Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year - My first post for 2015

A week into the New Year, 2015 and here I come to wish you all a happy and peaceful new year, one filled with loads of good things and lots of good luck. As I watch 2015 beginning to unfold, there is a part of me that lingers in the year gone by. I try to sum up all that happened in the year 2014 and the not so pleasant or more aptly, some very tragic events stand out starkly. Before you dismiss me as a bizarre pessimist, let me try to substantiate my claim.

Early in 2014, the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared while flying from Kuala Lampur to Beijing; after almost three weeks of rigorous search, a trillion theories propounded to explain why and how it went amiss, it was concluded that the plane ended up in southern Indian Ocean causing death of all on board, a  toll of 239. Before one could move ahead in hope of a breather, a deadlier accident occurred when a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 Flight 17 was shot down by pro-Russian separatists over Ukraine in July 2014 resulting in a toll of 298. The year ended up being more turbulent when Air Asia QZ8501 crashed in Java sea killing all 162 on board.

Women empowerment, the most oft-repeated phrase in 2014, thanks to Rahul Gandhi who uttered it like a trained parrot, witnessed new heights when tech giants like Facebook and Apple offered $20,000 to its female employees who chose to freeze their reproductive eggs and not their career aspirations. But it seemed farcical against reports of abduction of over 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria by Boko Haram Jihadist group, of spate of child rapes inside school premises in our own Bangalore. Be it inside a moving bus, an Uber cab or inside a deserted mill compound, from sophisticated urban locales in Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore to rural Badaun in UP, irrespective of  the hour of the day or age of the female victim, cases of sexual assault gnawed at a woman's basic right, right to return home safe.

Terrorist/militant outfits and Jihadist groups sprang up like mushrooms in Mario game. ISIS perpetrated unprecedented terror smearing territories under their control with blood, beheading journalists, seizing ancient and heritage-rich cities of Iraq and Syria. Pakistan pretended it learnt a lesson that there was nothing called "good" Taliban from the Peshawar army school massacre which consumed lives of 132 innocent children. The year ended with a bang in India in literal sense when an IED blast in Bangalore killed one woman. Even on New year's eve, shelling across Indo-Pak border did not cease and the Indian Coast Guard chased a Pakistani boat sneaking into Indian waters till its operators considered it safe to blow themselves up than surrender.

The Ebola Virus Epidemic in West Africa sent a shudder and reminded us that despite human efforts to make many advancements in the field of medicine and many successes, man quite shockingly loses it all to microscopically diminutive life forms.

The Indian General Elections during the summer of 2014 became a watershed event in the history of Indian democracy. Millions voted for the first time with zeal while thousands who always voted were shocked to see their names deleted from lists. Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, he led his party to power in absolute majority, won an unprecedented mandate and proved that Modi wave existed after all, its ripples felt even in New York and Sydney. Politics in 2014 saw it all, some who knew nothing about politics and administration wanted to make that gargantuan leap, some in whom people placed trust ran away in middle of things after whinging for sundry, some who amassed wealth disproportionately spent weeks behind bars and some who grabbed power by following erstwhile divide and rule policy thus giving birth to the 29th state in India.

Even in department of sports, the year 2014 seemed a joyless mixed bag. Brazil hosted FIFA battling corruption, huge delays and bundles of civic problems but the country sans its star player Neymar and its shocking defeat against Germany in semi final game sent fans reeling in gloom. The Asian Games, Incheon, South Korea threw Indian fans in confusion, whether to rejoice in Mary Kom's gold or regret the brazen denial of silver to Sarita Devi who later faced heavy punishment for refusing to accept the bronze medal bestowed on her. Cricket only got murkier with reports of betting and match fixing bringing top players and officials under scanner and Dhoni's chaotic exit from test match format of the game added more mystery. Fans all over the world still pray for seven time Fomula One World Champion Schumacher's recovery and deeply regret the sudden death of Aussie cricketer Phillip Hughes from an on-field injury.

In the field of entertainment, Salman Khan delivered a KICK, flew a kite alongside Modi and posed by the side of Rajapakse too, Shah Rukh Khan wished a nonsensical Happy New Year much before one really dawned and Aamir Khan reigned over the box office with his PK unfazed by massive protests from right wing Hindu groups.While superstar Rajinikanth's entry into politics remains a mystery, he showed the world he still held unparalleled reverence with the release of his Linga. Our ears resonated to Yo Yo Honey Singh's rap numbers and Bolly/Kolly/Tolly/Mollywood chart busters but yearned for music from that one mandolin that went silent so prematurely.

The Mars Orbiter Mission/Mangalyaan's success filled us with pride and gave us reason to smile but floods in Jammu and Kashmir, its after effects, tropical cyclone Hudhud in Vizag with its bag of colossal damage left common man in turmoil; why bother about Mars when one cannot solve many a riddle on Earth itself.

Even as I write this article, reports of terror attack in France (Charlie Hebdo attack that claimed 12 lives) and sexual assault of a 7 year old girl in Bangalore school by her teacher, more things that make you feel sad and sigh than smile trickle in. However, I look forward with hope, beyond all that has transpired, wish fervently that 2015 be a happier, healthier and more peaceful year, for hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness (quote: Desmond Tutu).

Footnote: An image from that I used as reference in writing this article.

1 comment:

Shubha said...


Wonderful article summarizing the year. Your writing is precise at times, evocative and descriptive at others - and you manage to communicate very effectively.