(This is the second installment of the two-part year-end review. The first part appeared last week)
In the last throw of dice to salvage something out of the economy, the Congress-led UPA government plans curtailing of needless expenditure and calls for a five-year moratorium on general elections. Finance Minister P Chidambaram sets a personal example by not contesting the election. Rs.350 is cut on the fiscal deficit. His son, Karti Chidambaram who, however, takes the fray in Sivaganga, polls votes far lesser some of the people who did not even contest the election.
The mood of the nation is overwhelmingly taken over by the general elections, which get off in Assam and Tripura. And till the time of going to press, we are awaiting what happened after that in Assam and Tripura.
The BJP fields Narendra Modi as its official Prime Ministerial candidate. The media rightfully picks holes in his candidature, suggesting that governing the country is a — hold tight, cliché ahead — ‘different kettle of fish’ from being the Chief Minister of a State. Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, has the rich experience of being the Prime Minister’s son once.
In international news, the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight continues and India earnestly joins the multi-country operations, with the UPA government showing the way for other nations by forming the strategically vital Whatsapp group under the commonsense name: ‘Jawaharlal Nehru Malaysian Airlines Bachao Whatsapp Group’.
In an IPL encounter, Chennai Super Kings had to score 16 runs off four balls with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the crease. The ice-cool Dhoni holds his nerve and finishes things in style, hitting two fours off the last two balls in that match and the remaining two fours off the first two balls in the next match. ‘For once, I think finished the match right at the start rather take it till the last,’ Dhoni nonchalantly said later.
Tension mounts as Russia embarks on a military maneuver against Ukraine. America, with a well-known known history of steadfastly staying away from other countries’ affairs, issues a warning to Russia, with its vice-president Joe Biden forcefully declaring: If Russia does not quickly mend its way, the US and other NATO countries will have no other option but to upgrade their warning to ‘stern warning.’ ‘We have all the paraphernalia for issuing warnings. It is no longer a question whether we may or not. Because it’s already May’.
In multiple interviews, Narendra Modi outlines his simple strategy for the BJP to win the elections and his grand vision for the nation once he becomes the Prime Minister eloquently: ‘Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi’.
While campaigning across the country, he also becomes a weather pattern visible from satellites flying above.
Rahul Gandhi, a true democrat that he is, creates a sensation by walking out of his own press conference. ‘As an individual I do not agree with what the Congress vice-president was trying to say there’, he explained.
The election results are out. All the pollsters, in an unprecedented event, get it right. The nation’s new Prime Minister is: Suhel Seth. The nation is happy. Suhel Seth
Elsewhere, Maruti announces that it would no longer roll out the iconic Maruti 800. It is a sad day for the country, as Maruti 800 was the first collaborative car built with the joint effort of two countries: Technology from Japan and number plate from Old Delhi market.
The IPL draws to a close. The pulsating final pitted Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab. The result of the match is right now in a sealed cover submitted to the Supreme Court of India. The highlight of the final is a big six hit by Yusuf Pathan, the ball staying so long in the air that by the time it came down, June had arrived.
With a new government in office, the talk is all about development. The first task before the new team is putting the economy back on rails and contain the burgeoning fiscal deficit, which in the memorable words of new Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, ‘had grown the size of Nitin Gadkari’.
Narendra Modi, as the Prime Minister, begins in right earnest and announces the first major plan of his government: the nationalization of: ‘Rapidex Learn Hindi in 30 Days’.
Elsewhere, the soccer World Cup gets underway in Brazil, and the defending champions Spain are sent out in the first round itself as they don’t have valid travel papers. ‘As defending champions we got a direct birth into the tournament. We didn’t know we had to get visas’, the Spanish coach said.
The country’s Vice-President sends a terse note to the Union Telecom Minister to install Whatsapp on his official phone, which turns out to be a landline.
The Union Commerce Ministry observes a month-long growth ‘yojana’ to swiftly move India from June to…
Union Budget is presented, and the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who also holds the portfolio of the Defence, announces the much-needed rationalization move: Appoints Raghuram Rajan, the RBI Governor, the chief of Army, too.
Rahul Gandhi unleashes his first major onslaught against the Modi government. He intensifies the grin that seems to have become permanently affixed to his face since the day the election results were out.
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani, in a major move to revamp educational system, puts out a circular mulling Sundays as working day for schools. ‘This is only for students. It will be holiday for teachers anyway,’ she clarifies in the face of a raging storm of protest.
A Malaysian airline is shot down over Ukraine, which alleges ultras backed by Russia are behind the heinous tragedy. As is its wont in such matter, India is off the blocks quickly and dispatches a top-notch forensic team to find out whether the shot-down Malaysian Airlines flight was ‘by any chance’ the one that went missing a few months ago.
In a major judicial intervention, the Supreme Court, suo motu, takes up the raging issue of Suhel Seth’s hairstyle.
