Some things don’t change

Friday - - Leisure -

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.

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