Water-cooler discussions of the year, from those of us who clearly need to spend less time at the water cooler.
Deepika Padukone makes her choice: In April, Deepika’s My Choice video left us all a bit confused. Apparently it’s empowering to be an anorexic Size Zero or to cheat on your husband. Feminists protested, conservatives protested, even Bollywood stood divided.
Ahmed’s clock ticks off USA: Black Muslim 14-year-old boy, in NASA T-shirt and glasses, took a homemade clock to class and got arrested for bringing a bomb to school. Support poured in from across the world for the poor guy.
The dress that blue our minds: When a photo of this dress was posted on Tumblr in February, the world was divided over what colours they were seeing: White and gold or black and blue? Millions of tweets followed, and the dress (blue and black in real life) became a hit.
Ashley Madison gets cheated on: Hackers stole the user data from Ashley Madison, a website (supposedly) where married people could hook up for adulterous affairs. As self-righteous thieves threatened to make it public, the world split into two kinds of people: those who wished they’d never signed up and those who wished they’d heard of Ashley Madison in the first place.
Roaring over cecil: The world exploded in outrage after Cecil, a lion in a Zimbabwe sanctuary, was shot by an American dentist who’d received a licence to hunt. Cecil’s death made him more famous than Aslan and Mufasa combined.
Justin Bieber took fans to the moon: When he posted a photo of his (toned, very smooth) bare butt on Instagram in July, the Web went crazy. He took it down, but those cheeks have been immortalised in countless memes.
Search engines gave us the news: Google’s ‘Year in Search’ revealed the top search queries for 2015 – the Paris attacks, Adele’s new album and the Oscars.
Tagged For Insta: Instagram officially became more popular than Twitter this year #NoFilter! The top hashtag? #LOVE
Minion Mania: You watched the Minions movie, your nephew cut a Minions birthday cake, you gave Minions-themed presents, saw Minions memes and basically went Minion-mad.
And the Miss Universe Isn’t...: The Miss Universe pageant gave viewers something more interesting to talk about than the swimsuit round and world peace. Last week, the host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia the winner, then quickly amended it to Miss Philippines. Both contestants wept... for different reasons. And Harvey, who apologised publicly, might have a hard time getting hired again.
Ahalya made a splash: Sujoy Ghosh’s 14-minute film gave a modern twist to the mythological story of Ahalya from Ramayan and was one of the most watched videos of the year in India. It proved that you can tell a great story in 14 minutes, that YouTube is a great platform for fresh films and that good thrillers need not be tacky.
Baying for blood: We’ll remember 2015 as the year we fought against menstruation taboos. We criticised the Sabarimala temple priest who wanted sensors to detect (and keep out) devotees who were on their period. We joined in the #HappyToBleed chorus on Facebook, which demystified the female reproductive process. We ordered our first silicone menstrual cups online and cheered on Kiran Gandhi, who ran the London marathon free-bleeding in support of women who have no access to sanitary products.
Caitlyn came out: American TV star (and Olympian) Bruce Jenner came out as a transwoman, had gender-reassignment surgery and emerged as Caitlyn in July. Social media offered hope, support, criticism, envy and tasteless jokes all in mere minutes of the news breaking online.
NASA found water on Mars: Which means Indian real estate brokers are already looking for a way to sell you a plot on the red planet.
Besties trumped Boyfriends: Who cares who the celebs were dating? This year was all about girl buddies. Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevigne and Gigi Hadid; Jacqueline and Sonam, Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence; Taylor Swift’s posse; Jennifer Aniston and the Beebs.
Net neutrality united us all: Regardless of their religion, age, political beliefs and location, India united in the battle for a free, open and equal-access internet. Did you sign the petition on SaveTheInternet.in in April? Is FreeBasics good for India? So many new questions in 2015.
Buried In Apps: Every brand out there wanted you to download their app this year. How many does your phone have?
Chetan Bhagat’s Tweets: His books were bad enough, his misinformed tweets were worse. Bhagat’s public views showed us that there’s no troll like a famous troll.
Baby Watching: Princess Charlotte and Saint West were furiously discussed, christened and criticised even before they were born. 2015 showed how tasteless public speculation can be. We don’t need details about every star kid’s life. Just Jayden Smith’s.
The (Non) Word Of The Year: The ‘tears of laughter’ emoji became our most trusted textual shorthand. Which makes you wonder, was 2015 really all that funny?
Pluto Has A Heart: The New Horizons Probe flew by Pluto, took a photo of the heart shape on the planet’s surface and made everyone feel guilty for excluding it from our solar system.
Drake Danced That Dance: In November, the rapper released a song called Hotline Bling. But it was the video that made it viral. Drake’s funny monkey dance gave every drunk uncle a way to look cool at a party.
Syncing with dubsmash: This clever app let you lipsync to your favourite song, and record a video for the amusement of others. Hilarious for the first two days, murderously annoying in the weeks after.
From HT Brunch, December 27
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