Insight 2017: After hate and bigotry got a shot in the arm in 2016; here’s how to have a better year

It’s official, 2016 has been the worst year ever!

It’s not just because a whole bunch of awesome people like David Bowie, Prince and George Michael died. Hey, people die and it hurts when the good ones go. But 2016 was a shi**y year because a lot of really ugly sh*t went down this year. If Syrians hadn’t suffered enough already — both, the refugees and those who chose to stay back in Syria — went through hell in 2016 and things got worse with each passing day. ISIS got stronger and there were terror attacks in Turkey, Indonesia, France, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Germany. Also the Zika virus spread, there was a shooting in an Orlando night club. Hate and bigotry got a shot in the arm with Brexit… and then, the US gifted the world a whole new kind of nightmare, electing Donald Trump as President. If you are tired of examples from overseas, don’t forget demonetisation. How could 365 days inflict so much trauma?

How could one year inflict so much trauma? AP/File photos

How could one year inflict so much trauma? AP/File photos

I believe we still have something to look forward to in 2017. It’s not so much about what to expect, but what we can do better or differently that can help us all heal from the blows 2016 dealt us. We need to start being the change we want to see — because let’s face it, our netas aren’t going to get anything done.

Step 1: Open a khata with Dharti Mata 

Instead of berating Trump for denying climate change, let’s start living more responsibly. Let’s help India up her carbon credits game by doing things the desi way. Let’s reuse and recycle whatever we can. Let’s take the BEST instead of the BMW. Let’s make our diet more planet-friendly. I will never force people to go vegan like me because such decisions have to come from within you. I can only say give gau mata a break and try soy milk, it’s delicious. Take the meat off your plate. But if you will not listen, and you must eat chicken, ditch products from factory farms and choose free range instead. Turn of all electrical and electronic appliances when not in use… and now I’m sounding like your mom. Sigh!

Step 2: Leave soldier’s in their jahaan, don’t drag them yahaan wahaan

Stop dragging soldiers into every argument. We can all agree they lead a very demanding and challenging life. Can we please spare them the politics? It never really ends an argument, and the gulf widens between you and your loved ones just because of ideological differences. Good friends are rare. We all have enough enemies. Let’s not alienate our friends just because their beliefs are not in alignment with ours. We’ve got to stick together, if not for anything else then just for our own humanity and sanity!


Step 3: Jo jaisa, woh waisa

Let’s not waste food. Give it to the homeless. Feed the strays in your neighbourhood. But make sure you do so at a safe distance from the main residential area. Say like, near the waste disposal bins on the outskirts of the colony. That way you can improve your karma by feeding strays and you won’t even get into fights with your neighbours, which in turn results in our doggie friends being beaten and worse, killed. Also, don’t impose your patriotism, veganism, Jainism, heteroism and all the isms on others. Have conversations at appropriate forums, not fights. Similarly don’t run down vegetarians either. The ghas poos retort is not a kind response to the “kyaa chicken ko dard hota hai” comment.

You wanna stand for the national anthem, great! Don’t bully or shame others if they choose not to. We have a constitutional right to dissent. The national anthem really has its effect when people organically feel compelled to stand, like I saw during multiple screenings of Dangal.

Step 4: Stop it wahi, slut-shame nahi

Stop categorising women as Sati or slutty. A woman can be both devi and devil… or neither, or everything in between. Also stop objectifying them. Calling a woman a jewel is objectification. A woman is a woman. Not a shiny rock! In fact, encourage your sons to hang out more with your daughters and their female friends, so that boys do not end up believing girls are exotic or different than them. You don’t have to be Mary Kom or Geeta Phogat to be taken seriously. Respect and appreciate Mala the domestic help, Neha the doctor, Razia the lawyer, Clara the kindergarten teacher, Komal the bus conductor, Aarti the beat cop and Sunita the banker. Even Pados ki Pooja is perfectly awesome! Recognise the value of home makers. Also teach your sons to cook and clean. They will thank you in engineering college where canteen food can scar you for life and dormitories teach you the art of domesticating mice and cockroaches. Feminists are not ugly. Because they believe in equality. Misandrists and misogynists are ugly, dirty, nasty.

Step 5: More pyaar and less PR

Like dude… you are our Prime Minister. We chose you because the other guys don’t really cut it. We chose you because we thought you would be different and fix things. You are not ‘entitled’ to screw up because the other guys screwed up… a lot! Two wrongs don’t make a right bro! You are not healing us. Your surgeries are horrifying amputations. Get a grip. Stop the bhaashan and the drama. Screw TRPs. Do your job and do it well. We know you can. We voted for you because we believe in you. And we will continue to question you and hold you accountable because that is how a healthy democracy functions, your troll army notwithstanding.

Step 6: Do the fun thing. Rhyme and sing. Don’t give ‘log kyaa kahenge’ a dime, say it, if you should, proudly with a bad rhyme.

We are not ‘the crazies’, Homos are your Homies.

Sexuality is a thing, Like breathing/ To accept it, could be quite liberating.

O fish, it rhymes/ And let it ring and chime. That it is still a happy life/ Even if it is about your son, with his male-wife.

Don’t be mean, Come out clean/ Off the prejudice, because equality deserves justice.

Happy New Year all you lovelies!

Updated Date: Jan 01, 2017 08:56 AM

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