Take the best parts of 2011 along, into 2012!

Take the best parts of 2011 along, into 2012!

* Ten years and eight movies later, it was time for Harry Potter fans to say goodbye. The 8th and final movie from the series, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows-Part 2’, came out, and just like the 7 Harry Potter films before it, went on to become one of the top earning films of all time. Here are the stats. The Harry Potter series is the highest grossing EVER, having earned $7.7 billion across the world. Each of the films, on their own, has made it to the global list of TOP 35 films ever.

Emma Watson was only 10 years old when she, along with hundreds of other girls, auditioned for the role in 2000! Now, post Harry Potter, she’s done the BBC series ‘Ballet Shoes’ and is in the film, ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ which is due out in 2012. Rupert Grint was only 11 when he auditioned for his role as Ron Weasley. Both Emma and Rupert had only ever been in a school play before! Only Daniel Radcliffe had any experience in front of the camera.

He had played David Copperfield in BBC’s film of the same name, but he wasn’t interested in auditioning for the role of Harry Potter! David Heynman, the producer of the Harry Potter films, was in London scouting for his cast. While at a theatre, he happened to look behind him and found this boy with big blue eyes sitting in the row behind him. It was Daniel Radcliffe, whose parents then needed a lot of convincing before he could even take the screen test!

*  In an interview with CNN IBN, Bangalore golfer Aditi Ashok’s father mentioned that Aditi’s entry into golf was a “pure accident”. The family had gone for a meal to the Royal Orchid, which overlooks the KGA golf course on the old Airport Road in Bangalore. The game looked interesting so the whole family walked across the road to learn more. Aditi was only five years old then! And has since gone on to make history.

Among Aditi’s many records and firsts are:

As a 13-year-old, she won a professional tournament, edging out veteran Smriti Mehra in the third leg of the women’s pro tour at the Global Greens Golf Course in Bangalore. In the process, Aditi became the youngest amateur to triumph in a pro event. Just in case you are wondering, the term ‘amateur’ in sports means you are not playing for money. You only accept trophies, and if you play in a Pro (where winners take home cash as prizes) tournament, you get to keep your winner’s title but give up your cheque.

As a 12-year-old, in early 2011, she also became the youngest Indian to represent her country at the Queen Sirikit Cup. She has represented India in a number of international tournaments in the Asia Pacific, often as the youngest on the course. This month, she also was the youngest girl to emerge victorious when she defeated Vani Kapoor at the Ladies All India Amateur Golf Championship. Best of luck, Aditi. Hope 2012 is even better!

*  For science fans, 2011 has been the beginning of what promises to be great fun …the Google Science Fair. In July 2011, Google launched its first Science Fair, inviting kids from all over the world to participate. Over 10,000 kids from 91 countries sent in their projects over the Internet. Sixty semi-finalists were selected and then 15 finalists made it to the Google headquarters in the Silicon Valley, California.

The winners from all the 3 age categories were American, all of them were girls and two are of Indian origin.

Seventeen-year-old Shree Bose from Fort Worth, Texas, who won the grand prize, submitted a project that involved groundbreaking work on how to prevent the human body from building resistance to a cancer drug. Shree’s prize included a cheque for $50,000, an all-expenses-paid 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands AND a trip to Switzerland to check out CERN’s particle physics lab.

Naomi Shah was the winner in the 15-16 year age group. Her project was on how pollution affected the lungs, especially those of asthma patients. Lauren Hodge who won in the 13-14 year age group is fond of her food for sure! Her project came up with the finding that when meat is marinated in lemon juice or brown sugar before being grilled, it cut down the number of cancer-causing elements in the meat – compared to soya sauce marinades, which increase the cancer-causing elements in grilled meat. 

*  Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. He’s the man who put ‘a 1000 songs into your pocket’ by launching the ultra-clever iPod. In the process he changed the way we all listen to music. We no longer buy entire albums when all we like is one song from it. So we go to the iStore and buy just one song. Or exchange songs with friends on the Net.

He’s also the man who made animation movies so much more cool. He bought up a studio called Pixar Animation and we got to watch classics like ‘Toy Story’ (1, 2 and 3!), ‘A Bug’s Life’, ‘Monsters Inc’, ‘Finding Nemo’, ‘The Incredibles’, ‘Cars’, ‘Ratatouille’, ‘WALL-E’ and ‘Up!’

Way, way back in the 1970s, long before you were born, he was part of the team that brought out the first desktop computers, the Apple Macintosh. So we are all going to miss him. Will the iPod, the iPad, the Apple Mac and the Pixar animated films continue to be the best in the business without Jobs? We’ll have to wait and watch.

*  For cricket fans (which basically means most of India), 2011 will always be remembered as the year India won the ICC Cricket World Cup after a gap of  28 years. Capt Cool, M S Dhoni, and his boys made history. So, obviously there were many adrenaline-soaked, remarkable moments. How often do we see the heads of state from India and Pakistan watching a match together? It was a tournament that saw Yuvraj Singh showcase his many talents to emerge Man of the Tournament.

Dhoni was outstanding as a captain, taking some gutsy and audacious decisions that paid off. And dear dependable Tendulkar proved why he’s considered a National Asset. Now, our expectations from the Men in Blue have gone up. I’m sure 2012 will be just as eventful.

* Any movie buff feeling low about the end of a fabulous series, can cheer up…Tintin is now in the hands of Steven Spielberg! The movie, which had all Tintin and Captain Haddock fans chewing their fingernails, has gone on to become the highest-grossing animation movie ever, in India.

A drunk sea captain, a newspaper reporter, a little white dog and a pair of bumbling Scotland Yard detectives have won Indian hearts. The movie has beaten ‘Shrek’, ‘Finding Nemo’ and a host of other animation classics that did well in other parts of the world. And the movie is still running…and probably will, well into 2012. Hard core Tintin fans did grumble a bit about Professor Calculus being absent in this movie, but hey! There are going to be more Tintin films. Remember, before he passed away, Herge sold the film rights to Spielberg, so let’s sit back and wait for the next one.

Here’s a chance to save the planet, actually do something from your long list of ‘New Year Resolutions’ AND, have fun in the process

Are there times when you hate to throw away a nice calendar that you’ve used through the year? Well, don’t.

Here’s what you can do:

Get yourself a pair of scissors; some nice coloured paper, a glue stick and a fine marker pen. AND, of course, your calendar for 2011.

Cut out paper to cover just the dates on each page. Stick it on, and re-number each month, making sure the dates begin on the right day. You will notice that 2012 begins on the day after it did in 2011! Also remember that 2012 is a leap year (the Olympics are going to be held this year) so February will have 29 days.

So you start the year with a lot of Green Credits. Not only have you recycled paper, you’ve also recycled the ‘lettering’ on the calendar…using last year’s, S, M, T, W, Th, F and S; as well as last year’s months! Now didn’t that cut down a lot of hard work?

And doesn’t that study desk of yours look cool?

You could take this idea even further, by changing the entire theme of the calendar! Stick your own pictures on both sides of the desk-top calendar.

Here are some ideas:

*Print-outs of family photos are a great way to keep the calendar ‘personal’.
*How about animal pictures cut out from only old newspapers and pasted onto the old 2011 calendar?
*Pictures of school activities?
*Your favourite cars, again, only cut out from newspaper or magazine ads?
*A Shah Rukh Khan calendar of your own? Old film magazines, in any case, go to the ‘radhiwallah’.
When you put on your thinking cap, you’ll come up with even better ideas!


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