoon Vijay Mallya dreams up a business plan – and launches the world’s first ‘fly naked’ airline, where both passengers and crew will be stark naked. “Anyone who’s seen our Kingfisher calendars knows that the idea of flying naked builds on our brand equity,” Mallya tells a news conference at the launch. Preferential ticketing is to be offered for supermodels.
4. Delhi C’wealth Games a hit
The Delhi Commonwealth Games stadiums could not be constructed in time, and participating athletes are put up in tent cities in the absence of hotel accommodation. But the Games are nevertheless a big hit because the sportspersons are so moved at seeing emaciated street children begging at traffic lights that they spend their entire time doing voluntary work at slums instead. “I came here to win a gold medal, but I realise how selfish and materialistic that is,” says a British athlete. “But thanks to Delhi, I’ve found a higher calling in life.”
5. TV shows lose to real life
Television reality shows are pulled from all channels since viewers find them lacking in the sensational drama of real life. “Smirking sexual predators who go unpunished for two decades, geriatric governors sexually disporting with three young women… How can we ever hope to match that kind of drama?” wails the producer of a TV channel.
6. Mayawati is a statue
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati is revealed to be not a living, breathing Dalit politician, but a statue – one of many built across the state in her honour. Officials say it’s not clear if “Behenji” was always a statue or whether there was a mix-up on some occasion when she was unveiling one of her statues. But since no one seems to be missing her (if she ever existed), no search has been initiated.
7. Techies sheds geeky image
Tired of being asked by strangers in foreign airports to help fix their laptops, geeky Bangalore techies give up their careers to take up stand-up comedy. They become an international sensation and nowadays Indians at foreign airports are swamped for autographs by fans who mistake them for stand-up comedians.
8. Telangana to be broken up
Within hours of a new Telangana state being formed, leaders of sub-regional political parties begin a fast-unto-death demanding that the newly formed state be carved up into four new states. “The demand for new states is like a nuclear reaction, and we’ve reached critical mass,” reckons a sociologist. “It’s now unstoppable.”
9. Shanghai wants to be like Mumbai
Having built a gleaming world-class city with the best of infrastructure and most fashionable brand stores, Shanghai’s residents validate psychologist Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs by collectively embracing Buddhism and a simpler life. “Why can’t we slow things down and enjoy the non-material things in life? Why can’t we be more like Mumbai and have slums like them?” they ask befuddled Communist Party officials.
10. Savita Bhabhi joins politics
Cartoon porn character Savita Bhabhi enters politics, and is inducted into the Congress. “The Congress needs a new sex symbol, now that N.D. Tiwari has crawled quietly back into his old-age home,” says Savita. “I can particularly help with the Congress erection – I mean, election – campaign.”