November 8 the bête noire!

Today’s date is synonymous with grief, misfortune, pain, dread, fear and what have you. A year ago, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, as the orange sun set over the horizon there arose from the depths of darkness, the one with the brightest plumage, “crying havoc” and unceremoniously bidding adieu to sanity in general. To quote Marilynne Robinson, he “stepped right out of the fusion of news and entertainment, out of the gothic fantasy world of sinister foreigners and imminent catastrophe” and with due apologies to the Bard, “let slip the frogs of war.”

In the ensuing year, the world has adopted “fake news” as part of its vocabulary, “covfefe” trended on Twitter and the verbal deluge that emanated displayed a “breathtaking ignorance of government policy – both foreign and domestic.” The hallowed portals of that white abode, saw its ‘cup runneth over’ as the incumbent spewed forth such dazzling brilliance as: “I went to a great school; I was a good student and all.

I am an intelligent person. I understand what is going on,” and when pontificating on racial disparity “I’ve read where there are and I’ve read where there aren’t. I’ve read both. And you know I have no opinion on that. Because frankly, what I’m saying is you know we have to create incentives for people to go back and to reinvigorate the areas and to put people to work.” “And I’ve been very good on this stuff. My prognostications, my predictions have become, have been very accurate, if you look” and we will come up with a “giant, beautiful, massive, the biggest in the country tax-cut” and also do something about the “Diversary bill” while perhaps meaning to do something about the “diversity bill.”

All hail the conqueror with the biggest hands, who goes beyond the call of Twitter to reiterate the Latin proverb: “Homo homini lupus: man is wolf to man.” Beastliness has always lain just beneath the surface of our world, but can be silenced by a hero even though it may be on his last day of work. There are some sane people who rightly do believe that silence (even if forced on others) is golden! Wish there were more like this unnamed crusader...worthy of the Nobel Prize for bringing peace to the world, albeit only for eleven minutes!

And in the country that was once known as the land of spirituality and philosophy, exactly a year ago, soon after the ball of fire dipped over the horizon, the sartorially elegant captain began his unscheduled live televised address with those three words, that now send a shiver up everyone’s spine: Mitron, Bhaiyon aur Beheno  which for the uninitiated translates into “Friends, brothers and sisters.” That evening, in his address he announced the demonetisation, commonly called notebandi , of all high denomination banknotes. It was claimed that the action would curtail the shadow economy and crack down on the use of illicit and counterfeit cash which fund illegal activity and terrorism.

However, subsequently the goal post kept changing and the game has since seen many incidents of diving by the players and way too many actual injuries to the bystanders. Irrespective of the raison d’etre, the game is suddenly witnessing the opposition upping the ante and the so called joker-in–the-pack has turned out to be a black belt in Aikido! In another year the game will ultimately move from the open field with goal posts to the ‘dojo’, where one may just get to see some interesting results with the injured displaying the ‘bystanders effect’ and spurning the home club’s attempts to woo them back. Acta non verba  or “Actions, not words” would then be the need of the hour and since we are still in the Latin mode, it is perhaps wise to remember Effectus sequitir causam  meaning “Effects follow causes.”

The misfortune related to today’s date is not over as yet! For those who are not particularly fond of the alternate Wednesdays for reasons best known to them, welcome to this November 8th which brings to you the 190th column of the TT, as the toddler of yore turned 8. For those who read and choose to recoil, couldn’t possibly find a more apt quote than that of novelist Tom Robbins, who so succinctly said:

“What bothers most critics of my work is the goofiness. One reviewer said I need to make up my mind if I want to be funny or serious. My response is that I will make up my mind when God does, because life is a commingling of the sacred and the profane, good and evil. To try and separate them is fallacy.”

And before I sign off, a few random thoughts:

  • Do you know that driving in Oman without giving the indicator now attracts a fine? But the James Bond variety thinks that driving without giving the indicator is fine!
  • Do you know that as I grow older, it appears that everyone my age is older than me?
  • Do you know that you should not judge a book by the cover? Unless of course, it’s the book with the first 125 articles of TT!

Till next fortnight... .

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