Saturday, December 31, 2005

23:59:60- The Extra Second

An extra second will be added and the end of today to compensate for the slowing down of the speed of Earth’s rotation and in effect the year 2005 will be a second longer. Clocks around the world which usually switch from 23:59:59 to 00:00:00 will this year have an intermediary second 23:59:60 before the time officially proclaims the arrival of 2006. The year 2005 like any other year has been remarkable in its own way, and for eternal optimists like me an extra second of this eventful year will always be welcome.

The year 2005 saw many achievements, disappointments, great joy, tragedy and unique events which like the unique events of any other year made the news. As early as January 14th, robotic messengers from mankind reached and left their imprints on Titan the moon of Saturn, when the Huygens probe landed there. Billionaire Steve Fossett in March set the world record by flying solo, non stop around the world. Back home, countless people in the south eastern states of India suffered the aftermath of the Tsunami from the previous year. Elsewhere in the world, on January 20th, the most powerful man in the western world was re-inaugurated as President of USA for his second term. His common sense and subsequently his popularity took a major nose dive ever since. “Scooter” Libby and Karl Rove proved to be more qualified as weapons of mass destruction than those George W Bush was looking for in Iraq! In Iraq, Saddam Hussein no longer sat on the golden throne, but in front of a Judge who was going to try him for his crimes against humanity. Meanwhile back in India, “foreign hands” of Paul Volcker found large oil deposits near the Indian cabinet and Natwar Singh was drowned in the oil, thanks to Volcker and a songbird called Aniel Matharani. Cameras sprouted fangs in 2005 when "sting" operations caught many members of parliament with their pockets open and brought shame to the democratic system.

2005 also saw many noteworthy events in world of Indian sports. Greg Chappell became the coach of the Indian cricket team in May and a lot of hidden skeletons popped out of the dressing rooms. With accusatory letters, injured middle fingers and a lot of positive grit, Chappell has been instrumental in making the once lackadaisical team and bureaucracy, battle fit and head strong. Rahul Dravid became captain and Saurav Ganguly faced some humiliation, but did have a weak last laugh by getting a berth in the team he had been thrown out of as captain. Sachin Tendulkar shook off his tennis elbow and came back to score his record breaking 35th test century. Also in the world of cricket, the English beat the Aussies to re-capture the Ashes and from the Ashes rose the new stars of English cricket, Kevin Peiterson and Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff. In the world of ladies tennis, 2005 saw chubby, nose ring wearing Sania Mirza’s rising star and rising hemlines! She not only did battle with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova in major grand-slams, but also fought off old mullahs and the fake morality brigade in India with equal panache.

Terrorists and extremists had a field day of a year. Iraq and Baghdad saw daily bomb blasts and France burned for a few days because of racial tensions. Terrorists tried to dampen the spirit of Diwali by bombing busy markets in Delhi, but failed just as they failed in dampening the spirit of Indian intellect by attacking the jewel of Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Science. Ecstasy for Londoners of being selected to host the 2012 Olympic games turned sour when on July 7th, London faced its real terror attack when a few terrorists blew up parts of the subway. The earth too did its bit of terrorism when it shook violently in the early hours of October 8th in North India and Pakistan killing countless people. While hurricane Katrina revealed the ugly side of USA, the rains submerged Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.

Harry Potter faced the biggest tragedy of his fictional life, but the book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was the greatest entertainer for many of his die hard fans. A few steps behind, Daniel Radcliff who plays Harry Potter in the latest movie The Goblet of Fire, became the most sought after teen star in the world. Back in India, Amitabh Bachan came back as host of "KBC dvitiya" but suffered from a major illness and underwent surgery. Aishwarya Rai may have been one amongst the judges at the Cannes Film festival, but it was Mallika Sherawat with a poor, unsuspecting Jackie Chan tied around her fingers that made the eyeballs rolling. Maharashtra state banned bar-girls from dancing in provocative clothes but they did not lose their employment as they went on to dance in skimpy clothes on every one of the actor Emraan Hashmi’s movies. One thing that was not unique to 2005 was the number of celebrities who broke up and the number who tied the knot, booking appointments with the divorce lawyers for the future. Speaking of lawyers, they played a mojor role in the acquittal of the once king of pop, Michael Jackson of all charges, but the event made the "smooth criminal" permanently leave not only Neverland but also the US of A. 2005 also bid a few legends of Indian Cinema a final farewell; Amrish "Mogambo Khush Hua" Puri, Parveen "Sizzle" Babi and Ramanand "Ramayan" Sagar departed for celebrity heaven.

The world of medicine saw the threat from bird flu and scrambled to find cures and elsewhere unscrupulous scientists botched up reports about significant research into stem cell development. Science saw a good year with the new dual core processors ruling the roost and mathematicians solving hitherto unconquered puzzles. Ipods and PodCasting became a rage and Google shares rose to make many millionaires. Blogging became more mainstream and a lot of controversy hounded the Indian blogosphere. With the new news channels & new news papers, with new mediums of spreading the word around, the media in India became much more interesting. 2005 saw the launch of the world's largest passenger airplane, Airbus A380; the year also saw the newly named "Indian" taking the baton from Indian Airlines.

2005 has been a good year and although the rotation of the Earth may have slowed down, time itself has set a blinding pace. Alvin Toffler, in his book Future Shock indicated that more has been achieved since 1800 than that was achieved since the beginning of civilization, and on similar terms a lot more has happened in the year 2005. If the world has slowed down to give mankind an extra second in 2005, I would be very glad to grab it to do that little bit more. Utilize 23:59:60 to the maximum extent possible since, as the headline of this web page says the second will be very unforgiving.

“To fill the unforgiving minute [or second] with sixty seconds [or milli-seconds] worth of distance run…”


Anonymous said...

Cool blog. Sums up 2005 with a touch of humour...much needed indeed :-)
Keep your style of writing.

Anand Rao said...

Hey People, Please dont leave anonymous messages!
I would like to know who the readers are.. so please mention your name at the least!!


Jonas said...

Nicely summed up! :)

And good blog! Like your content-driven posts and lucid language...

Anonymous said...

nice writing man!i didn't know u were that good.quote lucid.keep it up

Anonymous said...

i think u should start putting all ur blogs together in a book!

Anand Rao said...

Guys... Gals... Thanks for the comments... but please please do NOT leave anonymous comments... i would like to know who leaves these comments.. just a name would do! PLEASE

Anonymous said...

Seems that u are too interested in journalism!!Anyway,nice job!!Write some jokes too!!

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