Judicial Activism: The long arm of the law finally caught up with Santosh Singh for the murder of Priyadarshini Mattoo and Manu Sharma for killing Jessica Lall. Politicians weren’t spared either as Cabinet minister Shibu Soren and MP Navjot Singh Sidhu were convicted. Judicial activism asserted itself when the Supreme Court slammed Delhi’s MCD for not carrying out the sealing drive, and when the courts laid down guidelines for school admissions.
Cricket: The first win in the Caribbean, a drubbing in the ODIs against the Proteas and then a comeback of sorts, it has been an eventful year for Indian cricket. In between the team failed at home in the Champion’s Trophy and let England level a Test series. The Sourav soap opera took an unexpectedly pleasant turn. The cameos came from the cavalier Mahendra Dhoni, the maverick S. Sreesanth and the spunky Ramesh Powar.
Bollywood: Gandhigiri ruled. So did Hrithik’s fab abs. The Hindi film industry boomed in 2006, with as many as seven films, including Dhoom 2, Rang De Basanti and Fanaa, making it to the blockbuster grade. Karan Johar’s multi-starrer Kabhie Alvida Naa Kehna was the biggest-ever overseas hit. And new directors came up with new themes like Khosla Ka Ghosla and Pyaar Ke Side Effects that kept the multiplex ticket window busy. Importantly, the year kicked off two trends that are here to stay: the sequel and the remake.
Urban Living: Reality prices went through the ceiling and the dream of owning a home even in the suburbs became a distant dream for most. Soaring interest rates on homes added to the problem. In Delhi, the MCD’s sealing drive caught traders and citizens on the wrong foot. Add to this, increasing congestion on the roads, a dismal power situation and rising crime rates and you’ll know why our metros are in a mess.
International relations: Three high-profile bilateral visits — US President George Bush in March, Chinese President Hu Jintao in November and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Japan in December — signalled a move away from Pakistan-centric diplomacy. Democracy restored in Nepal and success in the Indo-US civil nuclear deal were diplomatic highs. With a new boss at the MEA, peace process with Pakistan appears on track, despite the setback of the Mumbai blasts.