Dark humour has often been derided as the last refuge of the cynical hack. But look at the other side: it can also trigger a ghost of a bemused smile in these troubled and uncertain times. I plead guilty and provide you with my forecast of the major events that will define 2009.
l Ramalingam Raju will be given an award for corporate governance. After all, his company's name is 'Satyam'
l Mamta Banerjee will become the brand ambassador for the Nano. She will not charge anything and continue to wear crumpled sarees.
l Ratan Tata will launch a campaign called 'The Audacity of Hope' and Tata Motors will successfully take over Ford Motor Co. After a few months, they will approach Barack Obama for a bailout package.
l Kingfisher and Jet will merge to form a new entity and the chairman will be former Union Minister of Civil Aviation Praful Patel. Vijay Mallya will be in charge of air hostess' uniforms and cuisine.
l Mukesh and Anil Ambani will kiss and make up. They will put up a joint bid for the Union Finance Minister's portfolio in the new coalition government.
l Thanks to gifts from grateful subjects and devotees, Mayawati's assets will cross $3 billion by September 2009. Forbes will put her on the cover in a special issue on new Asian billionaires and tycoons.
l Bajaj Auto will change its ad campaign theme from ''Hamaara Bajaj'' to ''Bechara Bajaj'' with a special appeal to consumers to stop plummeting sales.
l George Bush will open a brand new petrol pump in Texas. Veterans of the Iraq war will get a free cowboy hat when they tank up.
l In the spring of 2009, terrorists will invade Brigade Road in Bangalore and massacre more than 300 Indians and foreigners. A. R. Antulay will call it a conspiracy by Hindutva forces. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will fly down to Delhi and Islamabad and insist that Pakistan ''does something''.
l Real estate companies will sponsor the marriage and honeymoon of young couples who book their flats.
l Walmart will open in India and very soon, Sunil Bharti Mittal will be offering free Airtel connections to Indian shoppers who prefer to stay away from this abiding marvel of American capitalism.
l As the bulls go on a rampage again, the Sensex will accelerate past 25,000 points by October, 2009 and then Indian investors will suddenly wake up and realise that it was a pre-Diwali dream.
Please do mail the efforts of your crystal gazing for 2009. The best entries will be rewarded in a glittering function on April 1, 2009.