So, finally all the hoopla and unwanted yet unmissable excitement for New Year has died down. Seriously, Its just another year dragging you closer to your next birthday, snatching away a whole year from your life and presenting you with one less year in your life span. Not to sound too dramatic and portent though.
Let’s look at all the joyous, saddening, surprising, victorious, distressing and breath-taking moments of our old neighbor. Obviously, all the events can’t be included, below are only the major events that occurred in the 12 months belonging to the above categories.
Heartrendingly, the first renowned and infamous event of 2013 was a stampede that occured in Ivory Coast, New York on January 1st during the New Year’s celebration. (Yet another reason to not jump up and down when you hear ‘New Year’).
Thousands of people had come together to witness the spectacular fireworks. An expectation and a smile was pasted on everybody’s face as they welcomed the New Year. It wasn’t long before the smile was replaced with confusion and agony. The stampede let to the death of a whopping 60(all of whom were mostly teenagers) and 200 rescue operators were injured. Atleast in the year ’15, stay at your homes with your families, watch the big ball droppin’ popping in some popcorn sitting on your comfortable couch.
It just keeps coming, doesn’t it? A gigantic and malicious asteroid travelling and screaming with enormous velocity exploded in Chelyabinsk, Russia on 15th of february. This disastrous explosion generated a bright flash, followed by the meteor fragmenting itself into innumerable meteorites and a powerful shock wave. It was as heavy as it was huge. It weight a tremendous 12,000-13,000 metric tonnes(heavier than Eiffel tower!).
And as expected, sadly, around 7200 buildings were brought down to pure debris due to this impact. This is the largest known natural outer space object to have entered, and more importantly survived till the end since the 1908 impact. But no need to panic, these kinds of meteorites are not impossible, but very, very rare.
Good news! The 266th pope was crowned on 13th of March. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio(with a pseudonym Francis) from Argentina breaks a trio records by becoming the first Jesuit pope, first American pope, and the first pope from Southern Hemisphere! I’ve always wondered how a Pope is elected. It seems as soon as the demise of the existing pope, around 15-20 days later, after all the mass celebration is over, a conclave meeting of cardinals is called upon (Strangely the pope elects the cardinals, and inturn the cardinals elect the succeeding pope- A fair quid pro quo i’d say!). There is a rule that if, even after 30 ballots there is no conclusive result, the majority sufices.
During each ballot, the cardinal is made to write the name of his choice on a rectangular card and drop it in the chalice. After each voting session is over, the cards are burned. A special chemical is used to make the smokes white or black.
Black signifies inconclusive vote, white the vice versa.
Spoke too soon i guess. Here is another agonizing event. Marathons have become greatly popular these days. Hundreds of spectators gather around to watch the pumped-up participants run along the backbreaking 42.1kms. You can actually expect a lotta things to go wrong during a marathon. A runner might fall down due to exhaustion causing a collapse, a stampede might occur, or worse come worse, even an earthquake can be expected(hopefully that didnt happen). But nobody expects a bomb blast. That too from a pressure cooker!
This cruel bombing killed 3 skilled athletes, and injured more than 250 innocent spectators. But all didn’t end in vain. The animals responsible for this massacre were captured and thrown behind bars.
Hear, o’hear. The scientists are here.
And they’re back with a bang! A huge mind-blowing bang!
Cloning of human stem cells, which, 15 years ago, a far-fetched dream emerged into a tangible reality on 15th March. A biomedical revolution. The fascinating technology of cloning can cure ailments ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease.
Its been nearly 17 years since Dolly, a sheep, was cloned. And now this method was aped to make the first embryonic stem cells from just skin cells.
For all these years, a method renowned as nuclear transfer was used for cloning a variety of animals. But imitating out character, our cells-human cells- continued to stubborn and remained immune to this method.
A true medical miracle. Tip o’ the hat to Shoukhrat Mitalipov.
This month politics joins the game!
Iam sure everyone of you(especially from africa) would have heard about the 2013 june Egyptian army outburst. Literally the President of egypt was forced to resign by the public and army comrades. On june 30th, the millions of protesters took to the streets, and demanded immediae resignation of the incumbent President because of his authoritarian ruling and oppressive law-making.
