I am not a huge advocate of New Year celebrations. To me, a year is nothing more than a convenient time frame based on nature's transitions. So what follows is no year-end review. Call me a narcissist with a misplaced sense of my own importance, but I decided to interview myself; it was fun, for I got to play celebrity and to ask questions (two of my favourite occupations?). Maybe 'introspection' is a nicer word to use, for I got a real sense of my likes and dislikes, and thought rather deeply about certain issues. I did this at midnight, awake in bed in the dark, when the people of my building were celebrating the arrival of the New Year. New Year's eve just serves as an excuse for more noise than we normally make. We also disturb animals in the bargain, but who cares? (Being good to animals will probably form the subject of some abominable 'New Year resolution'- another cliché I dislike- and be forgotten easily.) The usual disturbances- loud music, crackers, lots of talking- notwithstanding, I quizzed myself, and here is what I came up with.
Favourite politician: Nicolas Sarkozy. Colourful and controversial, he has kept France in the news ever since he took over the reins as President. Strikes, goofed-up diplomatic visits, a divorce, an Egyptian holiday with his new glamorous girlfriend- absolutely everything that could possibly happen to keep a country in the news. That is not to say he hasn't done any genuine work. Of course he has, and quite a few schemes of his have found favour with the concerned people. But what I like about Sarkozy is that he comes out in the open with everything. Wouldn't it be great if we had a politician like him here, moving about in careless abandon, and then 'accounting' for his actions with Karan Thapar in front of him?
Favourite sportsman: Michael Schumacher. Forever. His retirement holds no significance for me; no young British upstart or Spanish spoilsport or Finnish 'Iceman' can take the place Schumacher has so deservedly carved out for himself in the high-pressure world of Formula One. He is up there with Ayrton Senna. Nobody else can even dream of coming close to them.
Favourite season: The monsoons, of course. Particularly because there is so little rain where I live. Everytime a cyclonic storm brews over the Bay of Bengal, my hopes rise. Rains are synonymous with natural splendour. Hills are cloaked in a fresh green cover, the normally unmerciful sunrays are diluted to watery beams struggling through thick grey clouds, the moisture-laden breeze refreshes and rejuvenates. Is there a better season? (Except perhaps autumn, but let's not talk of it where it doesn't really manifest itself.)
Favourite author: Whenever I like a book, I obviously admire the author. It isn't fair to pick one person as a favourite author, because writers have their own individual styles and deserve respect for what they do. Okay, the truth is I can't decide. So I'll talk about one author whose work impacted me greatly in the last few months- Paulo Coelho. I can't pretend to understand everything he says, or even to be able to interpret everything correctly. But I do know that I'm learning from his work, and every book of his is a delightful journey through facts unknown or latent.
Favourite book: Again, it's hard to pick one book as my favourite, and I really cannot resolve the tie, so I'll mention two memorable books from my recent reading: The Keys of the Kingdom (AJ Cronin), and Veronika Decides to Die (Paulo Coelho). The Keys of the Kingdom is a compelling book about a priest's struggle to accept what the Church regards as faith, contrasted against his own ideas about how people should be served. Veronika Decides to Die looks at suicide and mental illness, and about how it is important to live life on one's own terms, without paying much attention to what the rest of the world thinks.
Favourite plant: I don't have green fingers. I know very little about plants, but I care deeply for them. When I'm outside, green is the colour I like best. There's this one little plant that is growing out of a little hole in the floor of our balcony. I don't know what plant it is, or if it is a weed. What matters is that it is young and beautiful, and I like to watch the sunlight brighten up its nascent green leaves every morning. It's a marvel. If omens are to believed, then this certainly is one, signifying hope and health.
Favourite businessman: Vijay Mallya. Besides being an extraordinary entrepreneur, he has done much for India in terms of motorsport. (Does that explain my predilection for him?) We have a stake in an F1 team, thanks to Mallya. He will help bring F1 to India (I speak in the future tense, because until the Grand Prix is actually in existence, I can't be sure it will happen).
These are some of the people/things I questioned myself about. It was a great way to pass time while I waited for the noise to come to an end. And when it did, I promptly fell asleep, bringing some sensible rumination to an end.
Any biographers around?