Will New Year be really new?
Saturday, 31st December 2016
When a new day dawns Jan 1, the calendar flips to a fresh year. Though a speck in the endless expanses of time a year is still a long period in the short span of mortal existence. Our minds are tuned to such milestones.
The mental vision is vitiated further when viewed through the prism of the present. The instant dogs the individual most. Even an astrologer’s assurance can’t cure us of current obsessions nor can hindsight lure us into farsightedness.
So, cutting a long story short the concern is what does 2017 herald. Well, a wishlist of wants, though a heart-warming temptation can become a futile flight of fantasy. And given the visible vignettes of the vicious end of days of ’16 and ’15, we can surely say what we don’t want! So let us, Chennaiites, collectively wade through this tantalizing maze.
Politically, ’16 was poll year in TN. With the Dravidian parties alternating in power, any change invariably has led only to status quo. But this year, even that symbolic shift of guard at Ft. St.George did not happen. J stayed put and in just six months, landed lifeless in a shallow pit, leaving her party of two leaves in the lurch. AIADMK is now turning a new leaf by claiming J’s Udan Pirava Sahodhari (UPS) is as good a leaf as the withered one. But the cadre and cultivated vote bank suspect a synthetic streak in the sister. This despite deceptive, desperate efforts to maintain the same charades. As ‘16 draws to a close, however, the sister seems set.
Even otherwise, the State stares into an uncertain ‘17. And we can ill afford to wait for four more new years for the elusive dawn. We want free speech; not freebies and flattery. We would prefer tough truths to fabrications and falsehood. We do not want another authoritarian CM; nor do we wish an extra-Constitutional puppeteer sans authority and responsibility. We need clean governance, not one that wipes the treasury clean. Zealous Ministers, not zombies are what we look forward to. Industries and tourism, not breweries and Tasmac should be the booze, pardon, boost for revenue. Well, I better stop here. The hangover of that last one almost tippled, er, tripped me.
This is a well endowed State vis-a-vis ATMs. Still, De-M hit us real bad and bit us more than many. As year-end deadline neared, J’s death burned, rather, buried a week of cash flow. Vardah blew away the next. Of the 50-day-pain that Modi promised, 15 days were an unbearable, unofficial pain-package specially for us. Even before, TN was among the last States to receive fresh currency. But ironically, it emerged among the top in seizure of new and old notes. We now have two queues. IT officials lining up before cash-rich hoarders and people stalking cash-less Banks. Both queues, scraping for cash, are likely to stretch into 2017.
The 2015 December floods had the official seal of negligence writ all over it. As the State and its economy submerged more under lake water than direct rain water, nature, though the cause, played only a cameo. But in December 2016, nature went totally solo, not wanting any human help in a bid to assert its supremacy and self-respect. In a blitzkrieg that lasted less than 4 hours, Chennai was ripped apart and stripped of its green cover, its landscape altered forever. The canopy of trees that shaded and shielded many a locality from the scorching tropical sun, now lay shredded on roads and parks. With only dust and shattered glass to wipe and mosquitoes to swipe at, cash-less life seemed like a cruel joke
Now here’s a summary of 2017 cheers and fears. I could have just said this right at the start and scooted for a party ... no not AIADMK, I meant a New Year bash. As for MGR we worry he is not made to turn too much in his cramped grave. We wish the courts all luck in their quest for finding the truth about Amma’s hospitalisation for we are dying to know which WhatsApp meme during those 75 days turned up right. As for Chinnamma, let her be assured that this servile State knows all the routines and regimen, but since the Centre may not, some caution is advised. Wish her a safe leaf, sorry, life ahead. Aah, Centre. We hope that at least and at the earliest in the New Year, the Bank tellers get a lot more tender.
Important. Forget Amma or Chinnamma, I am all for Mother Nature. Mercy Madam, give us water to drink, not sink, give us breeze, not blitz. And give us a true new year sans a tear!
About ColumnistA chartered accountant and a cost accountant by qualification and a person of friendly disposition but someone who values his and others privacy, T R Jawahar was not cut out for journalism. But how Jawahar has ended up as one of the most prominent journalists in Chennai and the creator of some important big news brands at such a young age is the stuff of destiny and the dint of hard work.
Born to that doyen of journalism and a legend in these parts, T R Ramaswamy, well known by the affectionate acronym TRR, Jawahar no doubted has inherited his analytical and writing skills from that great man. Apart from this, the father and son duo share another important quality that define their entire world-view, which is humanism. A warm empathy for all beings in the world is the core of their beings.
After the passing away of TRR in the late 80s, T R Jawahar took over the helm of the Chennai’s most popular English eveninger, News Today, and seen it grow through both good and bad times. Through the unceasing publication of News Today, Jawahar is continuing the legacy of his father who founded the paper as a social commitment as well as an entrepreneurial venture.
Jawahar further perpetuated the journalistic memory of his father by founding the popular Tamil eveninger Maalai Sudar. The two papers have carved a unique niche for themselves through an adroit mix of news and views, which help the readers to retain their Indian cultural identity.
Apart from this, the biggest and the most path-breaking journalistic venture from Jawahar is Talk Media, that publication stable that has now become the talking point in the city with a slew of neighbourhood weeklies covering the length and breadth of Chennai. His Point Blank column in the Talk Media is hugely popular for its most forthright views conveyed in cheeky and witty manner.
To discuss Jawahar just in journalistic terms would, however, amount to doing a huge disservice to his rounded personality. Endowed with a sunny sense of humour, Jawahar is a connoisseur of movies both in Tamil and English. He is a virtual treasure house of knowledge on Tamil film music and Tamil poetry. He is a history buff and a keen reader of English and Tamil works, which is counter-pointed by his fetish for modern gadgets. A willing traveller, he has brought to bear those varied experiences in his trips in India and abroad on his writings.
Despite his professional achievements and his focussed administration of a company which employs over 500 people, Jawahar remains essentially a family man, a caring husband and a doting father. He derives his strength from his wife and daughter, and his home and office forever remain his temples.