Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008, Signing Off

Outlook is debating if it is India's worst year yet. NDTV is calling it a year best forgotten. India Today has put a splash of blood on its year-end special. On a lighter note, Radio Mirchi is calling it Do hazaar-Vaat!
Clearly, 2008 is a year every one is waiting for to end. And take the blood & gore with it.

I see 2008 as The Year Trust Died.
We thought Sensex can only go up. We thought Lehmann Brothers employed some of the smartest business minds of world. We thought the Taj lobby was the poshest and safest place in the entire country. We thought Citi never sleeps. We thought our employers will never fire us. Hell, we even thought Rahul Dravid will never fail.
And each one of our symbols of faith crumbled. And if they didn't, they looked suspiciously susceptible.

This year, I did some unexpected - but eagerly awaited - things.
I did not participate in one of the best quiz shows on television - Bollywood Ka Boss. But that's because I contributed questions to it!
I wrote the end-notes for the English translation of two Satyajit Ray books, published under the Puffin imprint. Do take a look if you spot the books.
I visited the homes of Shakespeare, Holmes and Cricket.
And I watched my son going from a cute one-year old to a devilish two-year old.

But to keep a two-year tradition (thank god, I did not call it heritage!) going, I will try to collate my favourites from the year... in no particular order, in no particular category. Just to remember them later.

The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction had a picture of a gun-toting, cleavage-baring damsel on its cover. It totally lived up to its promise. Detective couples. Past lives. Corrupt politicians. Drug rackets in colleges. Office romance. If you liked 1970s Bollywood, you will love the book.
Jhumpa Lahiri wrote about the same stories yet again. But like the way we never tire of listening to the same stories about very good friends, I remained hooked on to Unaccustomed Earth till the very end.
We Are Like That Only (Rama Bijapurkar) and India After Gandhi (Ramachandra Guha) were two 'academic' books but totally readable! Actually, they were released earlier but I read them in '08.
Just added: The Tehalka Year-End Fiction Special is fantastic. Grab it at the next book stall.

Question of the Year: We are castigating a Punjabi girl for not being able to recognise her husband when he undergoes a makeover. But, even a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist fails to recognise her boyfriend when he takes off his glasses and wears his undies over his pants.

Did a lot of self-debating before awarding the Best Film award to Rock On! For a fabulous soundtrack on a totally satisfying film. Anybody doubting the power of the soundtrack should see my two-year old son go Na-na-na-na-na-na the moment Pichhle saat dinon mein comes on!
Coming in as joint second are two brilliant films, but unfortunately largely unseen.
A Wednesday deserved to get a large audience without the 26/11 baggage. One of the tautest thrillers, it had Naseeruddin Shah maintaining his usual standards and Anupam Kher rising beyond C Kompany.
Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! is going to become - like Andaz Apna Apna - one of the highest selling DVDs in India. Once people realise what a sansani-khez movie they missed out on, they will have to come in droves and pick it up. The maker of Khosla Ka Ghosla deserves it!

Question of the Year: What is unusual about someone who loses his memory every 15 minutes? Wasn't it said that we will anyways be remembered for only 15 minutes?


Most of my favourite bloggers slowed down to almost a grinding halt (8, 7, 3) though some of the old favourites have kept up the good work.
Some wonderful posts happened in my other favourites. Some new blogs were discovered - though it is entirely my tragic slowness to blame that it took me so long.
* Bollywood's charm winds into the unlikeliest of places. And for strangest of reasons!
* Even the worst Hindi films have one memorable dialogue that stays with you for a long time. But when you forget, where do you go to relive them? Here.
* One-liners are really difficult to generate. But these have a series of them on the most obvious of comparisons, but...
* A short poem. Which 'touches the g-spot of the mind'.
* Everybody in Tinseltown blogs nowadays. But he manages to have point of view. Whether you agree or not.
* What is the correct etiquette for a public loo (male)? What Emily Post never touched upon, he did.

Before I end, I am putting together a series of clues to remind me of the posts that I must do in 2009. Something like a series of Ghajini tattoos...
9820189743. Naaz, Meenakshi, Mithila. 55 x 18 = 990.
Can you figure what they will be about?

Calcutta Chromosome wishes all its readers a fantastic 2009.
As a toast goes, "In the New Year, may your hand always be extended in friendship and never in want."

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