Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Budget ruminations

It’s Budget day and everyone around me is running for stories on tax benefits, fiscal challenges, duty restructuring et al. The entire office has the feel of something grave hanging in the air, like we have only so many hours before Armageddon and must prepare irrevocably for our fate, which is destined to burst like a bubble the moment the paper goes in for publication. The competition will pounce on us; reputations are at stake and everyone is hassled as to where they’ll stand at the end of it all. The features desk is straining to get movie moguls and art impresarios to quote on what they think of this year’s policy statement. But to no avail. In the midst of bytes and analyses, we all look like one infinite mass of high-strung flesh. I am looking at export figures and getting them tabulated and also at the back of my mind, thinking of the books that have to be reviewed. There are hours to go before this cycle finishes, since on Budget days, office works till midnight, but already, there seems a finality to the proceedings of the day. Indeed, an aura of expectant interest has already evaporated, for there is little meaning to derive from putting figures in their place. Perhaps, the effects of the announcements earlier in the day on various sectors is something that will, after all, excite interest.

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