Thursday, December 28, 2006

MY Roundup for 2006 AD

As the heading of my blog denotes, this post is about MY Worldview. This implies not only my perspective, but much more importantly my exposure. This is about the world that I managed to witness, and hence have considered to comment on.
2006 was a year when the relatively late bloomer India truly and firmly arrived on the global mindscape. Personally, I also decided to draw my sphere of influence sharply, hence did not really follow subjects which I possibly cannot comprehend, and definitely can never influence (for instance, the Indo-US nuclear deal). For an highly opinionated person, that was a paradigm shift.

So here goes my recap of the Year 2006.

Person of the Year: The Time magazine got it totally right, as "many are wresting power from the few". 2006 will be remembered as the year a video site, youtube overtook many mainstream television channels and was subsequently gobbled up by Google for a valuation more than some of India's largest brick-&-mortar companies; Citizen Journalists on CNN-IBN broke impactful stories; and maybe, just maybe, along with many others, Abhigyan started blogging. Why US, "for seizing the reins of the global media, for framing the new digital democracy and for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game". Wow, way to go!

Event of the Year: The founder of Grameen Bank, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, winning the Nobel Prize for Peace (not Economics). In a year when the Pope, George Bush and Osama bin Laden did their bit to further the clash of civilizations, it was fantastic to witness a Muslim economist, who hailed from a backward country of Asia, and had devoted his life to empowering (not helping) the downtrodden, hog the limelight. And this with no mention of the stereotyping I have just done for Prof. Yunus.

Leader of the Year: Rahul Gandhi did not assume any formal position within the Congress party, yet did enough to promise a better tomorrow. By the end of the year, he was interviewing ticket-seekers in UP. Maybe, next year he will organise the Congress primaries.
If you have read Shashi Tharoor's From Midnight to the Millennium, the biggest disappointment in Rajiv Gandhi's case was he surrendered his destiny-bestowed opportunity to make a difference to India's polity. Rajiv literally inherited the PM's post, yet he was middle-class like most of us. Still, because of multiple reasons, he failed, quite miserably. Being an optimist, I think his son will finally right the wrong, and maybe also ensure that any future Colombian-born will not assume the mantle automatically.

Legislation of the Year: The "Right to Information Act", better than the still unproven "Rural Employment Guarantee Act".

Regression of the Year: Caste-based reservation in the private sector. As Ratan Tata asked, why not in the army? Maybe because the politicians will fear for their lives being guarded by a NSG commando present because of his inferior birth rather than superior merit.

Debate of the Year: To hang or not to hang Mohammad Afzal? I did not follow the case in its entirety, but believe that he is being executed mainly because there is no one alive to be executed. He is not innocent, but for the larger cause of Insaniyat in Kashmir, he should be instead sent for a life-sentence. I am somehow confident no one will hijack planes to rescue him.

Negligence of the Year: 18-year old Javed Ahmed escaped from a fire, that killed almost fifty people at the Meerut Trade Fair, unhurt. Yet, he went back to successfully rescue six kids trapped, suffering massive burns himself. He was kept alive for three days in a hospital at Meerut. Later, for better treatment, he was shifted to the Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi. There, he succumbed to his injuries within nine hours, apparently due to lack of oxygen at the hospital.

Scare of the Year: Ten airplanes to be blown up over the Atlantic. Thanks to the buggers, I was not allowed lip-gels on-board and had to suffer chapped lips in all my flight trips.

Middle-finger of the Year: Mumbaikars, the only genuine urbanites in India, happen to live in an inordinately cramped city with rotten infrastructure. Yet, the way the city bounced back within hours of the bomb-blast was absolutely commendable.

Paradox of the Year: India is Shining, and farmers in Vidharbha are committing suicide. It is fast becoming a cliche, but if we do not start taking Bharat along with India soon, no law-enforcement machinery in the world can stop more Anants from being kidnapped.

Brand of the Year: Nokia N-series, for making listening to music, capturing images, making videos, composing your own scores, surfing the web and sharing your world on the cellphone trendy and mass. This when most people I know (including me) only use cellphones for what they are meant for - talking and SMSing.

Movie of the Year: A clear-cut tussle between Munnabhai and DJ, and however much I loved Gandhigiri, as a pure cinematic experience, Rang de Basanti comes out tops (apologies for contradicting my own blog here). The song from the same, Roobaru, also happens to be my favourite musical composition of the year. However, the real influence of the movie came across when the India Gate candlelight vigil happened against the Jessica Lal ruling. Boy, life does imitate art!

Cinematic Performance of the Year: Joint winners - Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed, and Saif Ali Khan portrayal of Shakespeare's Iago in Omkara.

