Gather round me, children, while I tell you a tale. Multiple tales, in fact.
Because what else is there to talk about, eh?
But not – dear god, no – not the kind of tales you get to hear about elsewhere. The rest of the planet has turned into a mild version of an Indian news channel, hyperventilating about exponential functions, lockdown extensions, quarantining, and spouting phrases like “flattening the curve”, “social distancing” and “pre-existing complications” at the drop of a hat.
Myself included, to be fair, for in my day job – which involves torturing people with endless lectures about economics – I think, talk and pontificate about all things corona myself.
But not, dear reader, here. Not in these columns.
This column is a sanctuary, a refuge, a haven. It is a place to retreat from all the glumness that surrounds us on this planet. It is a place to smile and laugh, and snort and chuckle, no matter how wryly. It is a place where we channel the advice of one of the wisest men to have ever walked this planet. We shall attempt to write and read musical comedies without music.
This shall be a place where I tell you tales about life in these crazy times. But these tales will not be about the causes of the craziness. They will be only about the effects. The causes are there, and we are all reminded of them every time we watch the news (why would you do that to yourself, dear reader. Why?), or open up the newspaper, or check Whatsapp. But as I was saying, in these parts, we will take a look at only the effects, and ignore the radix causa.
And if you take a look at the modum, and ignore the r.c., it turns out to be a rich and fertile medium for generating smiles and laughs, snorts and chuckles. No matter how wryly.
We will reflect, for example, on how many bowls, vessels, receptacles and canisters we end up using in our cooking. Not for us Indians the cracking of an egg in the pan, no sirree. We put the “mis” in mis en place. And add “ery” for good measure.
Watching recipes on YouTube for making kadhai chicken is all well and good, until you realise that they edit out the part where they wash up after. By my calculation, the recipe calls for 32,234,567 ingredients, each of which need their own separate bowls. Each of those 32,234,567 bowls then need to be washed up after. Forget cracking the egg in a pan, I would rather drill a hole in the egg and suck it all up.
I’m kidding. Mostly.
Along with bowls, we will reflect on jhadus, and how Indian homes accumulate more dirt than Donald tweets. We will reflect on the art of folding clothes and peeling garlic.
We will ruminate on government notifications, un-notifications and revert-notifications. We will ponder upon the existence of Twitter, and whether it is a good thing. We will marvel at Google Meet and Zoom. We shall, on bended knees and with tears in our eyes, praise the lord for the existence of Netflix, Spotify and Youtube. Those of us with kids shall have more tears in our eyes than the others.
We shall, in other words, poke gentle fun at everything, ourselves included. For if laughter is indeed the best medicine – and I personally think there is something to be said for that proposition – we have been depriving ourselves of it precisely when we need it the most.
And so, once a week, let’s you and I use this space to give ourselves some of that most excellent medicine. We deserve it.
Next week it is then, dear reader. I’ll see you around here, and we’ll talk more about those damn bowls.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
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