Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Roll out the barrel

                                  

            
 -Brian Mendonça

Roll out the barrel
We'll have a barrel of fun
Roll out the barrel,
We've got the blues on the run
 Zing boom tararrel
Sing out a song of good cheer;
Now's the time to roll the barrel
Cause the gang's all here.

-The Andrews Sisters (1956)

The end of the year is upon us. One more year goes by. As Christmas season segues into New Year, Goa is inundated. All some can do is live life to the hilt between 24th and 31st.

It is a time for thankfulness, for the gift of life for having seen another year -- for meeting new friends, for seeing life in new perspectives, for pushing old limits and discovering new ones. There were moments when we saw a side of ourselves which we did not know existed. Was it all worthwhile? -- For life is fleeting and the chairs which yawn in the living room will find others to seat when the call comes.

One chair has been empty since 16 December. By 29 December 2012 it was clear Jyoti Singh Pandey (23) would not come home. She had died after being raped and murdered by 6 in a moving bus in Delhi. Earlier this week the Supreme Court has dismissed the plea to withhold the juvenile convicted of the crime. The law sometimes goes overboard to protect those it should be prosecuting. In a day and age when the safety of women is increasingly endangered, more so in Goa, this verdict has soured the year-end when it should have been an open and shut case.

Leslie Udwin, maker of India’s Daughter – a BBC film spurred by the Nirbhaya incident -- has said that in the case of the juvenile, society was more to blame than him, i.e. people go into adulthood with the prejudices of their parents, with memories of husbands beating their wives or being abused by their fathers, uncles or neighbors. ‘What my film says is that it’s not these men (rapists) who are rotten apples in the barrel. It’s the barrel that is rotten.’ By this reasoning the act should be condoned as India has millions of people who are from impoverished backgrounds.

The much awaited 20 December came and went. Some Goans are still in shock after the ISL score that evening. What happened that evening in the stadium was unprecedented. As a host state Goa could have been more sporting. To me it looked like an even fight with anybody’s game. My takeaway is this – We do not take defeat in a sporting manner. We have got to win no matter what. We don’t mind being portrayed as spoilsports to the world just because we did not have it our way. The rampant disregard for traffic rules by football fanatics in Goa on match day has to be seen to be believed. They are a law unto themselves.

Roll out the barrel
We'll have a barrel of fun
Roll out the barrel,
We've got the blues on the run
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*newindianexpress.com; Published in the weekly feature 'On my mind' in Gomantak Times, Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday, 27 December 2015. Pix of invitation to an exhibition of paintings by N. Swarnalatha on 19 May 2013, courtesy IHC, Delhi, 2013.

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