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2023, rewind, fast forward

Updated on: 31 December,2023 04:59 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rahul da Cunha |

ChatGPT and climate change dominated the chat.

2023, rewind, fast forward

Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul Da CunhaSo the end of 2023 is upon us… much has happened—as is the norm in India, and of course, across the globe. Here are the highlights for me this year—trends that commenced in these 12 months… and will continue, unabated. Here’s my A-Z

A: Artificial Intelligence became the buzzword, a sign of the times, who needs creativity when it can be copied, who needs to abide by copyright rules—well, the New York Times sued Microsoft Word and OpenAI for using its content. Dumbing down needs to have a price.

Animal, the movie, started a dangerous trend, “beat a woman up, insult her, shoot people mindlessly”, found credibility and sanction, making it the highest grossing film of the year! The Archies, in stark contrast, was a tepid comic book rendition of our memories.

B: Barbenheimer. For the first time two movie names were combined, our penchant for portmanteaus. One was a film about a blonde bombshell and the other about a bomb. A box office battle became a pop culture bromance.

C: ChatGPT and climate change dominated the chat.

D: Deepfake videos made a creepy appearance—a shallow attempt to “photoshop” mischief, began with someone putting actress Rashmika Mandana’s face on someone else’s body.

Delulu is the solulu” became a viral sensation—delulu means delusional and solulu is solution—stay positive when things seem tough, adding to Gen X’s need for everything to sbe shorthand.

E: Elections, elections, elections, The Elephant Whisperer.

F: FIRs. Everyone’s sentiments were hurt all the time—by everything, songs, scenes in movies… FIRs were filed in police stations across the nation.

G: Gaza the strip, stripped clean of her integrity, pride, land mass—and so Israel was fast asleep, Palestine poked the bear, vengeance followed, the bombing continues, the atrocities continue.

H: Hall of Fame for Vijay and Leander, Hanging Gardens closes.

I: Influencers, the age of influencer. And oh yes, intolerance reigned supreme.

J: Jagger came to town.

K: Khalistan returned, Justin Trudeau stayed true to form with his mistrust, Killing of the Flower Moon, Scorcese’s masterpiece.

L: “Looking like a wow” was the phrase of the year.

M: Matthew Perry passed, Manipur burned badly, Meitei vs Kuki-Zo. Moon landing via Chandrayaaan 3, Mumbai Indians replaced Rohit with diva Hardik, who is now sadly Agony Ankle, Moye Moye the viral TikTok K-pop meme… everything is now a meme.

N: Naatu Naatu succeeded at the Oscars while NATO failed to put a lid on Russia.

O: Oxford Dictionary for signing off on “rizz”, “Swiftie” and “situationship”.

P: Pathaan, SRK’s return, pollution, a new Parliament opened, the new Parliament was attacked, serious security breach.

Q: A Qatar court dropped the death penalty for 8 navy sailors.

R: Rizz, was Word of the Year, RRR was talked about the whole year. 

The “Rat Miners”, heroes of the Char Damm rescue, when all else failed, burrowing through the rubble, saving the 41 trapped workers—their reward… a paltry sum of Rs 50K for each of the 12, the cheques duly returned with a thanks but no thanks—“We took risks way beyond that”—trust the men in charge for it to be so graceless.

S: Sinead O’Connor breathed her last, Sylvester daCunha breathed his last.

T: Tina Turner breathed her last, Taylor Swift breathed life into teen music, spawning the term “Swiftie”.

U: Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, will not go away, the war won’t end—the Israel-Palestine conflict has taken centrestage, pushing Ukraine to the background, but Ukraine exists, Ukraine persists, relentlessly in our rear view mirror.

V: Vicky Kaushal rocked as Sam Maneckshaw, Virat Kohli kept breaking records. 

W: Women wrestlers grappled for self -respect against a boorish wrestling chief in the same year when the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed. Sakshi Malik retired from the sport, Vinesh Phogat returned her Khel Ratna and Arjuna awards, beti bachao lay in tatters. 

The World Cup final loss to the Kangaroos, impossible to recover from, 10 straight victories only to falter at the final hurdle.

X: The new Twitter.

Y: Yemeni rebels control the Red Sea.

Z: Zzzzzzz- I’m off to sleep.

Happy new year, dear reader, thank you for reading.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at

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