To 2016

Another trip around the sun. Another year flies by.

It seems like we’re only waking up now, slowly blinking away sleep and wondering just how we already got here, gearing up to start yet another year. We’re mostly groggy and a little confused, and slightly (an understatement of huge proportions) disgruntled because, well, let’s admit it; 2016 was rough.

We saw our childhood heroes and idols leave us, world politics put morality to shame, war, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and of course, Brangelina and a fallen hero; Harambe, to count a few.

And yet, there were incidents that made us smile through the agony that was 2016, and reaffirmed our faith in silver linings.

The Indian Air Force had its first batch of women fighters. These three incredible women created history when they were inducted in Indian Air Force fighter squadron in June. Even though combat roles in the Army and Navy still remain off limits for women, the IAF has hopefully set the benchmark for encouraging women in defense services.

In a stellar performance in the Paralympics, India brought home two gold, one silver and one bronze medal, along with a great sense of pride in our sportspersons for whom disability is no match for sheer willpower and dedication.

We saw Bollywood take a small, but steady step towards a bright future for our film industry. Yes, there were movies like Mastizaade and Befikre that left us with our heads in our hands, a throbbing headache at the absurdity of it all. But there were also movies like Aligarh and Kapoor and Sons, which changed the face of the portrayal of homosexuals in the film industry and how we perceive them. Pink was raw and real, with a loud message about consent, and Nil Battey Sannata showed the struggle of a single mother and her vision for her daughter. 2016 closed with a punch to patriarchy and stereotypes of women in the sports industry with the film, Dangal.

The ozone layer is showing signs of healing. Some thirty years ago, scientists discovered that the ozone was depleting, and since then, efforts have been launched to save it, and in turn, us. The results are slowly showing, when back in the end of June, the layer finally began to heal.

The giant panda is no longer an endangered species as of 2016. The wild panda population jumped to 1,864 in 2014 — up from 1,596 in 2004.

The spirits of the country rose as women shone at the Olympics. Wrestler Sakshi Malik won India a bronze medal, and P. V. Sindhu won a silver in Badminton. Dipa Karmakar in gymnastics, Aditi Ashok in golf, and athlete Lalita Babar lifted our spirits and pride as the country united to cheer for our beautiful and talented women.

The world tiger population increased this year, which was a feat achieved for the first time in a hundred years. 2016 saw 690 more tigers in a year alone, with the total number rising from 3890.

The number of women of colour in the Senate quadrupled this year, which is a massive accomplishment for minorities. Illinois’ Rep. Tammy Duckworth became the first Thai-American woman elected to the Senate. California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is black and Indian American, made history as the first Indian-American woman to be elected the Senate. And in Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto became the first-ever Latina senator and the first woman ever elected to the Senate from her state.

Maybe the positives don’t outweigh the negatives of the year. This year wore us down and left us horrified with the happenings around the world, and is it closed in on us, we were waiting for it all to end. But what we have is some hope left and the anticipation of better things to come.

We began the year with expectations and it didn’t live up to it. But we have yet another year of a boxful of surprises to see and memories to make. Not all hope is lost, not all joy is in vain. Things will look up like they always do, and as we struggle to catch up with yet another year, this is one thing we must not forget.

Here’s to another year that left us a little awestruck and a little breathless with the intensity of it all. Good things will come and bad things will too, but what we have is to look for the little happy moments in this seemingly scary world.

Cheers to everyone!