So, dear reader, I need to update you on a few things:
1. My birthday was on June 24.
2. Brexit happened on June 24.
3. I landed in UK on my birthday.
Made the connection, na, dear reader?
Disaster has followed me on my travels over the years. The Middle East Spring Awakening in Cairo happened a few days after I left Egypt. The huge Taksim Square uprising occurred in Istanbul a week after we wrapped up a shoot. Bombs have gone off moments after I’ve taken off from Hyderabad and Jaipur. Brexitgate is no bomb or big political revolution or bad residue of global warming.
But, it is a disaster of epic proportion. Especially, if you’re a Londoner.
I came here to spend time with some English pals.
Celebrate, maybe get them to treat me to a steak and kidney pie (considering the amount I paid for them when they were PGs on Carter Road, Bandra). No chance. Cake cutting was replaced by counselling sessions.
Needless to say, the famous stiff upper lip has taken a pounding. So has the pound. My friends are going through what can only be termed a giant sulk, the size of Gibraltor. Shell shock is the word. Deep depression is another. No one saw it coming. London voted pretty much 90% to remain. Confident that it would be a close finish but the result would be to remain.
Instead, 52% voted to leave the EU. Fifty-two per cent voted to stop immigration. Fifty-two per cent voted for regression.
Gotta say, I’m a tad amused. Us Indians have got used to mayhem, tamasha, every day of our lives. Nothing surprises us. Every comment that our ministers make, women’s groups demanding that Bhai pay R10 crore for his ‘raped’ woman comment.
Ganguly and Shastri scrapping uselessly.
But the Brits, with their sense of solidity, at least outward, seemed unshakeable. Cocky in their complacency.
This result has knocked the stuffing out of them. Because there’s no going back.
We Bombayites/Mumbaikars have always been accused of living in insulated reality. Of frankly having no clue what happens outside the 7 islands. Brexit is that 10 times over. London having no clue what Leeds, Lancashire, Leicestershire were feeling. And now the aftermath. Especially when a nation realises what a colossal mistake it has made.
Politicians blaming each other.
One friend told me, “It’s not that I want to fly in and out of every European country. But at least there was a comfort in knowing that I could.”
The average youngster is livid — “These old fogeys. Taking us back to the Stone Ages.” (It’s true that 72% of the 18-25 age bracket, all over UK voted to remain)
An elderly cabbie responded, “Ah tosh. These young people, immature, short term thinkers. I voted to leave. I will not be dictated to by Brussels. The rich have no idea what the common man is thinking. All they want is easy access to every country in Europe. I just want easy access to get my kids to school.”
In a few months, disaster shifts to the US.
It’s called Donald Trump.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org