KOCHU VARTHAMANAM: A Charmed Year
On Jan 08, 2012
I know we are already a week into the new year and it is rather late for reminiscing about the old year… but then, 2011 was a year that might have walked right out of a fairy tale, and I couldn’t let it go by unnoticed.
The bad guys were killed, fabulous treasure was uncovered, the prince got married and the whole world from Gummudipoondi to Groningen (Northern Netherlands) burst out in one global anthem to bring the curtain down on the old year. …Now if that is not a fairytale, I don’t know what is. Disney, are you listening?
Osama Bin Laden, a man who drew a new and irrevocably nasty timeline in the history of the modern world using a handful of planes and a bunch of pilots who only paid attention in ‘Take –off’ classes, was sent to sleep with the fishes. After a couple of days of uncomfortable ‘omerta’, probably spent wiping the egg off their faces, our dear neighbour burst out in various shades of ire, ranging from sputtering indignation and impotent anger to downright rage. A decade ago, the Americans had made them an offer they could not refuse. “Join us or be bombed back to the Stone Age.” So they scampered around, walking an extremely thin line between the Super power they ‘chose’ to ally with and their masters who actually called the shots in their country, all the while, trying to save face with former best friend, Taliban.
Anyway, one weekend on the cusp of April and May, the Americans flew in, did the deed and turned back; on the way, dropping all evidence into the big blue sea. Yeah! Dead men don’t talk and the deeper they stay, the more difficult it is to hear them.
India meanwhile, true to character tried to ride piggyback on America’s triumph, claiming it as a personal victory and crowing, “We told you so! We always knew he was there.” All right, we have every reason to be happy about the outcome, considering the fact that we have borne the brunt of jihadi fervor a nasty number of times. However, I do not think we have any moral right to claim any part in that deed.
The Americans were on a roll in 2011. Before the year was out, they had smoked out Muammar Gadhafi too.
As sweet April showers and spring blossoms burst upon the English countryside, a dream came true for a British commoner. She had found her Prince Charming and in the midst of a sea of whacky hats and ballooning dresses, and before the eyes of millions of viewers, she got married to him, in what looked like a replay of a similar marriage three decades ago. That prince of old had soon lost his charm while his princess was busy charming the world. Let us hope that the son and daughter-in-law find the ‘happily ever after’ that sorely turned out to be a ‘happily never after’ for the parents.
El Dorado has a new location. At 8°28 '57"N 76°56'37"E to be exact. The whole city of Ananthan went into throes of excitement and sprouted more tongues than Ananthan himself as details of the fabulous treasure lying safe in the temple’s vaults filtered out. For weeks no one could speak of anything else. How could they? For a change Ananthapuri was not being beaten up for being itself; people were not saying unkind things about it; and it was not in the news for expressions of political ugliness. As for the treasure, the debate and the dilemma continue and let us hope the fancy security measures being planned around it will keep it safe while allowing the common man to peacefully keep his rendezvous with the Ananthashayanan.
A tsunami swept over the Arab world, sweeping over a few supposedly ‘infallible’ figures. The fall of Hosni Mubarak brings to mind the half sunk, shattered visage of another Egyptian ruler who considered himself beyond mortality. Ozymandias (Rameses the Second) commanding, ‘Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ But then…
‘Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Nothing better to capture the ephemeral nature of political power than those lines of PB Shelly. Something all those leaders desperately clinging to power and invoking the divine right to lord it over the common man could do well to remember.
On another side of the world, a tiny island nation showed what stern stuff it was made of as it maintained grace and honor in the face of the double whammy nature dealt it –earthquake and tsunami. Not to speak of a belligerent nuclear reactor.
Most of the events that defined the year were captured and shared on devices that were the result of the innovative genius of a single individual. A man whose supposedly last words could very well define his sheer guts, genius and extraordinary life. “Oh Wow! Oh Wow! Oh Wow!” RIP Steve Jobs…
And as the year drew to a close, a form of murderous rage gripped not just the nation but had crossed all borders and held the whole world in its viral grip. There is no logical explanation for the stupendous success of this song, but London played it on New Year’s Eve, flash mobs the world over are dancing to it and yeah, CNN made it song of the year!
As the New Year progresses, there is extra baggage we are carrying over into it, from the last… and some of them unpleasant. 2011 is also the year, which will be seared into the collective consciousness of the Malayali as the year when he allowed a young girl on the threshold of life, die a horrible death at the hand(s) of a rabid pervert. Soumya will be remembered! As will the young children, who paid with their lives, for the wanton carelessness and irresponsibility of authorities, that allowed two accidents of the same nature occur within a period of a few months. When will we ever learn?
Despite, everything, here’s to hope, however unrealistic it may sound, that 2012 will be a year to be remembered for all the right things!