A Year Best Forgotten
And going by the few who did have it good in 2016, there’s more bad news on the way
YES, YES, WE KNOW. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. That distant glow we can see beyond the bend in the tunnel may just be a bulb marking the halfway point—the actual end may be much further away. Yes, if in 2014 we were staring into the abyss, now we are in full plunge, waiting for some hook or protuberance from the side to catch us and keep us from falling further, so let’s not even talk of ‘climbing out of the hole’ just yet. It’s too soon to know where exactly we can place 2016 in the anni horribili rankings, and of course different groups of people (and different countries) will have very different rankings, but even so it’s clear that the just-departed ’16 was a classic, one of those years at which you will look back and shudder, one of those which will provide endless party-game fun in the future, as people compete to name their worst moment from a year that was full of them.
Perhaps one can argue that it wasn’t the fault of poor, innocent 2016 at all, that a lot of what happened during its 12-month period can be put at the door of the criminals, say 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2014, or even that notorious old trio of gangsters, 1989, 1991 and 1992. That, however, is a fruitless argument, for each of the other accused could equally well blame some other year, or period, that preceded and begot them. As the Beatles sang, ‘Sunday’s on the phone to Monday, Tuesday’s on the phone to me.’
Alternatively, one could also turn the whole thing upside down and ask: who says 2016 was a ghastly year? Surely we can see that 2016 has been an epically amazing and happy-making year for some people. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, for example, would have begun her 2016 with far more anxiety, fear and nervousness than she ended it. In January, we who were about to get a whole poultryfarm’s worth of egg on our faces were cheerfully predicting that in the state elections the TMC would have a tough fight to stay in power. By March, the corruption accusations and the collapsed flyover in north Calcutta