Goodbye, 2016

Well, it was just a year. The time taken by our tiny planet to complete one revolution around the sun. 366 days of 2016. But, was it?

2016 was the end of an epoch, so I feel.

When the year ends with fireworks and celebrations, we all are much older than we thought. Particularly those of my generation who are now in their early twenties. We have lost a lot of things right now. There’s no George Michael. He left us last Christmas. Debby Reynolds and Carrie Fisher left together. I guess the mother couldn’t let her daughter go alone.

Alan Rickman. Yeah, we all loved him very much. For me personally, more than Snape, Alan Rickman was Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility, a movie that I must have watched at least thirty times. And now watching it feels so alien. This is one reason why you shouldn’t get emotionally attached to everything.

Starman and the sci-fi enthusiast, David Bowie took his leave too. Bowie’s abstraction and strangeness of songs is beautiful, just like him.

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show
Take a look at the Lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

Zika virus came as the descendant to the Ebola panic, causing widespread health alerts in early February. This mosquito transmitted epidemic affects pregnant women causing microcephaly or the underdevelopment of the brain in newborns. Are we losing the fight? Honestly, I don’t know.

Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

When Harper Lee left us in February, there was void in my bookshelf. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the few books which I have refrained from watching the movie adaptation of, because I wanted my own mental construction of the world of Atticus and Boo Radley to remain untouched and raw. I love that book so much. And would cherish Harper Lee forever with it.

It’s a good thing that Leo finally won an Oscar.

The public outcry and meme wars when Britain decided to exit from the European Union was inexplicable (is that right word?). Or indescribable. In a matter of hours, for Indians in Facebook, Brexit was a joke, just like the American elections.

In July, the man who showed the tragedy of Holocaust to the world also breathed his last. Reading Elie Wiesel’s The Night itself was a torture. He had the hope that humanity would win. Hope is a good word.

What about refugees and civil wars? They haven’t changed. Still, good things do happen. The Hindu surprised me today morning with the story of Noora Arkavazi, a Kurdish Muslim who was fleeing Iraq, and Bobi Dodevski a Macedonian cop. They fell in love in the No man’s land. No man’s land, the perfect place to fall in love. Maybe Indian astrologers are right; marriages are made in heaven. No man’s land is no usual land.

The drama doubled it pace since the beginning of November. On 8th November when America elected a racist, misogynist businessman for President, many of us thought that it was the end. But more drama was yet to come, that too in six hours, when our Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetization of higher denomination currency with “Mitron!” aka surprise motherfuckers. Since then I have rarely had money in my wallet and I have known people who had to starve for 24 hours in a train where they had no money to pay for food. Where is all the money? Not in the ATMs anymore for sure. Because there is no money anywhere!

I have this feeling that December is an unlucky month for Tamil Nadu. Last year while the capital, Chennai, drowned under the floods, this year a huge part of it drowned in tears when beloved Amma passed away. Jayalalitha’s death was undoubtedly a significant event in Indian politics where patriarchy is the boss. This loss, coupled with the tropical cyclone Vardah attacking the east coast made December, a not-so-lucky time for Tamilians. Also my college, IIT Madras wouldn’t look the same anymore, having lost most of the trees to Vardah.

Last Christmas he was still here. And the very next day he was gone forever. At least we could console ourselves with the fact that George Michael stuck to the song.

This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

What saddened the revolutionaries was the demise of Cuban leader, Fidel Castro. In my hometown I saw hoardings in public about how Castro’s demise was cried over. Nevermind the geographical distance between Cuba and Kerala, I guess communism is inseparable from the Malayali soul.

Yeah, 2016 was eventful. I am sure that there were many good things that happened, but the Bear World is currently on low levels of optimism, because 2016 took too many things away. All these people, the ones we lost, are just Wikipedia pages now. Or perhaps Google search results with their beautiful faces smiling at us.

My darling 2017, be kind.

 

Cover image credits: Shiraz Khan

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