Morning after morning, as you reach for the day’s newspapers, you get that sinking feeling: that it’ll be more bad news. And so it is. Consider what I got hit by today within fifteen minutes of waking up. This is just a smattering:
The rupee hits a new low against the dollar and is now officially the worst-performing Asian currency. In the last three and a half months, it has lost more than 17% against the US currency.
The US has frozen $700 million of aid to Pakistan, because it does not see our neighbours doing much to check the spread of crude home-made bombs. Pakistan has, predictably, reacted angrily. Meanwhile, police in Karachi raided a madrassa and found as many as 50 children, some as young as seven, chained in a basement by the Taliban, who were preparing them to join the jihad on the Afghan front.
The busting of a terror module in Bihar has alerted the Indian intelligence agencies that, after some years of lying low, Jaish-e-Mohammad seems to have regrouped, and is planning fresh infiltrations across the Line of Control in Kashmir.
In the Rajya Sabha, the Opposition blocked two bills brought by the Government: the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, and the Commercial Divisions in High Courts Bill. In the resulting fracas, three more legislations could not even be presented in the House—the Educational Tribunals Bill, the Institutions of Technology (Amendment) Bill, and the National Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill.
A Planning Commission panel has mooted an extra Rs 2 “green surcharge” on every litre of petrol as well as a 3% cess on cost of all vehicles for insurance. Apparently an “urban surcharge” of upto 20% of vehicle cost has also been suggested.
A Sukhoi-30MKI crashed near Pune, forcing the Indian Air Force to temporarily ground the fleet.
A day after Anil Kumble resigned as Chairman of the National Cricket Academy, Sunil Gavaskar has slammed the Board of Control for Cricket in India for rejecting his long-pending demand for $1 million fee for services rendered to the IPL Governing Council.
A 22-year-old woman working in a Gurgaon mall was raped by her cab driver on her way home from work late in the night.
The scientists working with Large Hadron Collider have found some signs of the ‘god particle’—the Higgs boson—but no conclusive evidence, after having been at it for more nearly three years.
And all this is from the front pages. I dared not venture a guess what lay in store inside.
It seemed a much better option to set the papers aside and take shelter under the quilt again. It’s grown chilly in Delhi over the last couple of days and the warm cocoon of the quilt, I hoped, would shield me for some more time from the horrors that lay ahead.
In five minutes, I was beginning to get into a calm meditative state of focusing on watching my breath flowing in and out—a process, if continued long enough, I have been assured, would make my mind as still as the surface of a lake and help me attain a placid sharpness of the intellect so necessary to cope with the current state of affairs.
Then a large rock dropped in the lake—a text message from the Executive Editor of Mint, asking me if I was sending in my column today. Yes, I wrote back, hauled myself up and opened one of the papers at random. The first piece of news I saw was this: “Women turning to drink to cope with ‘supermum’ stress.”
That was it, for me.
Well, maybe scientists finding “some signs” of the god particle is good news after all. It could seen as cause for hope, however faint. Maybe this is the first step towards a whole new understanding of our universe and our existence. On a day like this, no straw is too weak or brittle to clutch at.