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The year that was — 2023

Comedian Vikram Poddar dredges the past, reviews the present and previews the future

Vikram Poddar | Published 31.12.23, 05:58 PM

“Please keep it positive... Even if the world is ending!”

These were the instructions from my editor for this piece. Perhaps, my piece on Christmas was a little too savage — even for the nihilists among us. I suppose it’s easy to get despondent when there is so much going on. But there were a lot of positives as we finally landed on the dark side of the moon, and to our utter disappointment, did not find Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd clutching at the guitar strings of our heart. It is believed the Japanese are headed there soon after to spread the church of anime among the indigenous moon population.


Twitter, of course, became ‘X’ forcing every newspaper editor to add the words “formerly known as X’ to all copies till Elon Musk changes his name to Tesla. My personal grouse with Elon Musk was getting my blue tick the old-fashioned way only to have him change my social media Michelin Star to an “$8 all you can eat blue tick buffet”. A few hilarious tweets from fake blue tick accounts caused stock market crashes, thus reminding you that Elon Musk’s biggest explosions are not always in space.

Elon Musk started treating Twitter like an (e)X

Elon Musk started treating Twitter like an (e)X

Getty Images

India and Canada did their own version of political bhangra, dancing around everything from irl cancellation attempts to which Punjabi song Justin Trudeau uses for his Instagram reels. It was also the year a lot of Indian students headed back from Canada, as the difference between reel-life campus videos and real-life balance sheet screenshots started to kick in. One hopes Akshay Kumar can be called upon to negotiate peace between the two countries, which can be called “The Hera Pheri accords”.

India hosted its own G20 summit, putting many Delhiites who consider themselves to be no less than G7 heads of state quite firmly in their place with all the traffic restrictions. Given the geopolitical realities of the world, the G20 gathering was a lot like an Indian wedding. Where the colours on top bely the black-and-white, cloak-and-dagger stuff below the surface. After all, the India story has always been very easily sold to those who don’t know the real story. But enough about the new law that allows a woman to put a man in prison for 10 years after consensual sex under “promise of marriage”. One wonders if even the G20’s budgets will be enough to cover all the “Indian wedding style” ransom payouts that will be negotiated.

One person who must be especially thrilled with this new law given his experience with India’s domestic violence legislation would be Mohammed Shami. The bowler led India’s assault in all the matches he was a part of including the ill-fated World Cup final, like he was going after the humanists who drafted the law. India’s collapse in the final after an unbeaten run to the finale was like a bull market rally that suddenly fizzled out in November.

However, December saw a bullish trend in Covid after nearly two years of a bear market grip. As someone who enjoyed doing online corporate comedy shows during the lockdowns, I can only wonder if companies will now again fire the employees insisting on coming to office, instead of the ones insisting on staying home. Perhaps, this merry-go-round of employees is the real Long Covid post 2020.

But, I promised my editor that I would leave you on a positive note. So, here’s hoping that the aliens who visit us next year, or the world governments who convince us, that they did remind us that we are not alone in this vast universe. And our trending hashtags are not even a hash in the code of space-time. So, join me in welcoming 2024 with a prayer for stability, sanity and serenity. But enough about the 50 elections across the globe in the same year.

The author is a Marwari investment banker turned corporate comedian. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.

Last updated on 31.12.23, 06:00 PM

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