Seven rhymes with heaven: So why did this 7th year turn out so hellish?

Seven rhymes with heaven: So why did this 7th year turn out so hellish?
03/06/2021, by , in Home Page Articles

This story first appeared in Times of India Blog

‘Why aren’t there 10 numbers from 1 to 10?  Because seven ate nine.’ Something akin to this corny joke seems to have happened to the NDA sarkar’s calculations. Covid’s gargantuan appetite has gobbled up the rah-rah of the previous six years. So mean, no? This has allowed the usual suspecters to scoff that ‘The Magnificent Seven’ has been rescripted as ‘The Sagnificant Seven’. Seven political Samurai are difficult to find these days, but film ‘bluffs’ could add the 1955 movie famously featuring Marilyn Monroe’s uncontrollable white skirt. ‘The Seven Year Itch’ was about wanting to scratch around for someone sexier when wedded bliss turns to hiss. In our case, someone called TINA isn’t allowing us to satisfy the urge, but the perfidious virus has certainly made ‘itch’ sound like ‘glitch’.

This seven is quite a number. You never quite know what it adds up to since it divides itself between ominous and auspicious. On the debit side: Seven Deadly Sins, Susanna’s Seven Husbands/ Saat Khoon Maaf, Lord Ram’s 7×2 vanvas. Good and bad: Economic cycles and the Bible’s seven years of plenty followed by as many of famine. It’s a bummer that this NDA anniversary year is such a party-pooper because seven figures far oftener with nice stuff: Wonders of the world, colours of the rainbow, hills of Rome, jerseys of Dhoni and his hero Ronaldo. Even schmaltzy songs like ‘I would sail the seven seas with you/, Even if you told me to go and paddle my own canoe.’ Opposition netas will skip this caveat; Sounds too much like the Centre sending states adrift, telling them to go net their own vaccines.

Hinduism has the saat phera and seven rebirths, though some marriages make you feel you’ve died as many times already. Islam’s 786 is the total value of the letters of ‘Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim’. Seven candles grace the Jewish menorah. In Persian Zoroastrian texts, a saviour and six companions will restore the ravaged world; today’s Iranians decorate their Navruz tables with seven auspicious symbols.

God created the world in six days. Earthly deities may take as many years to create theirs, but clearly they can’t rest in the seventh.


Alec Smart said: “GoI and Twitter are trying to ouwit-ter each other.”

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About Bachi Karkaria

SAWM India member Bachi Karkaria writes the weekly column “Erratica” for Times of India and is the Director of the Times Litfest. Her latest book is “In Hot Blood” (Juggernaut, 2017). She lives in Mumbai.