In the year 2047, in the month of August, India will have been free (raucous laughter being heard in the background as I type the word “free”) for a hundred years. A hundred years of “Bharat maata ki jai” and “Mera bharat mahaan” and “Saare jahaan se achha” and “the pride of being an Indian and all Indians being my brothers and sisters.”
I let myself paint a picture in my mind. I imagine myself, all of 60, waiting to celebrate watching the celebration on TV not giving a damn about the 100th independence day of my beloved nation.
I glanced at the newspaper. I still read only the comics page (even at 60, I still love Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes more than any other character – real or imagined) But a headline caught my eye. Pakistan is still attacking soldiers at the border. The LoC is now a little above Madhya Pradesh. After completely capturing J&K, they thought, “This is too easy. Why not venture a little more into the country?”
We have yet again “humbly requested” Pakistan to “please stop, yaar!”
I am too old to read this headline over and over again. I turn the page.
The new iPhone has been launched. It is as tall as my pet horse. The last one wasn’t too small either. I shudder as I remember that one time I passed by a playschool and I saw a bunch of toddlers carrying their phones above their heads. Granted, they are as light as feathers, but the phones looked like portable ceilings in the hands of those little munchkins!
A glass monument has been unveiled in Jayanagar 9th block by BDA. It is called the Tower of Garbage. The highest ever pile-up of garbage in the history of the universe was being honored. The glass is atom-bomb-proof, reflects light and from certain angles, even the colors of the invisible spectrum are visible. “This glass monument will bring Bengaluru on the global map again,” stated the CM. “It was a severe blow to us when the IT companies were forcefully shut down,” the CM wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. He concluded with, “This garbage tower makes me proud of Bengaluru. My son was able to see it from the moon while it was still being constructed!” Someone politely whispered to the CM that there has been yet another delay in the official name change of the city. The CM brushed the unnamed man aside and bowed to the audience.
A cow that was crossing a road in Pune was brutally abused by four minor (albeit, hot-blooded) youths. The police nabbed them in less than twenty-four hours after the crime was committed and all four have been sentenced to death. Their lawyer argued that they are juveniles, but the judge is said to have said, “Age does not matter. Look at the nature of the crime. The victim here is a cow! Cow is our mother!” Meanwhile, another victim’s parents have been fighting a similar case since the past several years. However, the victim is a human (and a girl) and is not the judge’s mother.
India lost another cricket match. It is not surprising, since most of the players entered films and most of the out-of-work actors entered cricket. Besides, nobody watches it anymore, due to all the comedy that goes on in these matches, that it is not even funny anymore.
Some of the members of my generation have allegedly sent an appeal to the Sports Minister to introduce Quidditch tournaments in India. According to rumours, more than half our population comprises of wizards and witches. (Another rumor has been doing the rounds that most Indians are parselmouths and can speak to snakes!) I smile as I read about the Quidditch appeal. All sports except cricket have been abolished due to lack of funding and cricket is just a lost battle that we love to lose repeatedly!
I flip to the entertainment section. Rajnikant has signed a new movie. It has been reported that Shah Rukh Khan’s granddaughter will play the female lead. This will be her first film. I scoff.
I finally reach the comics page and begin reading. A bunch of ads are jumbled in the corner of the page – matrimonial ads, describing “fair and slim” boys; an investment scheme for beggars; a fence cover that gives an electric shock to anyone who pees or spits on your fence (price available on request); portable kitchens; a watch company that manufactures watches that allow you to be “fashionably late” to every occasion you are invited to; an eraser that helps you erase off ink marks from currency notes; mosquito repellents (even in this day and age! Sigh!); digitized dogs and other pets; honeymoon packages to space. And a lot more.
My neighbour comes over to watch the PM’s address on my 80″ holographic TV. Her house is too crowded with the preparations of her daughter’s fifth wedding, but she wouldn’t miss the PM’s address. It’s the 100th year, after all! She said her daughter’s four husbands are busy applying four different brands of fairness creams – one on their face, one on their arms, one for the collar area (because the collar tends to get really dirty if the cream isn’t applied properly), another one for the feet. The daughter has stopped caring about her complexion, as have most women in the country. The female population dropped to such an alarming level, that there are six times as many men as women in any given age group. So skin color is no longer a concern. Polyandry is the norm (the lawmakers preferred polygamy, but when they got down to the mathematics of it, they foolishly realized their folly).
The speakers blare from all sides of my hall, forcing me to listen to the PM’s speech. I block out everything, but his concluding words drill into my ears, “After a hundred years, I can proudly say, we, as a nation, are developing at a very fast rate. It brings tears of joy blah blah blah.”
My India – forever a “developing” nation – never a “developed” one!