Diaries used to be the best thing about New Years. Bounded in hardcover, embellished with beautiful colors and interesting shapes, these blank notebooks were the canvases I used to spill my half-baked thoughts upon, until my mother discovered it one fine morning, flipped to page number 14th Feb and asked me who the hell Tulika was. I didn’t tell her that she was my Maths teacher, instead, I told her that I was working on a story.
“Why are you working on a story that has a character called Tulika? “She cast me a suspicious look, and said, “Can’t you work on that Doremon story you never finished? I really want to know what happens after Gian eats Suneo. ”
As I grew up, it became difficult to maintain a diary as there was always the imminent risk of getting caught, and so, I buried it under the heap of my DVDs. They weren’t the free Rachnasagar educational DVDs I got every year with the books, as my mother believed; they were porn. My vocabulary and imaginations were running riot those days, and I surely didn’t want my mother to come up to me one fine morning with my diary in her hand, asking what the hell a Reverse Cowgirl was.
Anyway, I stopped filling diaries because they lost their point. Now I’d just type whatever I felt like writing down.
So now, New Year was all about food. Our New Year dish has been same for as far as I can remember. Pulao, Dal Tadka, Cauliflowers, Paneer, Kachodis, and half a dozen supplements, and sweets. And in the evening, my mother gets sick of all household chores and so she doesn’t cook, thus we eat Bikaji Bhujia and go to sleep. Anyway, this time we had a plan. All the members of our house were to cook one cuisine each.
“I’d make salads. “My father said.
“That’s not even a cuisine. “I protested. Actually, my father doesn’t know a thing about making salads. He’d chop them all in one size and sprinkle Rakesh Chat Masala on everything, at the same time mentioning how eating Chat Masala harms your stomach and whatever.
The idea didn’t work well though, because I wanted to make burgers and my mother didn’t want me to make burgers, and then I wanted to try out pizza and she said she’d rather starve than have that Italian crap, and then I wanted to make Maggie but she said maybe I should just take out my book and study for UPSCE.
This thing used to be fun when we were kids. The excitement for a new year now seems phony. The only interesting thing about New Year is Prabhat Khabar’s yearly horoscope. Here they tell you how Saturn is rotating above your Mars, and how your Moon and Jupiter are colliding with each other in inebriated motions. It’s a bouncer to my brain, but I always sit with a highlighter and mark everything I would if it was coming in my term papers.
This morning, I spread the paper in front of my eyes and skimmed through the horoscope. It said,
“Saturn is playing games with you. You’ll have hardships this year. Your progress will slow down. Big efforts would fetch petty results. Problems in marital life. Health issues too. “
It was as disappointing as Anu Malik’s existence. Life was already so gloomy, and now this potato-faced astrologer prophesied that this year was going to be troublesome. Perfect!
In the solution section, I was asked to put mustard seeds in a brass plate and see my face in it every saturday. That apart, I was to avoid blue dresses completely and visit Sidhdhivinayak with my wife.
I chucked the newspaper and switched on the tv. Four inglorious bastards were pointing fingers and yelling at each other on a news channel. One demanded Modi’s resignation, the other screamed that opposition was full of maggots, a lady wanted seperate ladies queues in ATMs, and a guy was furious because Muslims aren’t given ample opportunities in this country.
At the bottom of the screen, a news ticker rolled around, carrying the words –