Some things don’t change
Here are my resolutions for the new year.
• I will give away things I don’t use: Old clothes awaiting the return of long-forgotten fashion, old books written by one-time friends and casual acquaintances who signed copies, television sets that were kept back in the hope of converting them into book cases, souvenirs from seminars including laminated ID cards that certify my presence at those bore-fests, the light suit with the coffee stain, the potted plant that refused to grow into a tree but remains outside my window for no particular reason, the various pairs of glasses that are testimony to my increasing numbers spherical, conical, rectangular and otherwise, the printer that is used as a foot rest, a signed photograph of a man who looks like Charles Dickens but cannot be. • I will eat my greens: And also floss my teeth more often, laugh harder at my friends’ jokes, get the clock in the dining room fixed, put my papers in order, write a will leaving everything either to Médecins Sans Frontières or the Society for the Prevention of the Misuse of the Preposition, reply to that letter from a favourite uncle I received two years ago, stop recycling the story of how I met Nelson Mandela, stop pretending I enjoy classical music, smile more often at my neighbour, visit old friends even when I have no favour to ask of them, work hard at not thrusting my new year’s resolutions down other people’s throats.
• I will read Proust: And not just Proust but also Virgil (or Aeneid – I could never figure out which was the book and which the author), the complete works of Sigmund Freud, Montaigne and the lady who writes about something I have temporarily forgotten.
• I will try to understand how things work: Things such as income tax, instructions from my wife on domestic matters, dripping taps, book sales, why I was never picked to play cricket for India and somehow keep missing the Man of the Year award year after year, which button to press on my phone to tell the persistent caller to do anatomically impossible things.
• I will try not to: tell others how to run their lives, interrupt when bores are talking, turn my nose up at terrible writers who earn more than I do, have coffee after midnight, mess up a good joke by poor delivery, secretly hope my neighbour’s noisy dog will run away, go for a movie just because it’s been recommended by friends, end sentences with a preposition like ‘on’.
Oops! Wait. That was the list I made last year. On second thoughts, it continues to be valid for this year too.
Suresh Menon is a writer based in India. In his youth he set out to change the world but later decided to leave it as it is.