When the news of my childhood crush George Michael broke this Christmas, I actually found myself questioning if this is really the worst year ever? Though it is totally unfair to judge the awfulness of a year while it’s still unfolding, I’m sure all of us must have cribbed once that this year can’t get any worse (at least I did!). But it did. The terrifying events truly piled up on each other. Sigh.
Terror attacks took a chilling dimension in 2016, becoming almost commonplace. Apart from the countless attacks and warfare in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, terror attacks in Brussels, Nice, Dhaka and Berlin claimed hundreds of thousand of lives. And if this was not enough, we suffered from Zika, record-hot temperature all across the globe (FYI, 2016 has been the hottest year on record as per UN) and 131 celebrity deaths this year (hope I’m not speaking too soon!).
2016 has also been a very busy year for the politics lovers. Not only did Australia and the US elections coincide, but the Brexit poll also happened. The entire political scene seems to take a new angle after the world (read: America) elected a man who doesn’t seem sure about what to do with the post and has his hands on the nuclear button!
The losses of Prince and David Bowie—this has been one unrelenting turn around the calendar. However, amid all these chaos books and music proved to be a breather and gave us a flickering hope that all is not yet lost.
Bob Dylan’s Nobel prize for Literature
First thing first, Bob Dylan isn’t the first musician to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (Yes, Rabindranath Tagore won it way back in 1913!). However, Dylan is the first member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to have won this award. Though it created controversy as lots of people asked if what Dylan does can be called literature at all, many came up with the argument that what he writes is core poetry and falls under the category of literature. Also, this was not the first time that Dylan received such an honour. He was given a special Pulitzer citation in 2008 but never attended it.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s much awaited Oscar award
He. Won. Finally. The much talked about, a much-awaited prize was awarded and it was pure joy to watch DiCaprio holding the golden lady at last for the film The Revenant (Which he should have actually won 8 years back but then, such is life, dearies)!
Psst: I totally imagined him holding the award and reciting our own Badshah Khan’s lines: Itnii Shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai, ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hai!
Man Booker Award for the first American
Paul Beatty won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sellout. It was the first time that an American writer was honoured with the award and that too for a book which took a satirical stand on the racial culture of the US. Fun fact: Man Booker for Fiction is not known for awarding humour but guess they couldn’t say no to Beatty’s satire. Well, America still has some hope left!
Arundhati Roy’s second novel
Arundhati Roy announced the launch of her second novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness after winning Man Booker for her first novel The God of Small Things in 1997. Though Arundhati is not one of the most celebrated writers, we can’t wait to see the magic she will weave in her second book.
Release of much awaited Star Wars sequel or prequel (?) Rogue One
Okay so, if the trailer of Rogue One was not enough to excite the fans, the movie released too and left the fans in awe. Though the movie failed to bamboozle us with spectacle, the cinematography and the special appearance of the two old villains was worth the watch!
Beyoncé’s Lemonade of course!
It’s one of the most cohesive records of 2016, which arrived from nowhere and won our hearts! Admittedly, it’s also emotionally disturbing, and created speculation about her relationship with Jay-Z which makes it bit of a depressing listen – but hey, isn’t that what 2016 was all about?
Return of the Potterverse- twice!
JK Rowling gave us some really good surprises this year. Not only her middle-age characters were brought to life in the pages of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, (which I have not read yet, thanks to my laziness) but also gave us Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And if this was not enough, she has promised four more installments! I don’t know how Rowling does it but her magic definitely doesn’t seem to fade away.
Bollywood actors in Hollywood
While Priyanka Chopra already won America’s heart with her TV series Quantico last year, she went ahead and signed the famous Comic action movie series Baywatch opposite none other than Dwayne Johnson! Deepika Padukone soon followed the suite and signed XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage with Vin Diesel. Not just these two, but Huma Qureshi will also be seen soon in Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’s House. Seems like this not-so-good year was lucky for our Bollywood stars!
UNICEF launched John Lenon’s Imagine
UNICEF launched the world version of John Lennon’s classic Imagine in September with the support of Yoko Ono, David Guetta and other people from over 140 countries across the globe. The world version of this classic focuses on the 28 million homeless children who have been suffering due to the conflicts everywhere. This video, which was previewed to world leaders at the United Nations Summit on Migrants and Refugees in the UN General Hall, also features our own Sonu Nigam and Priyanka Chopra (of course!)
Pokémon Go drove us crazy!
Okay, so this comes neither under songs nor books, but I committed to my editor to find 11 things for this list and hence this! Also, let’s be honest, Pokémon Go indeed drove us crazy and how! From temples to streets, the city was full of hunters looking for those cute yellow creatures. I was hooked too till I realised that this electronic game actually made me exercise and then the lazy human in me took over! Though the craze has cooled down now, the location-based game was truly innovative and I’m sure we will get to see some more innovative games in the coming year.
We stood United like never before
It’s a universal fact that people have grown sick of 2016 and I won’t be surprised if I see an entire Facebook page dedicated to it or find myself in a room full of people mourning the death of their favourite actor or writer. Nonetheless, the best part about this year was how we all stood united against the evil. Be it the terror attacks or the deaths of the civilians in conflict zones, people from every stratum of society have stood against the evil and this gives me hope that no matter how bad things may get, we need to hold on to that hope!
Many of you might call me an over-pessimist for finding good even in the so-called terrible year and might question me if it is just for the sake of writing this piece or have I really not lost hope even after all this while. I’d just smile and answer as calmly as Snape (or better, Alan Rickman) did in Harry Potter and the deathly hollows: Always!