We in the newspaper industry have a great tradition and track record for reporting the events unfolding around us with so much depth and acuity that none of you has a clue as to what is the eventual outcome.
The Copenhagen climate talks is a good case in point. Every paper devoted at least three kilometers of running matter daily on the subject in the last week. Now, at the end of it all, if someone walks up to me, and asks what was the outcome of the talks, I’ll not answer because I don’t answer questions from total strangers. Still, none in the world is any wiser about what happened at Copenhagen, and this very much includes all the participants to the summit.
The point is all the news happens away from the screaming headlines and screeching anchors. As a responsible journalist, who has the responsibility to call himself responsible, here I present the collation of events of 2009 which you obviously missed in the newspapers because you were reading them.
The New Year arrives late, and experts straight away blame the recession for that. It sets the trend for the rest of the year, and recession ends up as everyone’s favourite and bankable excuse. By the yearend, even leave letters were being written: ‘As I am suffering from recession, please grant me leave for 2.5 or 28 days’. The leave letters were duly attached with medical certificates from economists. (The doctors, for the record, have all become economists, thinking about money and more money).
The Tamil New Year, however, arrives early, as the Chief Minister of the State, keeping up with his life-long philosophy of keeping the people stupid, announces a free New Year celebration in January itself. The TN Cabinet, chaired by Karunanidhi, thanks him from the bottom of its heart that his heart has no bottom at all.
Ajmal Kasab, who is in India as an esteemed State guest, is the celebratory invitee at the Republic Day parade. Back in Pakistan, a spokesperson of the government, described Kasab as a non-State dancer. But before he could clarify further, the government fell and the spokesperson became a de facto non-State actor.
Barack Obama shops at Barnes and Noble, America’s most well-known retailer, for which he is given a gift coupon, which could win him a big prize in a crazy raffle to be held in October later in the year.
Economists, with the knowledge that come with years and years of practice, come up with the telling statistic that February in 2008 had one extra day while 2009 was dangerously truncated at 28. This, they suggest, was a pointer to the fact that recession was getting worse.
Many software industry personnel are unhappy that they have one less day to party. To add to their woes, there is the huge threat of Y28K bug unmaking the entire computer industry cafeteria due to the one day in February that has gone missing.
In Mumbai, activists of Maharashtra Nirman Navasena, capture and attack all the breeze flowing from outside of Maharashtra.
In Maharashtra itself, Vinod Kambli makes a startling allegation on the reality TV show, Sachin ka samna (named so for the number of charges laid in front of Sachin) that if only had Tendulkar helped him he would not have gone bald at 30 itself.
Nobody asks economists as to how the economy is doing. This, they take it to be a bad sign for the economy, which needless to say is in a deep recession.
Home Minister P Chidambaram thunders in Parliament, even though it isn’t in session, that the way to peace in the sub-continent is through bilateral talks with Pakistan. But since everyone is busy fighting everyone else in Pakistan, India decides to host bilateral talks with Ajmal Kasab, who is the safest and happiest Pakistani in the globe.
Sharukh Khan, who is on a holiday trip to Hawai, is held up at a signal where the red light is on. Indian media is aghast that such a monstrous atrocity could be so casually perpetrated on a well-behaved celebratory. But fortunately since all Muslims are secular by nature and upbringing, there is no communal twist to the incident.
In sports, Indian hockey team stays undefeated, as it puts up a spunky show against fancied rivals like Australia, Germany, Holland, El Salvador and Haiti by not playing against them even in one match. El Salvador and Haiti, for the record, don’t have hockey teams as they cannot afford hockey sticks as they have never heard of hockey itself.
Barack Obama and Michele Obama make an official trip to Britain for no real official reason. Obama praises the Queen for her laid-back dress sense as represented by her chequed skirts. Without putting too fine a point on it, Obama was in reality talking to Prince Charles in his traditional Scottish kilt. His Facebook message for the day is: ‘I’m nooooo transvestite :)’. Economists, looking at the shortness of Charles kilt, have no other option but to conclude that the economy is in recession.
