January is named after the Roman god of beginnings and transitions, Janus. Janus has two faces, one looking backward and the other forward. January is the time to look in both directions.
I am terrified and challenged simultaneously by this January, January 2014. Because 2013 has been the worst year in my life. In spite of the fact I am not new to the usual ups and downs of life.
2013 was the year of FACES for me. MASKS. I had never seen so many masked faces in my life earlier. I had never seen smiles that looked angelic but turned out to be diabolic – not even when my students cared to point it out to me. Not ever to the extent 2013 undressed itself.
I saw more than half of my colleagues lose their jobs in 2013. I witnessed the march of capitalism and religion, hand in hand. They marched wearing the best saris or the best of cravats available in the market. They marched on the bones of people they buried beneath the land they acquired in the process of marching. And they recited prayers every morning and evening, prayers copied from the internet, prayers from Tagore’s Gitanjali and Hopkins’s adaptations. They performed rituals from the Vedas and they sermonised with the help of “workshop” experts. They brought in criminals as VIPs whom we garlanded and bouqueted. And they raped us. Raped us worse than what the western colonialists did world over throughout modern human history. And they made us take pledge every morning that we are Indians and we should love all Indians.
No, I’m not writing fiction.
Ashvamedha is not fiction in India. Not in America either.
This was the reality for a lot of Delhiites in 2013.
I look forward to a better 2014.
I look forward to Arvind Kejriwal.
This is the first time in my life I’m putting my faith in a politician.
My hope, rather.
Janus had/has 2 faces. Looking backward, looking forward. Don’t keep skeletons in the cupboard like Narendra Modi, for example, so that you won’t have ghosts haunting you everafter.
Can I have optimism still?
My optimism is simple. I want to see faces.
Faces, not masks.
Not the best cravat available in the market.
“Let noble thoughts come from every side,” said Rig Veda.