Yearend compilations are a great tradition in newspapers, because they allow the editors to fill an entire page without doing any real work. The readers also love them as they have a full-page of stuff that they can conveniently ignore. When it comes to regular news, readers are totally different: They inconveniently ignore.
So how do you write something that you are sure will not be read? This is how:
The world, which was expected to end sometime in December 2012, did not, and the arrival of New Year naturally leads to plenty of cheer, hope and bonhomie for about 23 minutes after which people were already asking, ‘arre yaar, when will this year end, can’t it already?’
In a typically well-argued piece, seasoned journalist Mihir Sharma, backed by irrefutable statistics, proves that the New Year had arrived in Gujarat pretty much simultaneously along with other States. ‘This shows that the State being ahead under Narendra Modi is pure bunkum,’ he explained with his usual yen for clarity.
Actress Sri Devi gets Padma Sri, and is straightaway bestowed with a free franchise for the Art of Living course.
Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam runs into trouble with the officialdom as the film is slapped with ‘UU’, which certificate the Censors had introduced specifically for his films since Hey Ram. UU, for the record is the abbreviation of: Unable to Understand.
In international news, Barack Obama is sworn in as the President of United States of America for a second term. With this, Obama became the first person in the country’s illustrious history to succeed Obama as President.
On the sports front, Lance Armstrong, the legendary US cyclist, finally admits that he had once fitted his cycle with F-1 engine, which the officials couldn’t detect because ‘there were no traces of it in the mandatory urine test’.
A series of deadly blasts rocks Hyderabad. But without the resilience that it is so unique to Mumbai, Hyderabad struggles to come to terms with the tragedy for a full seven minutes.
The never-say-die Mihir Sharma is at it again. He establishes with facts and figures that February has not managed to have more than 28 days under Narendra Modi’s stint as the Chief Minister. ‘No, sir there is no miracle. February is staggeringly stagnant. The 29 days in a leap year can at best described as an aberration, an inevitable trickle down,’ the feisty Editor said.
On the financial front, faced with flak for not doing enough to shore up the floundering economy, the RBI Governor says high interest rates could be tamed only by a matching, responsible disinterest.
Staying on with matters money, in a move aimed to help ease things for the common man on the tax front, Finance Minister P Chidambaram announces, in his budget speech, that there would be three separate slabs, standing on which the public could pay their taxes.
A new scandal breaks out. Bribery allegations over purchase of helicopters from the company AgustaWestland for use by VVIPs. The Union Defence Minister actually accepts graft was indeed involved in the purchase of the helicopters. The opposition parties are stunned. They don’t know how to respond to this. This is where the case stands now.
The Supreme Court formally declares divorces to be illegal. ‘But under Article 132 of the Constitution, couple are at liberty to seek professional help either from marriage counselors or from snipers and smart-shooters,’ a Division Bench of the apex court ruled.
Subramanian Swamy files a writ of mandamus that there is no explicit provision in the Constitution authorising a person by name ‘P Chidambaram’ to be the country’s Finance Minister. The Supreme Court, in response, sends a notice to itself asking why it has not so far outlawed S Swamy.
Financial crisis in Cyprus deepens. The government runs out of money to buy ink to print money.
After an RTI query, it is found that Taj Mahal is shown to be as a tourist attraction built for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Back in India, in an explosive editorial, firebrand writer and intellectual Mihir Sharma rips into Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for not holding the Jaipur Literary Festival in Gandhinagar. ‘It is a Stalinist solecism,’ he pointed out not unreasonably.
The world waits with bated breath outside the Sistine chapel to know who the new Pope is. White smoke from the chimney signifies that a choice has been made. But for hours and hours, black smoke is only seen. Eventually, Pope Francis comes out and announces that he is the new pontiff. Those gathered point to the black smoke, to which Pope Francis, proving that Vatican is getting to be in grip with modernity, says: ‘well, that (black smoke) is because of global warming’.
Major breakthrough for the scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider project. They get a further grant to continue their quest of Higgs Boson particle, which, according to one of the scientists, has reached near culmination. ‘We are almost there. We need to search only behind the bureau. And there is no other place left where it can possibly hide itself’.
Inflation becomes so pronounced that it is one of the landmarks to be visible from the moon. P Chidambaram, the country’s Union Finance Minister, describes it as ‘a memorable moment for the country’s space programme’.
In a major plan to strengthen parliamentary democracy, the government announces the all-important decision of beaming Lok Sabha TV in HD format.
Wharton University snubs Narendra Modi by withdrawing its invitation to speak at the forum (by live video). Mihir Sharma tells the UPA government that if it had any self-respect, it should shift IIM Ahmedabad, if not Ahemedabad itself, to Wharton.
WikiLeaks publishes more than 1.7 million US diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s, 1.6 million of which pertain to secret exchanges between various US mission staff across the globe making risqué jokes on the name Kissinger.
In India, long form journalism makes a major comeback. It finds big favour among those who write long form articles. The public, of course, has difficulty reading twitter feed without complaining that it contains too many words.
On the second Wednesday of the month, a rare event occurs: Suhel Seth combs his hair.
In international tennis news, Roger Federer, arguably the greatest player of all time, was inarguably the greatest player for a couple of service games before losing to an unheralded player in an unheralded tournament.
One of the questions in the IAS exam that stumps everyone is: Why would anyone, in right sense, want to name his son Yo Yo Singh? The answer, of course, is: That person is not in his right sense.
(Due to space constraint only 4 months of events have been compressed here. The remaining will be carried next week)