In cricket news, in a bid to ensure foolproof decision-making on cricket grounds, the ICC unveils a revolutionary new rule that allows the spectators to seek review of the Umpire Decision Review System in Test match cricket. A spokesperson of the ICC, in a press release to all the spectators says, the change in the existing rules has been brought about in response to the controversies surrounding the Umpire Decision Review Decision (UDRS), which has had captains tearing their hair in desperation. Somebody like Australia’s Ricky Ponting has been particularly unimpressed because he already has only a few hairs left on his rapidly-balding head.
Sun Pictures takes over the entirety of Arupathu Moovar Utsavam, and comes up with the advertisement blitz, showing the crowds that turn up for the festival, to prove its success.
With just three letters to show for it, May has to be the worst recession-wise, economists conclude at Oslo, where they had gathered to get a first hand look of how the global economy.
Elections get underway in India, Parliament passes a constitutional amendment that whichever party comes to power it should abide by the Geneva Convention in which it has been explicitly mandated that Kasab and Afzal Guru be provided five-star facilities.
Karunanidhi assures full support to the Congress without any preconditions. He is adamant that his close kith and kin should not be accommodated in the Cabinet. Merit and talent have to be the only determining factors, he says. Manmohan Singh appreciates Karunanidhi’s wonderful sense of humour and rewards that by way of a Cabinet berth to his son.
The BJP, being a party with complete faith in the power of democracy, fights in the full glare of public. Jaswant, who had come after having a three-course meal, has no stomach for a fight. He is expelled from the party for being unable to quote from an Arun Shourie article that had 23,000 commas and semicolons in brackets alone.
Recession-hit economists mourn the loss of the world economy as all the currencies of the world running into thousands and thousands of lakhs of lakhs of crores of crores suddenly begin to vanish into one source. In other news, A Raja continues to be a Union Minister.
Meteorologists realise that’s it’s the month of monsoon. But suddenly they also feel that as meteorologists shouldn’t they being focussing on meteors rather on the blighted weather pattern? In their confusion, the monsoon fails to arrive.
Ajmal applies for leave as he intends to go on a summer vacation (on a luxury cruiser that come with guns and grenades that are so necessary for the holiday crowd that he mingles with).
Justice Dinakaran buys the land on which the Supreme Court stands. The Supreme Court seeks a report from the Supreme Court seeking whether this is true or not. The Supreme Court also refuses to hear any more cases as it itself has become sub-judice. In other news, Afzal Guru seeks VRS.
The IPL administrators stun the world with the revolutionary format of cricket in which 36 runs are deemed to be scored off every over. This means the bowler need not take the trouble of delivering the over at all. This has been done to lessen the chances of getting injured, said IPL commissioner Lalit Modi. But if 36 runs are taken to be made off every over, how will the winner be decided? ‘By the toss of the coin after every over, which will be had between ad commercials on the TV, Modi said and hugged Preity Zinta who was at hand. Shilpa Shetty was some way away, consoling the economy, which is as usual recession-driven.
Michael Jackson dies. Huge confusion and controversy erupts over as the world comes to known that his doctor is a veterinarian.
The Tamil Nadu government announces the State film awards. Karunanidhi gets all the top awards on offer as he is the only man in the State who has seen all the movies in the spare time he had between solving the Sri Lanka Tamils crisis. The award is to be presented to him by Karunanidhi through a clever make-up technique that he has learnt from Kamal Haasan, who needless to say, asserts that he, of course, learnt all the tricks of the trade from Karunanidhi when he (Kamal) was actually sitting on the lap of Sivaji Ganesan.
With no sign of recession going away, Sonia Gandhi sets a glittering personal example by strictly ordering the government to cut needless expenses that the CBI was incurring in trying to spell Ottavio Quattrochi’s name.
Mamta Bannerji, as the railway minister, announces in the budget a slew of measures aimed at the train passengers. But since she spoke in English with Bengali spellings, nobody has a clue as to whether she offered 10% cut in passenger fares or 10% hike. The Railways, eventually does what a bureaucrat will always do: play safe. It offers 10% cut on ‘to’ fares and 10% rise in ‘return’ rates.
