Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008....

Year 2008 has been a tumultuous year for almost all of us. A year full of challenges, achievements & stark realizations. To say that the year has been action packed, keeping us on our toes throughout would not be out of place.
The year started with high expectations of Sensex going beyond the tizzy heights of 25K. However, contrary to the popular voices, & projections, the Sensex bull kept getting beaten down & today at the end of the year its tottering below 10K…… a huge let down for numerous people who traded on stocks & tasted the bitter pill of bankruptcy.

If the steep fall at the Sensex was any indicator, the financial world came crashing down in US. Subprime crisis showed its ugly face. With Goliaths like Lehman Brothers, AIG, GM, Toyota, major financial institutions, etc , all entering a free fall zone……endlessly going down, the GDP went from low growth to no growth to de growth!!!! The world stared into the prospect of probably the largest economic depression. Job cuts, pay cuts, headcount freeze, pink slips, large stock pile & inventory, closing down of production units, cost cuttings…… we could not have expected anything worse than this. For a recruiter, like me, it has been nightmarish since then.
Cheap politics was the norm of the day....sorry the year. UPA Govt had the Leftist Communists withdraw support on the issue of Nuclear deal with US. This led the UPA to seek support from political leaders like Shibu Soren & Amar Singh, more known for being the political mafia. This also showed the ugly side of politics, with money laundering coming to the front in seeking the confidence vote. Opposition bench showed how bagful of cash was handed over to them to trade loyalties. The brazen show on cash at the parliament could not have been more deplorable. It showed our politics in complete shame.

Amarnath Shrine(one of our most holy pilgrimage) came under serious threat, as the Centre played an inept role in the game of politics. The whole of Jammu valley came under carnage & bloodbath as the basic core of Hindu beliefs were thrown to swords. Instead of making attempts to bring peace in the valley, various political parties were busy playing cheap politics….as usual & common man had to bear the brunt of religious discriminations. I guess, its time to bring amendments to the Section 370 of our Constitution. If Jammu & Kashmir have to be an integral part of India, Centre needs to take a firm step towards this. We cannot have isolated rules, thereby creating more divide than bonhomie.

The worst impact of course has been the Mumbai terror attacks on the fateful evening of 26th Nov, when all the hell broke loose. To say that utter chaos & cold scare ran through the spine of every Mumbaikar would be putting it quite mildly. The terrorists, with their lethal attacks & mindless killings had city under siege……. The future of peace looked blurred & uncertain. Suddenly we all are vulnerable. We go out & we don’t know if we will return safe & sound……death in the shape of terrorism, seems to be stalking each one of us. The political warfare again showed its ugly side & inept & spineless politicians kept playing their personal agenda, much to the chagrin of the public. The backlash from the common man that followed was only expected. Hope this works as a wakeup call for the politicians of our Country.

However there have been brighter sides as well…..something to cheer about. Operation Chandrayaan, took India on the global space orbit permanently, with Moon becoming within our reach. Surely the soul of world’s first teacher of astronomy, Aryabhatt, would exult in pride with this achievement. May India have more laurels to produce in the near future.

Our Olympics gold rush improved (3 Gold medals)in China, though I am not so sure if this is any reason for major celebrations, as, by any standards, its still a poor performance. However, in cricket, we seem to be doing it right for some time now. We brought the mighty Aussies to ground by defeating them fair & square, & paving the way for the South Africans to then plunder them down under. Aussies are surely a spent force now. The battle for the top slot is now between India & South Africa, and as an Indian, I surely hope to experience the peak asap. It was also heartening to see Saurav Ganguly & Anil Kumble retire gracefully from the international arena. Of course our pin up boy Sachin continues to go from strength to strength. A word of praise for Sehwag, Gautam, Dhoni, Bhajji, Yuvi, Zaks etc to take India ahead is only in order. All the best for Team India…may there be many more reasons to celebrate.
IPL(Indian Premier League)in April, was the begining of T20 getting absolute fanfare. Players from across the world came under the auction of talent....With Jaipur finally winning the tourney under Shane Warne, it was indeed a global cricket playing extravaganza for the lovers of this game. It was a feast for the eyes.
Also in badminton, Saina Nehwal shows definite signs of featuring in the World top 10rankings(first time ever by a woman from India) & V Anand took India to new heights in Chess.

A small but very important event also happened in Delhi in November. Called ‘Bramhanaad’, this event showcased more than 1200 sitarists on one stage. Sitar is one of the ancient musical instruments that is India’s contribution to the world of music. This attempt was to reinstate & rehabilitate the basic roots of ancient Indian classical music. A jam packed crowd was left asking for more with the serene music that captivated the audience & their musical imagination. The program was organized by the Art of Living, an NGO, constantly & constructively involved in various developmental activities across the world. A huge effort to bring about global peace & sanctity. I am told that the proceeds of this event is going for the rehabilitation of millions who lost their homes in the devastating floods in Bihar this summer.
A Supreme Court Ban on smoking in public places was another very good initiative according to sure many would agree with me.

Barack Obama has been the President elect for US, & he takes over the responsibility in the New Year. He becomes the first ever non white to reside at the white House!!! His slogan through the rigorous campaigns has been on change & the world now watches with baited expectations on the changes that he ushers in. Lets hope, the world sees more peace & prosperity under his leadership.

On the personal front, lots of happy marriages took place in 2008. Sumit(My Sumtai, from our Rock Band Abhilasha....he calls me BhaiJaan)got married in Kolkata. Bumba (Paula’s cousin brother, & my very loving bro) got married to Saswati in an arranged marriage at Kolkata. Soma(NE) got married to her beau at Shillong. Amruta(Ana Don - Anagha's sister) got married at Nagpur. Dinesh (I call him Din Bandhu Dinanath) got engaged & then married to Madhavi(I call her Mads) at the Bangalore Ashram. Selma(my colleague) got married to Satyam at Madh Island, Mumbai. Incidentally, I ended up not being able to attend any of these events. Each one of them have been very close to me & I know how they were extremely unhappy & hurt at my absence, but then such is life….it always does not go as per plans. Anyways, I wish them all a very happy & loving wedded life ahead. My parents came to stay with me after many years…..its been a reunion of sorts.
Finally, I have been inundated with one single question by so many, "When are you tying the knot????". well I dont know...really....Is there someone insane enough to try her luck & life with me???.....who it would be??, when it would be???, where it would be???..... Guess, 2009 will have the right answers...maybe !!!!Either ways, we shall celebrate.....Like they say : There are two kinds of men, one who is happy & the other who is married!!!....Both a formidable challenge to maintain......

Before signing off, lets take a moment to pay our sincere homage to the gallant soldiers, our police, ATS, NSG, & all others who contributed with their lives to ensure that we stay alive & safe. May their souls rest in peace knowing that we are all proud of them & their selfless disposition.

So as the Sun sets for the last time in 2008, I pray that there is peace & prosperity & happiness & smiles for all of us in the year that is dawning ahead.
A hearty welcome to 2009, with hopes & aspirations for solidarity & social security, for more reasons to smile,……is that too much to ask?????...............Only time will tell…..


Vaibhav said...


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