From the USA electing a thin-skinned, vocabulary-challenged reality star as President, to a world divided more than ever, 2016 epitomised the term horrible. And if you think 2017 is going to be amazing, well we’re glad you’re reading this Mr Putin.
As for the rest of us, here’s what 2017 is likely to look like:
‘Phir Kuch Toofani Karte Hain Mitron’
Closer home, PM Modi will probably continue the grand tradition of living up to that popular tag line Aaj Kuch Toofani Karte Hain, as he continues his crackdown on corruption by going after benami properties and proving that the right-wing is more socialist than the most hardcore Leftists.
The reaction to this will probably be divisive, as liberals go scuppering after polysyllabic synonyms to describe his authoritarianism, and then keep wondering why the hungry, unwashed masses didn’t turn against the man they think is ‘Dear Leader’.
Meanwhile, bhakts will continue to defend every move he makes as the greatest form of liberation since Abe Lincoln freed USA from slavery. Not to be outdone, members of our journalistic brigade will continue to be on the lookout for ‘rising intolerance’ in a ‘fascist Hindu nation’ and the oxygen of publicity an incident gets, will depend on who’s in power.
Coming of age ad infinitum – Rahul Gandhi
Congress VP Rahul Gandhi will continue to exert his special brand of hallucinatory effects on Congress leaders and some journalists, who will write the umpteenth ‘coming of age’ article, while Arvind Kejriwal will probably crash Twitter’s servers after retweeting every single meme, article, rumour, joke, and criticism of the PM. Didi, on the other hand, will hope to brush up her Hindi even as she looks to make the leap to national politics.
Meanwhile, there will be something newsworthy in South India or the North East but mainstream media will give it a miss because we can’t see beyond Delhi and Mumbai.
Kashmir will continue to be hospitable to uninvited guests, even as a section of individuals backing the ‘right to self-determination’ and espousing the need to ‘win the hearts and minds of the people’, even as separatists continue their demand to carve out a separate Islamic State in our own backyard.
All eyes will also be on Punjab, Goa, and Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections as the states go to polls, and the gong will be sounded for 2019 with mime artists explaining why the BJP will lose. And to counter that, the Republic of Arnab Goswami will return to the airwaves, and scream at everyone in his characteristic fashion to make sure that TV panel combat can qualify as a contact sport in the next Olympics.
In Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan will hope that all his honorary doctorates are backed up by real, flesh-and-blood fans flocking to the box office to see Raees, while Salman Khan will have no such worries since he knows his fans would pay good money to watch him do anything. Some random star will come up with some random challenge and we will all participate in it.
The Year of Vlad
On a global level, we will brace ourselves to see what Trump in the White House actually means and whether he will be as trigger-happy as a President. The man really looking forward to 2017, however, will be Vladimir Putin with upcoming elections in Germany and France, even though there’s no guarantee his vocal critic, Angela Merkel, will lose.
Things look grimmer on the global terrorism front as Islamic State and its affiliates continue to trawl the information highway and sign up new recruits, with the authorities playing a dangerous hide-and-seek game against an enemy they can’t define or see, and are too politically correct to name.
On the flip side, several celebrities are going to pass away, and we will go out of our way to Google them before putting up emotional tweets about how their death is an ‘unbearable loss to our lives’.
So, as 2017 approaches, it’s perhaps the best time to find our inner nihilist and realise that our lives have no meaning, that we’re a speck in an infinite universe and no one cares about what we want. Or to borrow a phrase from Monsieur Sartre: “Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.” Happy New Year, everyone and welcome to the void.