2011, a year of hits and misses

Dec 31, 2011, 07:52 IST | Rohan Joshi

We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of 2011. We knew him for but one year, but we knew him well

We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of 2011. We knew him for but one year, but we knew him well. In remembering him, I am reminded of a quote by the great feminist poets of old, "Wait, why is 2011 a 'he'? It should be a she."

They have a point. 2011 was after all unpredictable, full of surprises, and every time someone got angry, they stopped eating or talking to you. But I digress.

For one who lived a life so short, 2011 achieved more than most would in 10 lives. This is mostly because of a technicality that dictates that even dubious, despicable achievements still count as achievements.

2011 taught me much, and he (just go with it) taught it all too well. He taught me that a country is not as strong as its strongest politician, but its strongest citizen. Our 'strongest' citizens just spent three days attempting to drum up support in Mumbai by not eating.

In 2011, although we saw the deaths of notable achievers, it also brought cheer to a multitude of cricket crazy fans by giving us the cricket World Cup

How successful were they? Well, they drew a smaller crowd than a Bryan Adams concert, so make of that what you will. In the same time it took to get one Lokpal Bill passed, Egypt and Libya assembled entirely new power structures.

2011 did, to that effect, teach us that there is no room for dictatorship in this world. More importantly though, he warned us that often, as in the case of Egypt, what happens after the dictator is gone is as, can be more dangerous than the removal of said dictator.

2011 was capable of great cruelty as well. He took from us some of our greatest minds and finest talents; Steve Jobs, Dev Anand, MF Husain, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. We are poorer without them, and yet 2011 reminded us of how rich we were to have had them among us at all.

But he was not without his merits, 2011. He brought us a cricket World Cup, for the first time in 27 years. He gave us the opportunity to shut up every single cricket fan over the age of 40 who only had that one nostalgic trump card to play. He also brought us more IPL and a tour to England so disastrous, it makes the UID campaign look like a triumph.

2011 was, over and above anything else, a protester. He protested everything; dictatorship, corruption, the excesses of the rich, FDI in retail, the opposition to FDI in retail, the move of Bigg Boss to the late-night slot, everything. He didn't eat, he went to Tahrir Square, he wore a Gandhi topi, and he occupied Wall Street.
That last protest was more interesting than most because it consisted of disenfranchised people just filling up places they weren't supposed to be. Imagine an Occupy Kurla ("Sir, we must occupy it to protest." "Actually Dinesh, it looks pretty bloody occupied already.")

He said a few stupid things, 2011, but who doesn't? Surely you remember his opposition to drinking, when he said that people who drink should be flogged. Which is weird, because if you flogged me, I'd really want a drink. And then there was his grand plan to censor the internet, an issue we'll have to take up with his successor, 2012.

Speaking of which, I'd like to welcome 2012 to the fold. He seems like a nice fellow, and he hasn't done much damage. Yet. Some of the sins of his father may be visited upon him, but he does bring with him The Avengers and the final Dark Knight film, so I'd appreciate if you were all nice to him. Or her, if that's what you'd prefer.

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo

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