As we end the year, there are many lists and recaps that we come across. But if you are like me, you’d like to end the year on a positive note, looking ahead with hope and resolve, and not looking back with sadness or what-ifs. The power of the fourth estate in impacting our state of mind is ever-increasing. While it may seem that there’s nothing but bad news when you look at any news platform, I am happy to notice that a lot of these platforms have started to specifically call out the good news every day.
Here are some stories that gave me hope this year. Hope they make you feel good about the year gone by as well.
It’s been a good year for women’s empowerment. And nothing symbolised that more than the #MeToo movement. I know that at the core of this was a deeply disturbing issue of sexual harassment, but what gave me hope was the power of shared experiences, the power of raising your voice against harassment, the power of the media—social and traditional—in making an impact on real issues. While #MeToo was playing out on social media, women (and men) were boldly coming forward against powerful men who had exploited them. It remains to be seen how they will pay for what they have done in the court of law, but in the public eye, they stand exposed and stripped of their laurels—and in some cases, out of work. The online and offline movement have together had a domino effect that I hope will continue to punish and deter others.
A royal announcement
Who doesn’t love a royal wedding! When Prince Harry and his actress girlfriend Meghan Markle announced their decision to marry, it gave us all a reason to smile. While we are all looking forward to the festivities and fun of the royal wedding, there is one more reason this nuptial gives hope—Meghan will be the first person of mixed racial heritage to join the royal family. Diversity and monarchy are usually not something you read in the same sentence, and that is why this is so important.
Lessons from La La Land
One of my favourite movies this year was La La Land. The music, the story and the performances were all stellar. But more than that, it was a movie that gave us a lot of points to ponder over. The lesson to never give up, breakthrough could be just around the corner. The lesson that success comes when you really believe in something and dare to be different. The lesson that we should always look to do something that creates an impact and not just do something for the sake of doing it. These were just some of the take-aways for me. I’m sure there were more.
Cheering India at Women’s Cricket World Cup
Yes, this is a women’s empowerment story. But this is also a story of us Indians growing our repertoire of things to appreciate. For the longest time, women winning at anything was something that happened under the radar—one small headline in a corner of the sports page. The Women’s Cricket World Cup final, however, became the most watched women’s sporting event in India, with 19.53 million television impressions. Even though India lost by 9 runs, the Indian team members, especially the captain, Mithali Raj, became household names. It just goes to say that the Indian audience is maturing, and accepting as well as expecting diversity.
Little-known but impactful
The Delhi smog has been one of the biggest newsmakers of the past quarter. But not far from Delhi, in a little town in Himachal Pradesh, a 17-year-old school boy, Jai Chand, has taken on a mission to plant a billion trees—yes, you read that right, a billion. Starting with his school premises, he spread his efforts to his village and then to a wider area. Seeing the effects of deforestation in the area, Jai decided to take matters into his own hands and embarked on this mission. While he has a long way to go before he reaches the billion mark, Jai’s initiative gives me hope for the future of our country and our planet.
The fact is, that stories of hope are all around us—these were just a handful. Of course, this was also the year when we celebrated our 25th Anniversary, an occasion to celebrate, look back at how far we have come as a firm and, and then look ahead with renewed commitment to continue pushing boundaries. But even if that weren’t the case, the choice is ours—whether to focus on the negative or the positive. It’s easy for us to get pulled down by the negativity, especially when as communicators we are faced with a challenging environment in which to convey our message. So, it’s even more important to look hard for all that is making a positive impact, and learn from it, so that we can spread positivity too.