The Times of 2018

The Times of 2018
One often wonders what we celebrate on New Year’s eve! Is it a fond farewell to the year that went by or good riddance? Is it warm welcome to the new year or is it the celebration of a milestone reached?

When one thinks harder and deeper, for most part it emerges that we are just seeking a reason for revelry. There is no sanctity accorded to the year going past or the year on its way. For we do not take a moment to pause, reflect or contemplate. We watch the ball drop or the clock strike the hour, drown a drink and bury ourselves in hugs and loud music. It‘s all good; I’m just saying what it is.

Then again, we may all agree that New Years’ eve is not the time to do all the thinking. It is just an evening that brings a unique moment. The uniqueness of the moment is as much in its timing, as it is in where we are and who we are with. To make this moment memorable, we often go to great lengths. Some choose exotic places to go to and a list of friends to be with. Some choose to take a step forward, like propose marriage. Yes I am making another point. We often have the power to plan and make a moment special. So, can we make more moments special in 2019, not just New Year’s eve? Just another thought out loud!

While we are talking about the years, there were certainly some newsmakers in 2018.

1. California Wildfires

The deadliest wildfires of the last 100 years in both northern and southern California killed 88 people and burning over 250,000 acres.

2. 2018 FIFA World Cup

France won the FIFA World cup in Russia.

3. Meghan Markle married Prince Harry

American born actress Meghan Markle married Prince Harry. Her being bi-racial added to the charm of the wedding.

4. President George H. W. Bush passed away

America’s 41st President was known for the Gulf war in which he pushed Saddam Hussein’s troops out of Kuwait and also his many philanthropic missions.

5. Movies

Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Sanju did exceedingly well at the Box Office and were quite well liked.

6. Games

The Fortnite online video game continued to grow by leaps and bounds, especially its co-op sandbox version.

7. Feel Good Stories

The safe evacuation of a Thai boys soccer team from a flooded cave in an international operation brought the world together in prayer and spirit.

8. Pushback against Social Media

Compromised privacy by the likes of Facebook became a cause for backlash against Social Media apps and sites. While a few left the platform, many reduced their access and use.

9. Scandals

The ghastly murder and disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi greatly set back the image of the new power center in Saudi Arabia, around its crown prince and created wide international backlash.

10. Concerns in India

Traffic and pollution in major Indian cities came in the limelight for their serious health and quality of life implications.

11. Big Fat Indian Weddings

There was a lot of news and coverage around the weddings of Isha Ambani, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone to their respective spouses. These weddings have given back strength to the institution of Indian marriages.

12. Modi and Opposition

This is the biggest cat and mouse game, ever. One side fakes news, manufactures scandals, pulls all the communal and caste cards; and yet has the gumption to call itself secular. Pushed into a corner the other side wonders whether it should defend itself against the accusations of being communal or double down on its bet on nationalism. National elections are around the corner.

Yes, a lot more news happened in 2018 but this is about what I remember at the top of my mind right now. So let me conclude with this:

All of us in the Shehjar editorial team, especially Deepak Ganju and me Arun Koul, wish all of our readers and contributors a wonderful 2019. May you be happy, healthy and prosperous and make many, many moments great.