Artist of the Year: Boman Irani , for the sheer versatility and authenticity he displayed in playing characters ranging from a Parsi (Being Cyrus) to a Sardar (Lage Raho Munnabhai).

Razzie of the Year: Aishwarya Rai, for Dhoom:II. So far, I thought she used to only giggle in a Greek accent when interviewed. Now, I realised that Aishwarya has ideas on looking 'like a girl' (by her own admission) too - to dress like JLO (in JLO's music videos with Ben), pout like Angelina (in Angelina's photo-shoots with or without Brad) and grimace like Rajesh Khanna (in Kaka's Anita Raj days). Trust our critics to rip apart a genuinely stylish remake of Don, and accept an unbelievably crappy flick like D:II.

Chemistry of the Year: A complicated woman by her own admission, Eva Green as Vesper Lynd was the most enchanting fictional character on screen. Both 007 and me melted.
The runner-ups were Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), who had to pay with his life for falling for Elizabeth (Keira Knightley).

Most Entertaining TV Show of the Year: In a year when the boundaries between news, entertainment and reality television blurred, Karan Thapar's Devil's Advocate interview with Ram Jethmalani on CNN-IBN came out tops by a distance. Jethmalani had chewed up Sagarika Ghose in a previous interview, so TV18 sent an equal adversary in Thapar for revenge. See it to believe it.

Sporting Team of the Year:
Cricket Australia. Ten out of Ten Tests won, beginning with making an ass of Graeme Smith in Sydney, and threatening to whitewash the short-term Ashes holders at Melbourne. Ricky Ponting declared he wanted to win the elusive Champions' Trophy, and what a surprise, managed to do so, even after Glenn McGrath had been pasted by Gayle in the Finals. However, the real challenge - for domination, not necessarily success - will begin now, when Warne and McGrath are no longer around.

Sportsperson of the Year: The only reason Roger Federer could not complete the near-impossible Grand Slam was an inspired Nadal in the second quarter of the year (who beat him three times during March-May). Later in the year, Federer had sort of managed to conquer his bogeyman, and was continuously giving Federal Express immense publicity for free.

Farewell of the Year: Michael Schumacher, a rare specimen who managed to combine the traits of Don Bradman (records and performance) and Douglas Jardine (sportsmanship) on the F-1 circuit.

Breakup of the Year: After squabbling across two centuries, as fans kept speculating as to what could have been, it seems we have now for sure seen the last of the 'Indian Express'. The Olympics Medal was not to be, and I just hope against hope I am still around writing about the couple in 2008 as the 'Comeback of the Year'.

Concern of the Year: Endulkar?

Wishing all a great 2007!


svety said...

Have read ur post thrice in the last one hour. Its good. Very good.

Its that time of the year where the same content in going to be dished out at us in obviously artificial souleless formats..
And, if todays TOI & HT are to be believed than Bond dictates the lack lustre writing of our most celebrated journalists.

Every entry that u write about is not information that u dole out but a point of view succintly embedded in some humour language and crisp editing...

My personal fav is event of the year....a stroke of the genius of the pen....

U're in the wrong profession sweetheart. Take urself seriously...or at least trust me...

Abhilasha said...

This is, by far, your best post ever and unbelievably has elicited the least number of comments, so here I am making my debut - This made excellent reading....

satya said...

Pretty cool huh.

Shuchi said...

And here I make my debut comment as well :)

Very nicely written. Though I side with the 'critics' about their takes on Don and D:II. For all its flaws, I enjoyed D:II - and for all its stylishness, I just could not digest Don.

Abhigyan said...

Well it seems shorter, crisper articles are easier to read, even for those who manage to take time out to read my monologues...

Don't worry svety will take it more seriously, which from my side means some research and more importantly, time..If only that Goddam bajaj manages to activate all my dead links too!

And Anu di - your reaction to Don is fine, but that D:II is the most boring flick I have seen since K3G (which at least had gud songs). Before it gets too late, I surely will put up a review of the film. Am looking forward to the cathartic experience.

rahul said...

hi manu, liked the crispness of your comments... a lot of people have intelligence, few have perspective... take your writing seriously..

Abhigyan said...

Hey Jazz, that's one of the best-put comments for me..

You also should join the bandwagon, you had all f the trappings to one of the smarter writers ..and i am sure you will combine it with that better micro-perspective, unlike my take which are usually from a distance...

Amit Bajaj said...

Am i the jazz?

Came at 80'E.. after a long time today. You seem to be finally pressing the gas pedal.

This one is working for you (i look at things from a marwari/trp point of view) because you have managed to combine the 2 things - a long post(that you like doing) broken into effective shorter posts (the way the world likes), so if i don't feel like reading about the grameen bank thingie all over again, its easy to skip to the next para.. good show