Column: 2008 will be a historic year

As the new year begins, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish my loyal readersNewyear much happiness in 2008.
I hope the year brings good health and prosperity to both of you.

It’s going to be a historic year, a year in which we’ll see the first African-American elected to the White House. How do I know this? Well, as a committed journalist, I do a great amount of research, looking at surveys, trends and other data. And then I throw it all away and consult a tarot reader. I also gaze into a crystal ball and make a long-distance call to a Zambian witch
doctor. Yes, I cover all my bases, which is how I’m able to make bold predictions like this: India will win more medals at the Olympic Games in Beijing than the entire continent of Antarctica.

If you don’t think that prediction is bold enough, here’s one that will really knock your socks off:  Peace will finally come to the Middle East. Yes, both Israelis and Palestinians will be thrilled to get a visit from British author David Peace.

Here’s what else I see in 2008:

  • Democrat Barack Obama is elected president of America, beating Republican Mike Huckabee in a landslide. To the delight of his biggest supporter, he announces plans to convert a section of the White House into a studio for The Oprah Winfrey Show. That enables him to appear on the show regularly and gives Oprah a bigger stage to continue leading the American people.
  • Osama bin Laden, upset that not enough people are listening to his recorded messages, releases his next video on YouTube and attracts millions of viewers by calling it "Osama’s Night With Paris Hilton." But most viewers are disappointed to find Osama lecturing them from the steps of the Hilton hotel in Paris.

  • Robert Mugabe announces that he’ll step down as president of
    Zimbabwe before he turns 100. Thousands of elated Zimbabweans dance in
    the streets, chanting, "Only 16 more years! Only 16 more years!" But a
    few weeks later, Mugabe makes another announcement: "I’ve instructed
    the Minister of Home Affairs to reissue my birth certificate. I’m now
    40 years old."
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is nominated for an Oscar for what the
    Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences calls his "amazingly
    realistic portrayal of a politician who cares about the environment."
    An excited Schwarzenegger brags that one of his Hummers runs solely on
    hydrogen, saying, "Trust me, it’s much better than gas."
  • The Olympic Games in Beijing produce a number of surprises, the
    biggest of which comes at the conclusion of the games, when journalists
    are stunned to realize that no member of the Bulgarian weightlifting
    team has tested positive for drugs. Another surprise occurs in women’s
    gymnastics when a 14-year-old from Canada tests positive for food.
  • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt announce that they have selected
    Botswana as the country in which their next baby will be conceived.
    They decline to reveal which lucky country will host the baby’s birth, but
    British bookmakers make Malawi the early favorite, while offering 10,000 to 1
    odds against it being Iraq.
  • Following a fatal attack by a Siberian tiger, the board of San
    Francisco Zoo decides not to keep wild tigers in small enclosures.
    Thousands of people buy tickets to see the new "Tiger in the Woods"
    exhibit. But many of them go home disappointed, saying, "We didn’t even
    get to see Mrs. Woods."
  • Parliamentary elections are finally held in Pakistan, with the
    late Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party sweeping to power,
    allowing her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, to become the country’s new
    crime minister. Her 19-year-old son, Bilawal Zardari, gets a newly
    created position in the Cabinet: Minister of Social
    Networking.

Photo by Hamachi

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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