So we have come to the end of yet another year. I am older by one year, that much further away from my birth, that much closer to my inevitable end. but the interesting thing is, I draw great comfort from the fact that I don't know when and how that end is going to be. This is very different from normal human behaviour -- at least middle-class behaviour -- we draw comfort from certainties. Not in this case.
But enough of macabre thoughts. Let's see how the year went, what was and wasn't done, what should have been done or undone.
Right now I'm wearing three hats: Politics, the profession of dispute resolution in construction contracts (called Arbitration for short, which is 90%, but not fully correct) and writing. The second is my bread and butter, the last gives me great pleasure, and the first -- it provides me with the hill that I must climb, without which to climb I'd be miserable. I can write any time -- it is a no-threat thing. I now know, at the risk of presuming upon fate, that I will continue to get cases to arbitrate upon or otherwise resolve (in any case the ones that I have will see me through for quite a few coming years). But politics! And doing BJP in West Bengal! Ah, that's some hill to climb.
Nobody would be interested in my profession, except to know what the damn thing is, and how did I chance upon it. Construction Contracts (big sums of money, a middling-size contract in India would nowadays be around Rs. 100 crores or a Billion rupees) generate disputes, and disputes require resolution. And resolution requires knowledge of both Engineering and Law, which, begging everybody's pardon, doesn't grow on trees. I happened to get involved in one such when I was working for the Metro project and desperately seeking a way out of government service. One night, when I was sitting on the balcony of the Metro quarters at 200X, it flashed upon me that this is something I could do. So I'm doing it, and not doing badly at all, touch wood.
But politics? But the point is not that. The point is, after a gap of two decades, things are again beginning to look good for the BJP in West Bengal.
Why do I say so? Several reasons. Consider:
1. The CPI(M) have been thrown out of power and there's little chance of their bouncing back. The reasons being, first, the bulk of CPI(M) members had joined the party after it came to power in 1977. They know what it is like to 'do CPI(M)' while it is in power. I don't think many of them know how to struggle for power,and I suspect most of them don't want to know. because, unlike the Communists of earlier generation they are not ideologically indoctrinated. They were in CPI(M) because it was in power, and if it isn't they'll go to whoever is. As simple as that. Secondly, leadership: the last two great leaders -- both absolute &%$#@&*$ -- were Jyoti Basu and Anil Biswas. With them dead, the ones that are left, Buddha and Biman, are frankly, not much. they can't nurse the party back to power.
2. So now, what about the party that's in power? Heh heh. Mamata has blamed the CPI(M) for poisoning hooch, spreading rumours of poisoning drinking water, and now of letting loose rats in a hospital, so that the rats would bite patients and that would give Trinamool Congress a bad name. Need I say more?
So, as I said, for the state BJP it is now or never. therefore I have to work very hard.
Everything is fine on the family front. Anuradha is fine; so are my daughters Malini (Coco) and Madhura (Momo) both in the US of A; so are Coco's husband Kiran Rao and children, our dearest grandchildren, Surya and Uma and Momo's husband Ajinkya Khedekar. Thank God for everyone being well. Oh, and BTW, my mother-in-law, Mrs. Arati Guha, a sprightly 85, is doing gloriously. Thank God for that, too.
The year went pretty fast, and for me the highlight was the four days in July I spent at Berlin with Santanu. Superb weather, superb sightseeing and superb beer! Especially an afternoon at a biergarten in Tiergarten, guzzling Weissbier, and a morning through afternoon at Cafe Einstein near Hauptbahnhof station. The entire holiday was quite nice in fact, from end-May till end-July, except a little bit in DC. I always loved to travel, and I am now getting it. This year I am planning Alaska.
My book, a complete biography of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, a man I immensely admire, is over. I am now checking the proof and preparing the index.
So far so good. Can't complain.Let it stay this way -- but of course it won't. Change is the law of life.
Happy New Year to everyone. May you all have a wonderful 2012.