Ofcourse, where there is a yin, there is a yang! Where there are opposers, there are supporters. There were ugly and violent clashes between the duo. On the eve of july 3rd, President of egypt was taken (more like napped) by the army to an undisclosed location. His supporters staged a protest, and subsequently, they were met with the wrath of the army. More than 1000 died in the crackdown. Finally, Morsi gave in and resigned.
Its a bit ironic. Banks are places that lend us cash when we’re penniless. They are literally the supplier of money. But yet, everyday the business section of newspaper is splashed with the ugly word ‘Bankruptcy’. And the biggest and most infamous one in US happened last year in july.
At its height of industrial power, Detroit(Michigan), it was an irrepressible engine of the American economy. But on 19th, the once mighty symbol of nation’s manufacturing power, tumbled and fell from its pinnacle to a financial ruin. Its by far, the largest municipal bankruptcy that had taken place, estimated at a whopping 18 billion!
This decline didn’t happen overnight, it was slow and menacing. And the aftermath was disastrous. Many were laid off, assets sold, fees raised, etc.
But right now they are tirelessly and wirelessly building it up to bring back its past glory.
On july 7th, i.e, 7/7/2013, Andy Murray ended the 77 years of british hunger by claiming the Wimbledon championship game!
When we hear ‘Chemical weapons’, we think of war. Nuclear wars. And ofcourse that brings the heartrending image of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to our minds. But Syria has proved that wrong. Last year, the Syrian government was accused of concealing many chemical weapons and worse.. using them.
But of course, the US cannot permit this! Obama drew a red line on the usage. But what do we like more than disobeying rules? This red line was tested when Syria deployed poison gas to attack civilians near Damascus.
You can never feel like you’ve had enough(except for when its food). People crave for more. And when they get it, they crave for even more. Its a human tendency. 2013 was not one of the best years for the giant technical wizard Microsoft cause we humans tend to own compact things. And PC’s and laptops just weren’t compact anymore, not as much as tablets and smartphones. Neither was it for the flourished mobile network company Nokia. So both of them after discussion, mingled together. Cause u know, two wrongs make a right.
And surprisingly, its true. After they got together, Nokia, went literally from no phones to 7.4 million smart Window phones last year. True, Nokia Lumia Windows 8 didn’t have as great a hit as Samsung last year, but its thriving to prove itself. And with the back support of Microsoft, it just might do it.
Ironically, US economy is one of the worst economies in the world. They have ample amounts of debt yet to paid(especially to China). This has been proven time and again. Recently, touching the extreme, in october, there was even a possibility of government shut down.
My favourite month of the year!
World Chess Championship month.
Against the two unrelenting legend: Norway challenger Magnus Carlsen Vs Reigning Indian Viswanath Anand. The great match took place in Tamil Nadu, India. Being an Indian and a chess enthusiast myself, my support was for Anand. But sadly, Carlsen, won in the end. It started out well with both of their tied till the 4th game. But then the nail biter started with Carlsen winning a successive number of matches and finally ended at 3.5-6.5. And he deserved it. This Norway legend is the upcoming future of chess. But at the same time, we should not forget Anand who owned the title for a spectacular 7 year period.
India launched its first Space rover Mangalyaan to Mars on Nov 5th. It carried the dreams of 1.23 billion along with it. Let’s pray it reaches and lands safely.
2013 may have started in a crappy manner. But it sure as hell ended with a happy and victorious note.
China launched its first moon rover mission. A Long March rocket carrying the Chang’e 3 lunar lander blasted of at 1:30 am on december 2nd.
But, contrasting to this tone of news, the demise of Nelson Mandela shook everyone for a minute around the world. This politician cum lawyer cum activist cum philanthropist who served as President of South Africa will always be cherished and remembered.
Every year is unique on its own. And am sure every one you have long lasting rooted memories that happened in 2013. But we can’t hold on to it forever. Its like a kite. Lose the string. And hope for a new better one.