2022: A year of many triumphs, successful marches, several victories and a special World Cup Image Credit: ANI/AP/Reuters

It passed in a whirl and yet the year was long enough to test our comfort zones.

Distractions, diversions and outright defiance though were met by pockets of resistance, hatred the year showed can continue to have its interns but it was the well- meaning who held their own.

Rahul Gandhi walked the good walk, his Bharat Jodo Yatra has now criss-crossed 3000 kms across the changing landscape of the country.

Children hopping on his back, gnarled hands entrusting in his, women keeping frenetic pace, it has been a movement to reclaim the lost India, a step at a time.

A yatra in India is inherently mobilising but away from the pitched negativity of discourse and flaring nostrils that masquerade as politics- away from politicking itself- the march attempting to take back agency of India’s very fabric once inclusive but ripped in recent years by a free-falling ugliness of majoritarian chest thumping.

The yatra was a much needed refresh button, one that signified the permeating relevance of harmony in an atmosphere where hate derailed like an all season bad fruit.

It also took the politician away from a pedestal of disconnect, walking with a sea of people Rahul Gandhi captured the essence of a bygone era where leaders mingled and were accessible. His stop at former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee’s samadhi also harked back to the dignity of rising beyond political differences.

How and if it translates into political goodwill for the Congress is a story for another day or year but Bharat Jodo Yatra being flagged for Covid concerns was a sign that he was doing something right.

It though was a year when the pandemic receded from the country’s collective mindset like a tsunami in reverse gear emphasising that Indian resilience isn’t a myth, the ability to bounce back is the real jugaad.

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Messi's G.O.A.T status officially sealed

If the world needed a final affirmation, it came in the form of a man named Messi who saved the best of 2022 for last.

As countries tilted right like a collapsing pack of cards with the ideological crossing into the irrational, the Argentinian united the world in a way that nothing or no one did this year. In his victory was the promise, principals and discipline will find a day in the sun.

Earlier in the year another gentleman Swiss Roger Federer brought out similar emotions by hearteningly showing that good guys can also come first. He quit, we cried but the openness to appreciate him and Messi was revealing, all was not surrendered.

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Messi gestures during the Qatar 2022 World Cup trophy ceremony Image Credit: Reuters

New beginnings in India though as Droupadi Murmu became the first women Dalit president of the country. But the release of Bilkis Bano’s convicted rapists and murderers indicated how one step ahead can be quickly nullified by two steps back.

Apathy, anger, indifference- India remained a melting pot but pulled something extra out of that pot that allowed a country to remain on its feet despite the push and pulls. 2023 will have its challenges but hope is a powerful tool and, the dream of digital India persists.

Internet slowly seeped into more sleepy towns and small villages where newly minted ‘influencers’ are crafting their own vernacular content, the bandwidth bandwagon though needs to reach thousands of more villages.

Bollywood's push back against hate

Bollywood kept standing and against a sustained attack, that was good enough- movies were cancelled, actors were deleted and propaganda films became tax free.

What they wore or said in the past became the benchmark of an aggrieved nation just as much as the scent of a colour.

West Bengal Governor C.V. Ananda Bose interacts with Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan during the inaugural programme of the 28th Kolkata International Film Festival, as the State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee looks on, in Kolkata on Thursday.
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan greets West Bengal Governor C V Ananda Bose during the 28th Kolkata International Film Festival, which was also attended by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

SRK though showed why he remains the king, with dignity and wit he stayed true to self, teaching the novice and the trolls alike the nuances of a classy takedown.

Those who took the path of least resistance still didn’t collect the Friday numbers as South Indian films went mainstream, its competing content shaking Hindi cinema from its hubris. Away from the movies there were hints of a pushback as the year was coming to a close.

Amitabh Bachchan who assiduously stayed silent till now, spoke. His words on freedom of expression were minimal but when Big B speaks, the impact is hard to whitewash.

Meanwhile Bollywood’s outreach as a soft power transcended new heights, Deepika Padukone unveiling the FIFA trophy, the biggest sporting spectacle showed how despite a calculated domestic ambush it continues to sprinkle its fairy dust internationally.

A year like others and yet different. 2022 was the year that stood out for the good fight. It can never go wrong.