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Yesterday once more

It's been a fortnight into 2013 but I'm yet to get over 2012. They say it's high time I rolled up the old calendar but before letting go, I am tempted to reflect on events that shaped the year that just slid by. Rajesh Moudgil writes

chandigarh Updated: Jan 17, 2013 11:25 IST
Rajesh Moudgil

It's been a fortnight into 2013 but I'm yet to get over 2012. They say it's high time I rolled up the old calendar but before letting go, I am tempted to reflect on events that shaped the year that just slid by.


Things didn't exactly go as per plan or prediction. 2012 was supposed to mark the end of the world.

The Mayan theory did intrigue some, worry others and amuse a few. But the grandmother of all hoaxes was eventually reduced to an occasion to sell coffee mugs with 21-12-12 printed on them. So what overshadowed this near-historic occasion? Why did we forget conveniently? Even those born on 12-12-12 failed to get the limelight they otherwise deserved.

An erstwhile Bollywood buff, I asked myself was it because of contemporary box office success stories such as Housefull 2, Rowdy Rathore, Kahaani or English-Vinglish had the audience interested and entertained? Did movies have anything to do with the Mayan mystery?

No, public concern with the Mayan prophecy was overshadowed, rather overtaken, by a chain of tragic events that occurred in New Delhi on December 16, 2012. The sordid developments in the Delhi gangrape case dominated prime time on TV, drawing room discussions and even office gossip. We felt ashamed and bitter after the tale of societal brutality emerged, turning gorier by the day. We have never been shamed like this before.

The calendar remained a mute spectator as 2012 unfolded, recording the worst crimes against women day after day and week after week. They included incidents such as the sexual assault on woman and child inmates of the Rohtak shelter home, acid attacks on self-respecting, assertive women, a spate of rapes across the country and worst lovers living in fear or being hunted down by self-appointed guardians of society's honour, the khaps (caste councils).

Where was the spirit to celebrate or worry about 21-12-12? For many of us, including the victims of excesses and their empathisers, the world and all things good about it seemed to have ended anyway.

Gory tales depicting the naked reality of brothels and the brutal deeds of men have been the staple of masala movies, including popular multi-starrer films. Yet, we have either refused to accept reality or ignored inconvenient truths of life. It is probably because of this mindset of looking the other way when confronted with vulgarity and lewd acts that crimes against women have risen. We have no problem watching society's dark side in item numbers and "dirty pictures" in the name of entertainment. Film-makers are only too willing to oblige for commercial gains.

Gone are the days when movies were a source of genuine entertainment. No other media unites us like cinema. It was because of films by icons such as Guru Dutt, Balraj Sahni, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand besides singers like Mohd Rafi and writers like Sahir Ludhianavi, that yesterday seemed better than today.

And what about tomorrow? Will we see a change for the better in 2013? I have put up the new calendar hoping time has taught us a lesson.

The writer can be reached at rajesh.moudgil@hindustantimes.com