Screaming headlines on the front page of the morning’s newspapers.
- ISIS – disbanded , on account of non-existent numbers; most had returned to their respective homes. Those who remained were from Iraq and Syria and would shortly be reaching their respective places and carrying on life as usual, before ISIS happened.
- Strike by the municipal carriers that dumped waste daily in many parts of India. Reason? – despite carting away the waste to faraway places outside the inhabited limits and destroying in modern non-polluting incinerators, they had more than half a day to themselves and did not know what to do with it. Picking up was fast because they had been neatly piled in corner bins that just had to be tipped into the carrier trucks.
- Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians would be celebrating each others’ festivals like before.
- One could go by bus beyond the border, visit a relative in Pakistan, have lunch and start back towards India in the evening. A similar proposal had been made for the Bangla Desh side shortly to be commissioned.
- A joint meeting of all nations of the UNO was convened. Here representatives were the actual heads of State who attended. A joint resolution was signed for starting the disarmament process starting with nuclear and long range weaponry to throw back capabilities towards the Dark Ages. All assented including the ones producing weapons. A joint committee would be set up to tackle the question of arms in possession, in stocks at manufacturing companies.
- Parliament sessions were fully attended and bills got issue-based support between parties and also within parties. So no surprise that a bill raised by BJP found support from Congress and NCP while SP and some others were against. No bill failed to pass muster because there were dissenters even within opposing parties who saw it through. Bills got cleared in record time.
- A committee that was formed to gather information on corrupt practices prevalent got shocking things to tell. In three months they were not able to get a single finding despite looking high and low for catching somebody on the wrong side. Things were humming, the common man was smiling.
- There were tourists thronging on the clean waters of Dal lake instead of weeds. The shikaras were back in business.
- Soldiers lined along the border were playing cards over tea and snacks. They had nothing better to do.
I could have cried with joy and unabashedly. What great news to begin the day with, a harbinger of good times to come.
I came awake with a start. The events were fresh in my mind, the darkness around me the chill reminder that it was too good to be true. I had fallen asleep with the newspaper next to me, that I was reading.
Later as I stood with others around the Holi fire, I realized that just as every year we have this fire that purifies everything in our lives with the burning of the old and unwanted ways, how nice it would be if it was celebrated every year in all countries of the world, as a festival of newness, a time of rejuvenation, a bugle call for fresh times in our lives and burn the feelings of doubt and suspicion, rancor and ill-will, hatred and enmity, so that man and man would replace man vs man in a new world of peace, progress, prosperity and happiness.
One should not despair, one must only hope, and if not the entire world or even the country, at least we can make a small start within our own neighbourhoods, by the ‘Holika Dahan’ or ‘Holi fire’ in our minds burning all thoughts that threaten to get us farther from our neighbours and fellow men.