All Fools' Day

Yes, today is All Fools' Day and we will today, as we have every day before it, get on foolishly with our lives in this foolish city in this foolish country, in this foolish world, as we have always done.

The heat won't make it any better, of course, as we stop in the midst of Churchgate or Bhayandar or Malad in our sweaty collars and damp shirts to exclaim that we hope the rains will come early to deliver us all.

At the back of our heads we will recall the slow waters of Kashmir raising, rising, as the nearby mountains melt helplessly and submerge a city already awash with tears.

We will despair over whether Article 377 will ever be repealed
We will despair over whether Article 377 will ever be repealed

We saw it on the news last night; even as we did, the drought-hit parched farmlands of India. As furrowed, we noticed as the foreheads of the farmers who face another year of penury and hunger.

It is a foolish day indeed.

Today, as in all the days before this, we will look to our elected leaders for deliverance, from our struggles and pain and as always, we will be disappointed.

The drought-hit farmlands are as furrowed as the foreheads of farmers. Pic/Getty Image
The drought-hit farmlands are as furrowed as the foreheads of farmers. Pic/Getty Image

More liberties and freedoms will be snatched away from us, more petty and self-serving party politics will carry on amongst politicians, more nepotism and entitlement in the Congress, more regressive interventions by the BJP and more heart-breaking bickering in the AAP.

We will watch all this in dismay.

Who signed up for all of this? Who are these people? Why don't they get with the plan and do the work they were elected for?

We watch agape in horror as we always have as more women will be denigrated, burnt, beaten and raped
We watch agape in horror as we always have as more women will be denigrated, burnt, beaten and raped

Why don't they give us good roads, clean air and a healthy economy and leave us alone? Why don't they let us watch the films and shows we want, read the books we like and let us wear the clothes we prefer?

And above all, why don't they give us this day our daily bread, preferably with a slice of roast beef in it thank you.

But it's All Fools' Day, and we will watch agape in horror as we always have as more women will be denigrated, burnt, beaten and raped, more men in power will make foolish statements about the role of women in society, more female foetuses aborted and more gender divides encouraged.

At the back of our heads we will recall the slow waters of Kashmir raising, rising, as the nearby mountains melt helplessly and submerge a city already awash with tears. Pic/AFP
At the back of our heads we will recall the slow waters of Kashmir raising, rising, as the nearby mountains melt helplessly and submerge a city already awash with tears. Pic/AFP

And in these foolish days, we will try and lend our voice against these atrocities, but after the letter campaigns, the candlelight vigils, the protests outside parliament and other citadels of the state when we hear again that the violence and rapes have not stopped, we will become overwhelmed by the immensity of the problem.

We will not know where to begin or which problem to address as day by day we see the dismay and insecurity for instance, in the eyes of our friends and colleagues who happen to belong to a community that happens to be in a minority in this great land of ours.

More petty and self-serving party politics will carry on amongst politicians
More petty and self-serving party politics will carry on amongst politicians

We will notice how when policies and practices in our country are being discussed they fall silent. How their faces cloud with fear when leaders of their communities and those of the majority say and do hateful shameful things against each other. We will want to reach out and reassure them. We will not know how to do this without alarming them or feeling a bit patronising.

We will shed a tear over India's shameful performance at the UN when it voted against a section of the world's populace, perhaps its most talented and precious, those who were born with the predilection to love those that society says they can't.

We will look across to nations much smaller than ours, much newer much less empowered and hang our heads in shame when we realise that they are far more evolved, more humane more compassionate than ours.
Some of us will have to bear the criticism of the people of these nations.

We will despair over whether Article 377 will ever be repealed.

Indeed, it is a foolish day in a foolish year in a foolish life.

Somewhere there will be a minister who carries a gun to address differently-abled students, somewhere a church will be vandalised, somewhere another draconian law will be passed to disfranchise the already disfranchised and somewhere a glossy magazine will pat itself on the back for saving India's women by producing a hip black and white film about empowerment.

A foolish time. Young lovers terrorised for caste issues; television talk shows that end up as slanging matches, PETA activists beaten up for saving animals, stand up comedians gagged for making jokes on stage, MLAs and MPs not ticked off for behaving like jokes in Parliament and a man called Yo Yo Honey Singh who becomes the Poet Laureate of our age.

It's a foolish day in a foolish age. The poor will get poorer, the rich will get richer and the middle class will wonder why it's still not happy now that its got a 37-inch TV and a Korean sedan.

The brash and the pushy will get brasher and pushier, the greedy will get further rewarded and the meek shall certainly not inherit the earth.

And today, since it's All Fools' Day, we thought we would as we have done every day before that come up with a few harmless pranks a few capers and hoaxes and tricks for our readers as we have done over the years with every newspaper or magazine we have edited.

Except that this time around on this foolish day in this foolish city in this foolish country in this foolish world we realise that there's no need to make up anything anymore.

It's All Fools' Day and the joke is on us.

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