A host of predictable assaults in the week leading up to New Year, and the week following it, is as inevitable as the screening of Love, Actually on five different movie channels and at every second house party on Christmas. And almost more irritating.
Of course, there’s the painful, “What’s your New Year resolution?” text, often made more annoying by the use of smileys and quicktext. My instincts beg me to shoot off a reply which my Autocorrect would tamely suggest is, “To cut out aunts like you from my life”. However, since nastiness has been proven to make the perpetrator more alluring, it would not be the best idea.
Since I came out as a misanthrope, I have become infinitely more desirable at house parties.
Thankfully, the birthday of one of my brothers falls on the first of January, which is the perfect excuse to avoid ridiculous New Year’s Eve parties, and sloppy alcohol-flavoured kisses from overenthusiastic women and fat men.
However, my brother’s birthday unfortunately doesn’t shield me from clichéd texts and Facebook tags.
And so, I have armed myself with the right tools of defence against the New Year. One was the serendipitous discovery of James Franco’s poetry. Franco’s superpower is the ability to make people melt by making eye contact through celluloid. His poetry’s superpower is the ability to make readers’ skin crawl, and their hair stand on end. His repertoire ranges from the vacuous – “There is a fake version of me / And he’s the one that writes / These poems. / He has an attitude and a swagger / That I don’t have” – to the bewildering – one of his ‘poems’ is essentially a list of Heath Ledger’s films, containing the slow-clap-inducing tribute “You were the knight in A Knight’s Tale”.
On Facebook, I threatened to send lines from his poetry to anyone who wishes me and my family a prosperous New Year, and/or suggests that all my dreams may come true this year.
The responses to that post alerted me to another threat. Most people are so dense, and bad poetry is so in, that the recipients of Franco’s experiments with self-indulgence may think you’re actually doing them a favour. In which case, they may either reciprocate the gesture by sending you their own collections of poetry, or persist with wishing you for every non-occasion, in the hope that you will text or email them more verses.
It may be a good idea to threaten these people with shirtless pictures of Anil Kapoor
And so, it may be a better idea to threaten these people with shirtless pictures of Anil Kapoor, which ought to be an unequivocal deterrent to all but the morbidly masochistic.
My second safety measure was to rewrite my name on Facebook in the Naskh script, which ensures that few people can find me, and no one can tag me without going through an elaborate procedure of navigate-scroll-copy-paste, or getting lucky with Google Translate. Of course, as someone proved with a comment on my status making the announcement, there are those who will take the trouble, undaunted. But then, one must respect such persistence, and throw them the odd bone.
My third safety measure has been to make a random cryptic announcement on Facebook, which will make people think twice about wishing me, along the lines of: “Thank you to everyone who has stood by me during this difficult time. I’ll be all right. Still not taking phone calls, or checking messages.” Naturally, some idiots will respond with comments such as, “Hey, what hap? U ok?”, but they rarely expect acknowledgements, leave alone replies.
My fourth has been to put up a customised Batman-slapping-Robin-meme cover picture, which ought to make evident my dislike of people who assure me that it’s been a great year, and thank me for being an unwilling part of it.
My fifth measure is saved for when all else fails, and that’s stonewalling with absolute honesty.
Q: What are you doing for New Year’s????
A: Refusing to respond to texts with excessive punctuation marks.
Q: What are you doing for New Year’s?
A: Watching TV.
Q: What!!!! Why don’t you come have drinks and ring in the New Year with us????
A: What does it tell you that I would rather watch a bunch of people scrambling to find love before the ball drops in Times Square than ring in the New Year with you?
The last could backfire. One of my stupider acquaintances’ major takeaway from the text was that I needed to find love before balls started dropping across the world, and sent me this a day or two later:
Hi Nandini, A writer friend recently single would be interested to meet u….shall I give him your number? xx