Trouble breaks out in Iraq but so does…
Terrorism gets a new brand name: ISIS. The Iraq and Syrian-based group is the new scourge that the world has to tackle. Luckily, all countries pose a united face against this terrorism and combat it effectively, so much so that by the year-end ISIS is reduced to being just IS.
The airline industry is in the throes of a major crisis. One spokesperson is quoted as saying, ‘all of us are collectively finished, if Modi ever tries to encash his frequent flyers points’.
The reality TV show Bigg Boss produces a shocking outcome when the winner turns out to be — incredibly – that person whatshisname, despite the fact that the overwhelming favourite was that other person, another whatshisname.
The chairman and managing director of Syndicate Bank Sudhir Kumar Jain is arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and they unearth 17 ATMs from his guest bedroom.
Rajdeep Sardesai, the well-known journalist, but more well-known as the husband of Sagarika Ghose, a well-known journalist herself, but more well-known as Sagarika, quit their channel CNN-IBN in a rather unceremonious way. This is seen as a huge crisis for the media as it happens on a day it has no other crisis.
The first sign of some discontent against Narendra Modi government, as fringe elements belonging to outfits like VHP, Bajrang Dal push for their agenda which leads chaos in the form of early onset of…
The arrival of festival season sees the full blooming of e-commerce sites, which smartly choose a business model — to sell new-age mobiles and high-end tablets — that would not be out of place at your local ration shop: You basically start the days with a ‘no stock’ board.
Apple releases a new model of phone. But, much to the disappointment of its fans, non-Apple phone owners can still make a call to or receive call from it.
In space news, scientists manage to land a space vehicle in some meteor. Or it could be some planet. This is considered a major breakthrough in the science of getting more and more grants for more such pointless programmes.
Spice Jet, in a move to avoid any more financial problems, takes the prudent step of naming itself: Kingfisher Airlines.
In other non-Modi news, Modi is the news.
Hackers put on the internet hundreds of naked-celebrity photos that were helpfully uploaded from the celebrities’ personal iPhones to the ‘cloud’ presumably by the celebrities themselves. But even without the need for any hacking, arrived…
Narendra Modi silences his critics, who were claiming that he was sidelining the media, by boldly appearing on Kapil Sharma’s show. The Prime Minister also addresses school students directly via television, which turns out to be a great morale booster as students finally realise that out there in real life there are things more boring than physics classes.
Elsewhere, the fear of Ebola virus, which could prove fatal, grips the world. CNN International takes medical journalism to new heights, by managing to speak to the dreaded virus directly in an exclusive interview. Elsewhere in India, Narendra Modi, at a hospital inauguration, points out that in ancient India Ebola had been completely eradicated.
Reports from Pakistan indicate that its scientists are developing enriched uranium for use is ‘sports and youth activities’.
In other sports-related news, the Supreme Court comes down heavily on N Srinivasan on the issue of ‘conflict of interest’ and poses some hard-hitting questions to him, and adjourns the court. It is such a hard blow that a mortified and chastened Srinivasan does the most reasonable thing of shrugging his shoulders and taking principled and determined steps towards …
With the elections long over and the economy far from being revived, the government realising the urgency of the situation, rolls up its sleeves and gets on with the crucial job of just remaining the government, while the Prime Minister heads for Burma, a vital Indian strategic partner somewhere abroad.
Sachin Tendulkar’s much anticipated ‘My Autobiography’ is released. But it turns that the ‘autobiographer’ Boria Majumdar thought it to be his own ‘My Autobiography’. In the event, the book contained as much insight as is possible for a third person giving a first person account.
E-commerce giant Flipkart finally finds its match in Indian market. It is easily put to shade by the most aggressive and shameless marketing ever seen on the internet: Rajdeep Sradesai flogging his book on his twitter timeline. Jeff Bezos, for his Indian operations, should just hire him and fire the rest of his staff. Rajdeep, in his mood, can be counted to successfully sell a warehouse of goods over three hours.
At home, many events, but mainly news of bail application of J Jayalalithaa, yet again the underlined vital service provided by the powerful information-gathering resource that is the journalism/Twitter combination, which — faced with a wildly chaotic, confusing situation — is somehow able, within mere minutes, to get pretty much everything wrong. But even TV channels couldn’t get wrong the arrival of…
The Supreme Court keeping the unrelenting heat on N Srinivasan declares in no uncertain terms that he cannot continue with his conflict of interest and orders that he cannot watch the Indian Football League matches.
In Vatican, where the new Pope has brought a fresh wave of modernity, announces that a cover version of One Direction’s new song will be sung before every mass.
Serial, an eponymous podcast is the rage on the internet, as it serialises a real-life murder and the investigations into it thereof. If you are a Tamil you will wonder what the fuss is all about as it is Kutram Nadandadhu Enna in English.
In Egypt, or it could be Syria also, the military ousts the incumbent President and, in a move that worries international observers, installs, as his replacement, Suhel Seth.
When you finish off with Suhel Seth, the fact is the year cannot end any lower. Which also means: 2015 will be a lot better.
Happy New Year!