Ranjona Banerji: Challenge for 2018: Stop thinking
This year, I won't lose my temper watching news channels start wars. I'll try to understand bhakts and won't ask why we need Aadhaar cards
I will try to stay calm while watching channels that scream all the time. Representation pic/Thinkstock
What I'm going to do in 2018. Or try. Or not try. I don't know who came up with this idea of coming up with a list, calling them resolutions and then hitting you on the head with your own shortcomings. But, why not give it a shot. Usually people decide that they are going to not eat this and eat that. Eating is non-negotiable, as far as I'm concerned. Here are some other things.
Be kind to people: However, this will not include bhakts (more on this species later), people who try and explain things to me, people who give me advice I did not ask for, people who do not understand my jokes, people who tried to explain my own jokes to me, people who don't understand sarcasm, people who don't understand irony, people who send me invitations to play internet games, people who communicate with me on messaging services, people who forward things on email without realising that this is 2018 and no one does that any more, people who tag me in things, people who add me to "groups"... Since that constitutes almost the whole human race, I am now done for. I shall have to buy a mask with a permanently idiotic grin on it. Waiting for someone to tell me that I am mangling perfection from TS Eliot. Come on, don't let me down with your immense stupidity.
Obviously then, resolution 1 is a hashtag epic fail. To not lose my temper when I watch those news channels, which are not news channels really: This includes news channels that try to start wars, news channels that solve murders, news channels that have six million things scrambling about their screens at all times, news channels that scream all the time... Unless I ask my doctor to up my blood pressure medication, how is this going to happen? Resolution 2, pending until I get a prescription.
To read important books by important people that I read about in lists made by other important people: I am especially thrilled when they have complicated and hifalutin names that appeal to my innate snobbery like The Last Sunset of the Serendipitous Century: A classic work on solar energy that will be found in unexpected places in the next 100 years - that sort of thing. I will definitely get on to this after I finish every single free detective story available on the 'unlimited' scheme on my e-reader. Last I checked, there are more than 365 detective books I have not read, two days of the year gone already and if I read one a day... When is 2019, by the way? Resolution 3 will fail because of other books, all free. Not my fault.
To try and understand Bhakts (see above): Also known as diehard fans of the BJP, of Narendra Modi and of the Hindutva ideology of the RSS. May also apply to others who like any other such, um, fundamentalist ideologies. What makes them tick, why don't they tock. Why don't they use their brains or hearts more often, why do they hate so many people... Okay, okay, we all know that I am lying. I will do no such thing. Resolution 4, failed before it began because of lies told by the writer.
To be nice to people who don't like Roger Federer: This is far more difficult than it sounds. You have to listen to theories from Philistines. You have to hear about several mediocre tennis players. You have to stop cursing people in your head or in real life. You have to listen to tedious statistics about if "X had not broken his foot/stopped playing tennis/ had a stomach ache, he would have been better than Federer". Most difficult of all, you have to pretend to be interested in a whole lot of codswallop.
Resolution 5, will only work if writer wears ear muffs, blinkers and reuses mask mentioned somewhere earlier. You may think, aha, five resolutions, that's it? That is not challenging at all. And you would be correct. If I really wanted to challenge myself I would have resolved to watch Hindi phillums, understand why we need Aadhaar cards, figure out the difference between music called R&B and whatever is not called R&B, and other such impossible tasks. I have no idea now how I'm going to survive 2018. Has it ended already?
Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @ranjona. Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org