Five random resolutions for 2012


Some people may drone on endlessly about how Test cricket is losing its appeal, but I will continue to wake up before dawn in the morning in my non-heated apartment in the freezing Delhi winter to watch India play Australia. When a few more lights from the looming towers that ring my apartment block pierce through the fog, I know I'm in the good company of people who think alike. India have never won a Test series in Australia - and have already been whipped in the first game at Melbourne. But I want to be watching if and when we win one. A fan lives in eternal hope.


I pledge to wage a war on cliches at home, work and the world. The "body language" of cricketers and leaders at international summits, for example. Or how every upcoming talent is a "genius". Or how every street protest is a "revolution" or "Tahrir Square" in the making. Or the frenetic world of the non-breaking "breaking news" that I live in. Or how everything - writer, book, sportsman, film - is a "brand". Where I live, an upstart concrete-choked suburb called Gurgaon, real estate companies call themselves "colonisers" and the media faithfully call them the same. Now that's an honest cliche.


Mark Tully once said there are no full stops in India. I have decided to take him seriously this year. I have pledged not to get all tensed up waiting, for example, for the new state of Telangana. (I wrote a post at the beginning of the year that the new state was in the offing and possibly raised some hopes.) I have also decided not to get worked up about Sachin Tendulkar's 100th international hundred, which I have been waiting for the past six months and more. Historian and writer Mukul Kesavan thinks it is a silly wait. "It is to speak and think like a child with 99 coins in his piggy bank, 51 made of silver and 48 of lead, who is dying to acquire one more coin of either kind because he will then have a hundred metal coins," he wrote. I think I am beginning to agree.


India is caught up in a frenzy of new law-making. Ergo, there are many bills in the works. Apart from the more popular ones like the Lokpal bill, there are many with names like The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2011 (Amendment of Part VI of Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, The Constitution (116th Amendment) Bill, 2011, The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2011, or The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011 and so on. Then there are bills within bills within bills. I plan to study these bills in detail, because I have a job to explain them to readers who are used to simpler bills in life. It's not going to be easy, but I will try. Never mind the fact that the new laws, born out of these bills, may be light years away. Democracy is a slow and grinding process. We need to be patient.


Small is beautiful in Bollywood these days. A limpid, low-budget film called Stanley Ka Dabba (Stanley's Tiffin Box), with a cast of largely unknown actors was, for me, the most watchable film of 2011. Dominated by a bunch of terrific child actors, the film is a heart-warming tale of the joys and cruel surprises of childhood. The inanity and silly bombast of Big Bollywood has possibly reached its apogee with starry superhero films which would even embarrass children and the usual grown-up-men-behaving-like-boys song-and-dance retreads, only that the songs - and dances - have become worse. So I'm going to avoid film with names like Thank You (tagline: "Husbands will be sorry, wives say thank you"), Game ("It's not over till it's over") and Desi Boyz. Big is truly awful in Bollywood.

Happy New Year!