2016, never mind; 2017, be kind

It is beyond doubt that 2016 was one of the most disastrous and catastrophic years of this century yet. Terror attacks in Paris, Istanbul, and Berlin. Kim Kardashian in Paris. Mallika Sherawat in Paris, not Cannes. Trump, Brexit, Zika, Syria, and finally Trump again. Modi–Kejriwal. Brangelina. Amalooney. Samsung. Police shootings. Uber molestations. David Bowie, Prince, Zaha Hadid, Leonard Cohen, George Michael. Princess Leia. BPP elections.

Europe’s refugee crisis and the on-going civil conflict that has left 65 million people, just under 1% of the world’s population, completely displaced. The demonetization debacle in India that left over 15% of the world’s population completely helpless and bewildered. Thankfully I converted all my thousand rupee notes into dollars before leaving for North America!


Several people on social media once again assassinated Dilip Kumar for his regular visits to the hospital, only to ensure that he tweets yet another hale but not so hearty picture of himself being alive. Abhishek Bachchan… oh, that was 2015. Or, maybe 2014. Never mind; every year has been a disaster for him since the beginning of the century.


Coming back to 2016, Cyrus Mistry was asked to say bye-bye to Tata. Poor Ratan uncle had to come out of retirement and salvage the situation. And the BPP disassociated itself from ZYNG; it’s going to be their loss, as the trustees won’t be allowed for any of ZYNG’s speed dating events anymore.


The bitter winter arrived way ahead of its time in Chicago, which is where I moved to from Toronto, six months ago. I had to wear a layer of body-hugging spandex beneath my surgical scrubs to keep my internal heat circulating. I now have a profound respect for Shiamak Davar.


But 2016 also gave us things to cheer about. Polio eradication has become a tantalizingly close possibility. A way to restore movement by linking the brain to paralyzed limbs may soon become a reality. A game-changing new clot retriever has been found for stroke victims. Explorations were made into gene-editing, which is the equivalent of giving us scissors to cut out the bad pieces. The Ebola pandemic came to an end. Thailand became the first country in the Asia–Pacific region to ensure an AIDS-free generation. The Americas eliminated measles.


However, the best part of the year was that my brother got married to Tanzie, daughter of Cashmira and Manouchehr, and sister of Sorab. She happens to be my 2016 person of the year. Hurricane Sandy wiped out all of their family’s material possessions in 2012; only their love and resilience remained. To come back fighting from something like that requires a gumption and passion for life that one does not see in today’s millennials. Technically, she should be my 2012 person of the year, but I started giving out awards only this year.


Obviously, my recurring heroes of the year continue to be my mother and wife—because if I do not mention them, I’ll have to miss my Sunday dhansak. And how can I forget my everlasting heroes, my daughters, one of whom was born before the year started turning horrible. It is because of her that we made it through all the turmoil in North America. With two girls less than two years of age, both with a mind of their own and personalities that don’t need any more developing, constantly attacking one another and everything else in sight, I feel like I’m playing the part of Aamir Khan in Dangal at home.


With my girls and my wife, with my mother and mother-in-law and sister-in-law visiting, there was enough chaos in the house that would make the pandemonium of the 2016 US presidential elections seem like paragliding over the Swiss Alps. For me to have smilingly survived so many women, I believe, makes me the true hero of 2016; a balding hero with a potbelly and lots of grey hair but a hero nonetheless—Aamir Khan in Dangal once again.


So many of us have had personal tragedies in 2016, and at the same time, so many of us have been blessed. I try not to look back, because there is so much to look forward to… if you look hard enough for it. Will your decisions shape 2017 or your destiny? I believe in the former, my wife the latter. ‘There are some things that are not in ones control’, she cautions. ‘Let the choices you make, not be one of them’, I retort.


Whether the coming year will be apocalyptic or prophetic is only a matter of a political and spiritual discussion—both topics that are beyond the scope of my understanding. All I’d like to do is begin 2017 with the good thoughts, words, and deeds of one of my most favourite daytime talk show hosts, Ellen DeGeneres: “Be kind to one another.”


Happy N