Bal Thackeray criticises Sachin Tendulkar for scoring a century at the Lord’s. Sunil Gavaskar, he pointed out rather logically, was the truest Maharashtrian as he never scored a test match ton at the Lords. MNS goons hit the headlines as they don’t hit anybody else.
Cambridge University creates history on the internet by publishing a full-fledged report on the Twitter. The research finding is that no good ever came out of the Twitter.
Rahman wins Oscars, and Tamil Nadu film fraternity holds a mega celebration function under the banner ‘Ella Pughazum Kaliagnarukke‘.
Sun Group takes over world economy with the loose change in Marans’ pockets. They come up with a huge campaign claiming that the economy is a huge hit. World economists, with a mike thrust on to their face, welcome the development, saying that Marans are great for economics. They are always economical with truth, they said.
Kareena Kapoor becomes the first person in the world to get the size (-4) hips as technically begins to survive solely on decaffeinated and fat-free oxygen.
Ajmal Kasab confesses in the court that the image that he sees whenever he stands in front of on the mirror everyday is not his. In other words, he said: he is not he. Home Minister P Chidambaram, using all his diplomatic skills, diplomatically clarified that the laws of physics will take its own course.
In other news, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna diffused a potential crisis between Australia and India, after repeated bombings and killings of Indians in Australia, by saying: ‘We are awaiting a complaint from those killed.’
The lucky draw for the Barnes and Noble customers fetches Obama a Nobel for peace. The citation read: This to a man, who is half Muslim, half Christian. Half American, Half African. And solves every problem in half-an-hour. He is the true peace meal man. For some reason, even the recession-fixated economists think the award to be a joke.
Shashi Tharoor, the Minister of State for Twitter Affairs, has a look at a fighter plane and says ‘I will fly battle class in deference to the holy bows (and arrows)’, an unholy row erupts. Nobody knows why.
M K Alagiri refuses to speak in Parliament as it was not situated in Madurai. In other news, the Sun Group takes over Telengana and shows a huge crowd as proof for the enormous success of the new State that is still to be created.
Maoists violence erupts in India following Home Minister P Chidambaram’s plea to them to abjure violence. They were protesting the use of the word ‘abjure’ which no normal thinking person will ever use in his normal speech.
Dubai evaporates in the intense heat of global warming. But the economists, who could not be evaporated, said global economy has reached a stage where it has become the mirage in the desert.
In other news, Karunanidhi sets a world record in solving the Sri Lankan Tamils crisis for the 75th time. He pulls off this exemplary achievement by refusing to eat when he is asleep. Manmohan Singh gets emotional, but Sonia Gandhi is still busy practising austerity.
Sun Pictures takes over Venky Ramakrishnan and all the crowd that attends the Nobel award function.
The world economy wakes up to another crisis, — the spiraling expenses of Tiger Woods’ alimony charges —- and goes into a tailspin and looks like it won’t come up till next year.
Tamil Nadu government announces the best dancer award to Karunanidhi. When pointed out that the award had been given earlier in the year too, the government said it is fitting that gets two in this too.
James Cameron unveils the most amazing technical wizardry ever witnessed with the help of computer graphics. He makes Avatar, which is actually a clone of a golf player that the world sees on the golf courses while the real person is busy with more than 18,000 holes, if you get our drift.
Global warming talks in Copenhagen. The world leaders, in a rare show of unanimity to save planet earth from an impending crisis, agree to the legally-binding international agreement in which every country commits itself to the strong resolution confirming that they all participated in it. The resolution is taken over by Sun Pictures. In other news, the Tamilnadu film personalities, led by Rajnikanth, meet Karunanidhi and thank him for allowing the Nobel peace committee to award Obama. Vairamthu says Nobel award should be extended the Classical Tamil language status.
The year ends on a warm and emotional moment with Kasab and Afzal Guru wishing the nation a happy New Year.
Economists confirm recession is over and as proof point to the fact that the longest Cranks Corner ever written has ended.