This year has given us a lot to be concerned about, and the passing away cult pop singer George Michael and Star Wars actor Carrie Fisher in just the past couple of days, preceded by the death of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on December 5, and other global stalwarts such as David Bowie, Fidel Castro, Prince, Muhammad Ali, among many others have left us mourning.
Add to this the growing intolerance that has swept the social media space (in recent weeks, the illogical and ridiculous hate messages for Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan’s newborn Taimur or the moral policing of cricketer Mohammad Shami and his wife just because she wasn’t wearing a hijab), then there were the atrocious attacks in Istanbul and Berlin, the heartbreaking images and ‘last calls’ from refugees in Syria — yes, 2016 has been quite hard on us.
But it wasn’t all bad. A scan across stories in the social media space itself throws up some positive instances that not only restore our faith in love and humanity, but also give us a reason to smile and look forward. Be a UP girl from a poor family graduating from IIT, a Nepalese grandfather who started going to school or a real-life love story that found completion after decades, 2016 has also inspired us in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible.
Take a look at some of the most positive stories of 2016.
1) Sushma Swaraj can easily be called the queen of Twitter India for 2016
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made sure she helped people who reached out to her on Twitter. Through the year, she has not only rescued Indians from conflict zones but also helped a man unite with his wife for their honeymoon after she lost her password a few days before flying. The times she has helped people includes safe departure of Pakistani girls from India amid the tension between India and Pakistan after Uri attacks, making sure the a Jodhpur man tied the knot with his fiance from Karachi and a son reaches home in time for his father’s funeral. Not even a surgery deterred the politician from doing her job. She is undeniably the queen of Twitter India for 2016.
2) Photo of Haryana policeman doing duty barefoot in heavy rains goes viral; inspires many
Rakesh Kumar, a policeman with the Haryana police posted in Sonipat, Haryana, India worked on the streets, barefoot, in the middle of heavy rains. The policeman said that he only has a pair of boots and had to go to work the next day as well and he’d rather not get his shoes soiled and wet. Read the full story here.
3) US first daughter Sasha Obama working at a restaurant during her summer break is inspiring
It’s applause-worthy that 15-year-old Sasha Obama gave up the comfort of the White House and took up a job at a seafood joint in Massachusetts during her summer break. Her job at the joint called Nancy’s on Martha’s Vineyard reportedly included waiting the tables, maintaining cash register and helping the restaurant prepare for lunch. Read the full story here.
4) This Gurugram woman started a kulchha-chana thela to save her family from financial crisis
Urvashi Yadav’s life changed when her husband, primary bread winner of the family, met with an accident and quit his job. To financially support her family, she set up a kulcha-chana stall in Gurugram’s Sector 14 market. Yadav is a graduate, a loving wife and a doting mother of two. Read her full story here.
5) It’s not a baby, it’s my heart on the floor: Pune working mom’s Facebook post goes viral
Pune mom, Swati Chitalkar, shared a moving Facebook post narrating how her kid was unwell with fever but she brought him to work and took care of him there. Though she would have probably preferred to care for her child at home, but there were pressing matters at work and she just had to go. Many applauded the mother on balancing her duties as a mother and as a conscientious bank employee. Read her full story here.
6) This love story of a Hindu, Muslim couple proves that love knows no boundaries
Mahajabeen Patel couldn’t marry the love of her life because she was a Hindu and he, a Muslim. The two got married to different people and moved on. But as fate would have it, both got separated from their respective partners and met again. To tie the knot forever. Read the full story here.
7) This 69-year-old grandpa from Nepal goes to school everyday
Durge Kami, who lives in Syangja in the Himalayan country, studies in tenth standard and looks no less than a promptly dressed 15-year-old school boy. e cooks before he gets ready. The bearded grandpa, then combs his hair, ties his belt and then gets going to read and learn. Read his full story here.
8) Karnataka chaiwala offers 30-min free Internet for just Rs 5 a cup
Twenty-three-year-old Syed Khadar Basha of Ballari, Karnataka, came up with a brilliant plan to give free Internet to his customers for 30 minutes. Basha provides unlimited Internet for just Rs 5! The formula is simple, buy a cup of tea and he hands over a coupon with the Wi-Fi password that’s valid for the next half-an-hour. Brilliant business idea? Read the full story here.
9) This old man who saved a girl from being harassed by drunk men is a total hero
The photographer from Humans of Bombay came across an old cabbie who has been driving for the last 35 years. Years ago, while driving, he saw a couple of drunk men following a girl who was walking from the bus stand to her home. Because it was 12:30 in the night, there weren’t a lot of people on the street. The man suspected they might wrong intentions so he started honking, which alerted the guys and chased them away. Read the full story here.
10) Watch: This little elephant rushing to save a man from drowning is the sweetest thing to watch
The adorable baby elephant – identified as Kham Lha – tried to save his favourite human Darrick when she thought he was drowning. The video shows Darrick thanking her and the duo hugging each other in joy. Watch the video here.
11) Woman sold her mangalsutra to build toilet in her house
Lata Devi Diwakar from Kanpur sold her mangalsutra, the sacred thread given by husband on the wedding day, to build a toilet in her house. Diwakar sold her piece of jewellery because she thought toilet was more important. “Toilet is a basic necessity, compared to jewellery and so I sold them. Didn’t get any help from the government.” Read the full story here.
12) Pune woman brings the Internet together to buy ATM security guard new bicycle
Tanvi Jain, a Pune resident saw an ATM security guard frantically looking for his lost bicycle on October 1. In a Facebook post, Jain wrote to people in the city requesting them to donate a spare cycle for the man, who was almost in tears trying to find it. Within just three days, the security guard got a brand new cycle, thanks to the Pune girl’s Facebook post. Read the full story here.
13) In a beautiful farewell gift, collector drives his chauffeur to work on his retirement day
District collector of Akola in Maharashtra G Sreekanth gave a parting gift to his driver that he may never forget in this lifetime. Reversing the roles, he drove the 58-year-old Digambar Thak to office on his retirement day just ahead of his farewell celebration. Beautiful, isn’t it? Read the full story here.
14) From selling newspapers to graduating from IIT, this UP girl has come a long way
Meet Shivangi. She is a girl from Deha village, about 60km from Kanpur and used to sell newspapers and magazines with her father. She worked hard, got into IIT and now has a well paying job. Read her full story here.
15) The four-legged protectors: 4 stray dogs save baby girl in dumpster in Bengal
Four dogs found a an infant in Purulia district of Bengal, sat in guard and protected her from crows and patiently waited for help. Later, the baby girl was found by neighbours. Before she was brought home before taking her to the hospital for initial examinations, her rescuers followed the people to his home and ensured she was okay. Read the full story here.