General Elections. Indian Super League. Mangalyaan. From celebrities to common folk, the guide quizzed a bunch of people across professions, to pick their highlight or impressionable moment from the year gone by. The results were fascinating.
Richa Chadha, actress
One of my most favourite moments of 2014 was when Kailash Satyarthi won the Nobel Prize for his work against the exploitation and oppression of children and when females came forward in support of secularism in Trilokpuri in the wake of the engineered communal tension.
Nachiket Barve, fashion designer
The highlight of 2014, for me, was the successful MOM mission. It was India’s first interplanetary mission and ISRO has become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency. India is also the first nation to reach Mars orbit on its first attempt, and the first Asian nation to do so. It made me very proud of the level of technological progress and innovation that India has achieved and the potential our country has! In a world filled with bad news and depressing headlines, it was a beacon of joy and achievement. It was humbling to see dedicated scientists working on the mission and yet not being fame stricken. As the year ends, I hope for a realignment of our efforts on the crucial larger issues than the superfluous things and differences that divide us.
Vasudeo Kamath, artist
This New Year’s eve is giving me satisfaction. At last, I am able to take a step towards my mission of promoting fine art portraiture in Mumbai. In 2006, I was awarded the grand prize at the competition organised by the Portrait Society of America in Dallas, USA. I was inspired by the programme and sure that Indian portrait painters are equally talented. But here, we have no such organisation. So, I teamed up with my artist friends and found the trust Portrait Artists’ Group. We have been organising an online portrait competition on Facebook over the year. On December 30, we launched our Trust with a face-off portrait demonstration. Today, 12 finalists will paint portraits at the Sir JJ School of Art, which will be judged by masters and where participants will be awarded.
S Varalakshmi, city college professor
I’m a huge football fan, so for me, the Indian Super League was the best thing to happen to the country in 2014. Earlier, I always felt angst because of the lack of quality football being played in India. With the ISL, Indian players have got exposure to see and share space with greats like Nicolas Anelka and Luis Garcia. With three months on the road training, it has become a great way to learn from the best. For a sport to thrive, it must capture the imagination of the public. Football is a cheap sport. If people are hooked on to it, money will flow in. It is also a great way to keep young kids busy, and out of trouble. By televising it and with an easy access to stadiums, it has left an impression. It might not happen overnight, but it’s a great start. One hopes that by 2025, we can create an impact in Asia, at least.
Kavita Seth, singer
For me, the highlight of this year was Indian spacecraft Mangalyaan reaching Mars in its maiden attempt. I think watching the images online and on TV made me feel really proud to be an Indian. I was over the moon.
Swapnil Raje, scriptwriter
The live recital of Ustad Rashid Khan at the Anant Gatha Festival, in August at Nehru Centre, was memorable. It revived the concept of the Classical artiste who weren’t being constrained by time to deliver short recitals of raga, to cater to popular sentiment. The listener got an impassioned performance. We should have more such festivals.
Malaika Fernandes, self-employed professional
The highlight was the giant stride taken with kabaddi and football gaining mass popularity. The success of both leagues brought forth sections of Indians who showed how crazy we can be over any sport if presented in an entertaining format with fair-priced tickets. It will be great if a new sport gains momentum in 2015.
Devashish Makhija, filmmaker & writer
This year, I went to Juhu beach at 5 am the morning after the last day of Ganpati visarjan. It was a landscape of destruction. Half-destroyed, half-dissolved Ganpatis were strewn all over, amidst all sorts of garbage. If this is how much respect we really have for our ‘God’, we need to rethink our relationship with Him.
Shiv Khera, motivational speaker
The greatest highlight of 2014 was obtaining freedom for India from the dynasty rule. The last 10 years of misrule promoted corruption, scams and looting the nation of its dignity. The dawn of a new government brought hope of justice and growth for the country. All of us wish to see a united country built on integrity.
Cyrus Sahukar, comedian & actor
My favourite moments in 2014 were the months leading up to the General Elections. It felt as if, after a long time, people were genuinely interested and aware of the political scenario in our country. It was everyone’s constant topic of discussion.