Dear Friends and Readers:
Wishing you and your loved ones, many blessings in 2012.
2011 has been an unforgettable year. The year began with the story of one individual, the attempted assassination of Gabby Giffords. The year ended touching each one of us in personal and significant ways and we were not silent. We expressed our hopes, desires, and frustration through many mediums. In March, the earthquake off the coast of Japan, caused a tsunami so powerful and the nuclear crisis so devastating that in the end 15,842 people died, 5,890 were injured, 3,485 were missing, and over 125,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed, some of which are now showing up of the coast of Hawaii.
Later one man in Tunisia, seeing no future and no power to make changes, set himself on fire and began a revolution with a clamor to reclaim control for democracy and change in the Middle East. It has now touched millions of people – with unprecedented self-expression, using technology as the medium. Country after country in Europe indicated financial trouble, sending shock waves to the stock markets. The Occupy Wall Street protests rocked the Western world as millions came pouring out, upset over the lop-sided scale where 90% end up with the raw end of the deal, even as the rich are getting richer, with the gap between the rich and the poor at its highest level, in last 30 years.
And finally, even as many rejoiced over the deaths of tyrants like Osama Bin Laden and Kim Jong Il, entire world mourned the death of Steve Jobs. Living through 2011 was like living through many lifetimes. Much happened and much remains uncertain – how will history judge the protests in the Middle East and OWS protests? Will the nascent democracies in the Middle East sustain and grow in a secular fashion; how will things shape up in Syria and Iraq in the days to come; when will we get to pre-economic collapse level of unemployment; will anyone fund budding entrepreneurs or they will become a dying breed; will India’s anti-corruption movement begun by Anna Hazare, sustain; will stock market show some level of stability? 2011 leaves us with many questions and wide open future of possibilities!
Personally, much happened in my life in 2011 and some of the personal things I have shared with my friends. To share here, the highlight of my year was a beautiful trip to Spain, with my daughter, who makes a wonderful travel companion. I loved Cordoba’s beautiful Mezquita, where the original Islamic area is well preserved and blended beautifully with the later built cathedral, to create the most wonderful piece of architecture. The Islamic area represents the simple Moorish majestic architecture reflecting the equality among all men and God was more accessible and stands in sharp contract to beautiful and ostentatious enormous catholic chapel, where God is at a distance instilling fear and guilt. In Toledo, we saw the amazing metal workers pouring over little details of swords, knives, and other metal souvenirs and in Valencia, we did the touristy stuff. Absolute highlight was the visit to Alhambra in Granada, where Moorish king Boabdil was driven out of his palace, among the last Islamic holdouts, by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and as he left weeping, his mother is said to have remarked, that he was weeping like a woman for what he could not defend as a man! Barcelona is fun, fun, fun! Alternating between choosing among 459 flavors of ice creams and enjoying Gaudi’s creations (La Casa Mia, Park Guell) was a lot of fun and seeing beautiful geometric forms, at Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, was simply amazing. Also amazing was 135,000 square meter of Palacio Real de Madrid where tourists are allowed to see 50 of its 2800 rooms, each with unique and absolutely stupendous décor. It was an unforgettable trip.
Finally this year, in tune with the year’s theme of self-expression, I also started my blog and already have posted almost 100 entries. It has been fun writing book reviews and movie reviews, my amateurish poems (including the one on my recently fractured toe), and share information on biomedical news and of course share job postings which (fingers crossed) are showing an uptik. My life is full with book clubs, friends, theater, parties, jet-ski trips, hikes, girls’ nights, karaoke nights and more. Stay tuned and I will continue to share through my blog.
At times hopeful, and often stressful, 2011 was not a boring year or a silent year! Hope you all enjoyed the ride in 2011 and wish you the best in 2012.