Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 : The year that was

It is almost new year and for many, this is a year better, best forgotten. The world has been hit by one of the worst ever economic crises since decades, with no clear sight in view, about when the mood will begin to be bullish again. However, this has been a year that can actually be remembered for some good reasons as well. So while we do indeed have the bad news, we do have the good news as well.

The start of the year, for Indians began with a slump in GDP. Perhaps we should have taken a hint from that piece of news, but we were quick to reassure all and sundry that everything was fine. The months went on, and as America sneezed, everyone in Asia began slowly catching the bug.

Britney Spears went through an awful year swinging in and out of insanity.

The American Presidential election became prime time watch for people all over the world. Lipstick, pit bulls, war veterans and the bridge to nowhere became commonplace topics to talk about.

The Indian embassy in Afghanistan was bombed and 44 were killed and another 140 innocent civilians were injured. Terrorism still showed that it had the upper hand in the world.

Madonna divorced Guy Ritchie and paid a fortune in settlements!

The phenomenon called the Olympics happened. In China. People had finally awakened to China. The arrangement and the organization was phenomenal. The gross disregard for human rights was totally condoned. But this was China. How could anyone care?!? India as usual went in with a teeny tiny contingent, in gross discord. Not even a uniform dress code!

But who cared about Ms Mirza? We won one GOLD in shooting courtesy Abhinav Bindra and two bronzes. Boxing and wrestling - Vijender Kumar and Sushil Kumar, respectively. Consistency was missing, since Rajvardhan Rathore, failed to impress.

Consistency showed elsewhere, since Nadal won French open and an Olympic Gold. AND ALSO WIMBLEDON. In matches that can thrill generations of YouTube watchers, history was written. Federer displayed chinks in his armor, but still went on to win the doubles gold at the Olympics.

The Marriott in Islamabad was bombed my suspected Al Qaeda operatives with a truckload of RDX, killing foreign nationals, and destroying the building. PoK was shook by a massive earthquake that killed thousands. Zardari became President. (I don't know whether I can say elected, since democracy and Pakistan don't sound good together). Musharraf had to run for his life, (expected).

THE DARK KNIGHT RELEASED. A cult film by any standards, setting a new threshold for villainy in the late great Heath Ledger. A terribly underrated actor, who starred in Brokeback mountain and A Knight's tale, The Joker was a new high for him. Unfortunately another form of going high, killed him, and the world lost a fine actor.

Barack Obama became President. Racial prejudices went to the dogs. Analysts, bloggers, people all wondered whether America would be able to take a wise well-informed decision, and no one was ready to bet either way. The economy by election day was teetering on the edge and no one knew which way the scales would tip.

Michael Jackson became Mikaeel.

The world lost Lehman Brothers. Merill Lynch went to Bank of America. Bear Stearns was gobbled up by JPMC. AIG almost went kaput, only to be rescued by the government.700 billion dollars was earmarked as a TARP bailout fund. We still don't know how that will be spent. American auto manufacturers are now paying the price for not having been prudent by going green and small. They now beseech the American Congress to bail them out.

Lewis Hamilton won the F1 World Championship. I don't want to speak much on that, since I still feel that was unfair.

Mumbai was attacked by terrorists who actually ran amok wielding AK-47 weapons and killing innocent people in a train station, and in key five star hotels in Mumbai's posh South Mumbai area. This set into action a whole host of events right from restructuring by the government to key steps to up the security in the country.

Vishwanathan Anand retained the World Champion crown. Yay!!!

Thwarting appeals by separatists to boycott elections, a 62% voter turnout in J&K showed the triumph of democracy. I kinda feel proud of that. In spite of all kinds of nonsense, Indians still have the power to elect their own leaders.

Israelis launched an all out yet retaliatory attack on Hamas in the Gaza strip, in one of the bloodiest attacks of all time.

Ugandan rebels are being fatally tackled in DR Congo. Zimbabwe is going through an economic breakdown with a terrible attack of cholera debilitating the country. Almost all of Africa is going through a humanitarian crisis.

A student was accidentally shot dead by police in Greece, and riots are still on in Athens. I guess the simmering dissent just needed one tiny burst of the bubble to just erupt like a volcano. A youth was killed in Bangalore by army personnel in a case of mistaken identity. Nothing happened.

India beat the Brits in the test series that comprised an almost lost test match as well. Australia lost the Boxing Day test to South Africa in a thrilling encounter.

Bittersweet year? I guess. A great year for Obama, sport in general, and a terrible year for the economy, Africa, Mumbai (thanks to BSE and the terror attacks). How will next year be? Who knows! But what else can we do, except look to the new year with hope and anticipation for a new beginning. Happy New Year everyone......

No comments: