I thought I would not be writing this one at the end of the year as I thought it is becoming repetitive. But this one has become another annual ritual just like events and festivals. Festivals are both joyful and tiresome for women. Joyful because it involves the family gatherings , but tiresome because the lady of the house has to stand long hours in kitchen, but anyway one ends up doing it to the fullest due to force of habit, failing which one feels something short or emptiness. This may have to do with writing also, I feel now.
When I write about the year that is about to leave us, the title will be same, but the contents are of course, different. Because the events that happen throughout the year are unique from the previous year. The two mammoth events that took place this year which are more relevant to Indians are demonetization and the surprise president elect Donald Trump as opposed to the popular belief that US will see the first woman president. The 9/11 for Indians (9th November) and 11/9 for Americans and migrants to the land of hope. When the whole of American media predicted and favored Hillary, Trump, the controversial man, took everybody by storm. What went wrong with the prediction? They obviously failed to read the minds of middle class families who were suffering from high debts, job losses due to migration, terrorism. Trump, despite his hypocrisies, was able to flail with the voters with these strong points and that is where Hillary lost. The land of opportunities still offers hope to migrants from around the world, but to hope to see the 1st woman president, it can be the next election or eternity! And just when our channels were preparing for the full coverage of US elections, Mr. Modi struck the masterstroke at the stroke of midnight, with the announcement of withdrawal of 500 rupees and 100 rupee notes. This massive step is to fight against the black money and corruption as the Government claims. The effects were felt immediately and the life of the common man was thrown out of gear. Whether this demonetization is success or a failure in the long run is still to be seen. Though this the 3rd demonetization move, The first two hardly affected the general population, as the higher denomination notes of 500, 1000, 10000 were not available to the ordinary Indian. In spite of all the hardships that the public is going through even today, many of them do support this move as they believe it is for a good cause in the long run. My personal view is that it should have been implemented little more properly as to cause least hardship to all sections of the people. If 200 Rupee notes were introduced along with the 2000 Rupee notes, wouldn't it have reduced the pain?
On the other fronts, the illness and the subsequent death of the TN Chief Minister J.Jayalalitha made big news. All through her hospital stay, the updates on her health condition were not let out much adding to the mystery even today. Is it not the right of the people to know about the health condition, when their incumbent chief minister is sick? Only when she suffered the irreversible cardiac arrest, the hospital released the full medical details and thus prepared for the worst. Whatever happened from September to November is yet to be known fully. On the close heels followed the death of Cho. Ramaswamy, who was an actor, political satirist, journalist, lawyer, writer, and also life-long friend of Jayalalitha. Their close demises made me think that death did not do them apart. The death of the doyen of Carnatic music, Shri. M Balamurali Krishna was another event. He was a child prodigy who had his first concert at the age of 8, and by the age of 15 he mastered all the 72 parent raagas of Carnatic music which is quite a feat. He proved his mastery in the instruments like viola, mridangam, morsing, and invented some new raagas which had just 3-4 swaras in Aarohana and Avarohana. He composed a new raaga 'Jayalalitha' and its a coincidence that both should pass away the same year. As I do not want to make this a long-winding annual newsletter, I may just touch on a few incidents, some of them which touched me and others. The other deaths which happened early this year was that of Shri ONV Kurup, the poet and the writer, and the female actress and comedian Smt Kalpana. Had Kalpana lived for some more years, we would have got to see many of her comedy roles. Her death is indeed a big loss to the Malayalam industry, and still touches me personally, when I watch her lively role in the film 'Bangalore Days.'
On the global front, the long term Communist leader or dictator of Cuba, Fidel Castro died due to old age, but it was a life well lived and he brought in a lot of reforms to develop Cuba, though he was a sworn enemy of USA. He was lucky to escape the repeated assassination attempts. Then Brexit-Britain exiting from the European union and Rexit-exit of Governor of RBI, Raghuram Rajan happened the same time. One can make a guess as to why Raghuram Rajan did not want to be there for another term as the RBI Governor. The Nobel prize for literature which was awarded to the songwriter Bob Dylan caught attention as this is the first time it has been awarded to a singer and a songwriter. The decision proved to be somewhat controversial and to top it all, Bob Dylan did not personally come to receive the prize citing some reasons. In the Olympics front, it was women power all the way with PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Deepa Karmakar who proved their mantle. Otherwise, the performance of the 120-member team contingent was below expectations, though I laud each of our participants who reached the Olympic level the hard way. Of course, I read somewhere that its not the players who failed us, but we failed them. I do not want to go into detail as to why. Recently, a terrorist attack happened in the German Christmas market killing about 12 people, and isn't a wonder why our dear Facebook did not ask its users to change their profile photos to show the support to those departed??? !!! I would like to comment more on this, but I am afraid, it may be controversial.
As I come to the closing lines, I would like to make a note that December month has been bad for Chennai and the rest of Tamil Nadu with the death of Jayalalitha and the cyclone Vardah which followed disrupting the power supply, net connections, from which the capital city is yet to recover fully. The cyclone Vardah in all its fury destroyed some green cover as lots of trees fell in many parts of the city. This will make hot Chennai even hotter. I am happy that I manage to keep this blog alive and I am completing 6 years of blogging and look forward to write more as I enter the coming year. Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy new year. Happy holidays.