Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ten from 2016: the Surreal Year

Surreal – That’s the word of the year 2016 as per Merriam-Webster. And the year 2016 gone by was certainly a surreal experience. As the year draws to a close, here’s a short list of the surreal events which made the year memorable (or forgettable, depending on your point of view).

1. The Demonetization Exercise
On November 8th, the Prime Minister announced that 500 and 1000 rupees notes will cease to be legal tender. And as expected all hell broke loose. Suddenly people had money but were unable to use it. Withdrawing your own money became a big chore (with successful completion becoming a tremendous achievement). Depending on your political affiliations, the exercise was either just a minor inconvenience on the path to greater good or a monumental disaster taking the country on a path to hell. Only time will tell whether the objectives (whatever they may be, given the shifting goal-posts) are achieved. But it has had the unintended consequence of creating too many economists in the country, while queuing up in banks and ATMs became a national hobby.

2. Immunity to Terror Acts
The surreal nature of 2016 can be best explained by the way the world grew to terror attacks and wars all over the planet. Nice, Munich, Kabul, Baghdad, London, Paris, Florida, Aleppo, Brussels, Istanbul, Ankara, the list is endless. The network of terror spread its tentacles across the world with lone wolf attacks becoming a norm. Malls, Festivals, Public transport, Night clubs, airports, markets - every place is now a potential attack site. And instead of taking action, those in charge are milking every attack for their own political agenda. One can only either take action to destroy the terror machine or wait till one's luck runs out.

3. Donald Trump 
Donald Trump is going to be the next President of United States of America! Its been a couple of months since the election results and yet this one has still not sunk in. Wonder what would happen when this maverick force of nature actually assumes office. Probably just added to the overall surrealism.

4. Psephology – the flawed science
One profession which lost credibility the most during 2016. Brexit, Trump’s bandwagon, Colombia’s rejection of a peace deal – just proved that predicting the mood of the masses is a complex task. Beware the silent masses!

5. Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai
Some are born famous, some achieve fame and some have fame thrust upon them. As the Sonam Guptas of this world learnt this year. 

Collateral damage from the notes ban. Social media picked up on a line written on notes (a habit which should be stopped), generating countless memes. 

6. A tale of two pictures 
Like every year, there would be many contenders but this time I will pick up one from the sporting arena. 
Pic 1: Australian Open 2016 Final Presentation Ceremony – just look at Murray’s expression after finishing second best to Djokovic once again. 

Pic 2: But a year is a long time and Murray picked up pace as Djokovic faltered at the end to become the world number one. Another presentation ceremony, but Murray is now the Champion as an appreciative Djokovic looks on. 

7. New exercise of the year
People moving around focused on their smartphones is now a common sight. But it was surreal (yes that word again) to see people staring at their phones in a desperate attempt to catch those pesky little pokemons which they could see only through their phone cameras. Adults falling into the trap of being guided by an app on their phone to capture virtual animals?

8. The Zika Virus 
The Olympics were the biggest event of the year. The build-up to the Olympics was marked by the fears over the Zika virus. Many advisories were issued. Some star atheletes decided to withdraw as well. The Olympics still happened (as they should have). Surprisingly (or maybe not), there was no Zika epidemic during the Games and certainly none afterwards. Was it just a first world media conspiracy?

9. The Mannequin Challenge
Real people staying still and frozen in mid-action a la mannequins while a camera moved around them capturing the moment without movement. Even the White House was not spared. GOK what new challenge will come up next year.

10. And the viral video of the Year 

The Pen Pineapple Apple Pen Song. No Comments !!!

Certainly a surreal year in more ways than one. Lets see what 2017 has in store for us.

Wishing all readers a very Happy New Year!!!

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