It's that time of the year again when we look back at the 'year that was.' And agonise over who might be worthy of the title: 'Person of the Year'.
Time magazine - the guys who invented the concept - just chose U2's Bono, along with Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.
"For being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow," were the reasons given by the magazine .
One of the other 'persons' who made it to the shortlist was Mother Nature. In light of the tsunami, earthquakes, Katrina and other unusual natural phenomena shaking our world, a strong case indeed. But not one providing any inspiration or hope. You can't tame nature, can you?
But you can celebrate the good being done by mere mortals. Especially those who 'are not the people you expect to come to the rescue'. As the essay accompanying the mugshots elaborates:
Rock stars are designed to be shiny, shallow creatures, furloughed from reality for all time. Billionaires are even more removed, nestled atop fantastic wealth where they never again have to place their own calls or defrost dinner or fly commercial. So Bono spends several thousand dollars at a restaurant for a nice Pinot Noir, and Bill Gates, the great predator of the Internet age, has a trampoline room in his $100 million house.
It makes you think that if these guys can decide to make it their mission to save the world, partner with people they would never otherwise meet, care about causes that are not sexy or dignified in the ways that celebrities normally require, then no one really has a good excuse anymore for just staying on the sidelines and watching.
Offbeat choice but eloquent justification. I buy it!
This morning, the Economic Times also announced its 'Person of the Year'. No, not Manmohan Singh or the Ambanis or any of the usual suspects. It's Abhishek Bachchan.
Granted, a pink paper does not have to select a businessman to 'capture the new spirit of confidence that's emerging across India Inc and represents the spirit of 2006'. But the connect they've tried to make between Aby's career and Indian business is well, not that convincing.
"So, why is he on top of the heap these days? Because he worked at it. And that is our connection with confident new India of 2006. None of these companies had it easy (care to elaborate "which companies?"), they faced competition and hurdles ("doesn't every company, and every individual?"), both nationally and internationally, and had to overcome their small-town image ("maybe in the year 2000! With India now the acknowledged hub for IT and outsourcing... what are they talking about??)
This part is more well reasoned.
"An Indian company becoming a global leader? AB Baby becoming a hot stud? Yet it's happened. With some luck and a lot more professionalism, hard work and sheer grit..."
Very true but 'hard work' and 'grit' are such boring cliches. Isn't it also about being in the right place at the right time? A number of factors have come together to script the 'emerging India story'. A youthful demographic, burgeoning middle class, low-cost worker advantage etc etc.
Same is the case with AB jr. Shahrukh turned 40 this year. India needed a hot new, 'youth' star. Aby finally started working with better film makers. And he decided not to shave.
ET credits him with 4 'hits' this year: Bunty aur Babli, Sarkar, Dus and (strangely enough!) Salaam Namaste - in a cameo.
Yes, Abhishek was outstanding in B & B and Sarkar. But both films were painstakingly crafted in all departments - whether subject, script, cinematography, music or art direction. The star's success was born out of working with the right people and the right projects.
Just like business mostly is.
There's a lot more one can dissect but my fingers hurt from typing. No, the article is not yet online (today's ET is available online only tomorrow you see)
"When Aby Baby rocks, India rolls..." says ET. For those still looking for their cool, offbeat, under-30 'person of the year'...
"When Sania serves, India lurves..."
"When Mallika reveals, India squeals.."
"When Irfan takes wicket, India buys ticket "...
The possibilities are endless!