New Delhi, Dec 30: Memories are strange. We remember what we want to celebrate, rest we stack up together neatly in a pile and throw them in the mind's dustbin to be retrieved later, if at all necessary.
The Indian media is no better, every year it goes through the infamous "trip down memory lane", recollecting and chronicling everything that mattered the most in a year about to get over.
But such lists of important personalities, events and hits and misses often ignore the deep, personal stories, emotions, and feelings of individuals. Instead, it's all about powerful politicians, businessmen, policymakers, institutions, and establishments.
As if in a country of 1.3 billion people, what matters is only what a few politicians, Bollywood stars, sportsmen and anyone and everyone the media calls celebrities eat, drink and how they make merry.
That is why you will never come across stories about the dimly-lit neighbourhoods of Delhi, the bustling Brigade road of Bengaluru and the serene Brahmaputra river flowing through the 'heart' of Guwahati.
It is for the same reason, nobody would ever dare to honour in those glossy year-ending coverage your favourite school teacher who taught world history and simultaneously gave you life lessons to stand up for your rights even in the most adverse of situations, or the garbage collector of the municipal body who cleans the nation's filth, or the chaiwallah (not the most powerful man in the country, but the real one) who in the December chill keeps your senses warm and functioning.
Trivial issues, as editors like to say, have no space in special series. In the process, you will get to read outrageous headlines like--Year-ender 2017: Five biggest newsmakers of Bollywood, 2017 year-ender: The battle of the voice assistants and Year-ender 2017: Top conversation starters on Tinder this year, to name a few.
It is really futile to ruminate on whether Tinder helps find love or not, but the app seems to have swiped the 'right mind button' of editors who decided to look into what helped start a conversation in the virtual world in 2017.
But is it just the media who is to be blamed for hiding behind a glossy facade of a crumbling India? Are our politicians, not guilty of committing the same crime?
Perhaps, the lack of empathy of the political class towards the public is worse than what the media's is guilty of doing to its readers/viewers.
The selective condoling of deaths by the heads of the nation, selective stoking of emotions on Twitter/WhatsApp by the troll brigade unleashed on us, selective appeasement of gods during poll campaigns are all part of the great political tamasha we got to see in a deeply divided nation in one of the worst years in recent history.
As the year ends, and the media gets busy compiling top 10 lists, I wonder what if those who plotted and executed some of the most mind-numbing crimes of the year, are making a list of top 10 lynchings or top 10 rapes to celebrate their top 10 electoral performances?
Sorry to end the year on such a grim note. Hopefully, we will have reasons to celebrate next year by this time.