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|Volume 12 |Issue 02| January 11, 2013 ||
A Winter Wish List
AASHA MEHREEN AMIN
It's true that in a city where going to buy a bar of soap can mean half a day gone in traffic jams, it is not unusual for people to become procrastinators, hence the diluting of the remnant shampoo with water or the frantic gathering of soap bits for the impending, unavoidable, bath. With winter, however, the practice of putting off things reaches its peak as people can barely get themselves out of the blanket, let alone the house.
People will postpone the most essential things - like getting their hair dyed, buying mandatory winter food (usually high in sugar and carbohydrate content) or attempting to change their winter wardrobe from the 80s. The body and mind conspire to strike against all logical reasons to move, much like our traffic.
Think about it. Animals hibernate during winter – they gather calories and nuts and just sleep and sleep for as long as they can. Why can't we (also animals) have a similar system so that offices and schools are closed until the weather reaches bearable conditions like they do in some countries in the Northern Hemisphere? As for those ridiculously optimistic people whose sunny disposition never threatens to wither away even in the coldest, bleakest of days, they can be the ones running about keeping things going while the rest of us luxuriate in the warm cocoons of doing nothing.
In fact we can have a winter wish list to ease the chilly blues as well as the gridlock. It would probably look something like this:
All restaurants and food joints shall have free and frequent delivery services.
Office work (kept at a minimal level) shall be done at home with technical aids provided by the administration.
In case a meeting with the bosses is absolutely crucial, phone conference calls can be arranged – video conferencing being a little awkward with people wrapped up in quilts and sporting unkempt hairdos.
Weddings, parties and festivals will still be held as scheduled although attendance shall be declared completely optional and absences entirely guilt-free.
Fashion shall be in tune with the weather – turtleneck blouses with woollen saris worn over boots will be the rage. The monkey cap shall be the ultimate fashion statement. Pneumonia-inducing low-back, sleeveless blouses, chiffons and net saris or 'frozen toe stilettos' should be declared 'oh so last year'.
If going to the office is absolutely necessary, say for banks and government establishments, endless supplies of free tea and coffee with piping hot singaras and murag pulao for lunch, have to be made available. Pitha festivals can be arranged in the office so people are in touch with their cultural roots while working in a globalised environment.
If schools must open after winter holidays there shall be enough extra curricular activities to keep the little ones warm and in a good mood. Brownies, cookies and chocolate cake breaks can be made compulsory. Homework shall be negligible. Tests shall be postponed indefinitely.
Street agitations, hartals, political rallies and 'oborodh' should be rescheduled for the monsoon months.
The parliament shall introduce food festivals and exciting cultural events like kathak and fire-spinning performances to attract Opposition MPs. Attractive raffle-draw prizes such as a brand new SUV, withdrawal of cases and 24 carat gold olive branches can be great ice-breakers.
All those people who have no option but to go out to earn their bread – rickshaw pullers, garment workers, day labourers, domestic workers, shop assistants and so on – shall be given special cash and kind (woollen sweaters, socks and shawls) incentives from the government just because they are braving the cold and keeping the economy from freezing.
Beggars, especially those who use their lack of clothing or some physical deformity to gain sympathy to get their alms shall be granted all-expense-paid holidays to a beach resort for the whole winter. Those over 60 will get senior citizen privileges.
Homeless people shall be relocated to MP hostels where the MPs never live. All costs related to this rehabilitation project will be borne by taking half of four years' salary from the MPs who attend Parliament (because they should have solved the problem by now) and full month's salary of MPs not attending the Parliament (since they are not doing anything to deserve this money anyway).
It may be all wishful thinking but on a winter's day when your feet are freezing and your sinuses are clogged, a little day-dreaming wouldn't hurt as you postpone facing reality just a little bit longer...
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