Yes, all of this happened in one year and not over the course of the past two decades.

Dalogona coffee Kokilaben and Go corona chant in a stylised picture
Features 2020 Wednesday, December 23, 2020 - 17:18

Ranking films, music albums, and political events that shaped a year may have been the staple about five years ago but year-ender lists are not complete without moments that went viral on the internet. While putting together this list, we’ll admit, it did feel like we were summing up the events from at least two years. The anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests that took hold of India during the months of January and February 2020 seemed like it happened so long ago. By the time we were looking at the viral memes that took over the internet following India’s ban of Chinese apps in June 2020, it felt like a year had passed.

Then there was the most shocking exposé by Kokilaben (Mein thi, thum thi, kaun tha???) in August 2020 but this was not before people had their fill of banana breads and cups of dalagona coffee by April 2020. Yes, all of this happened in one year and not over the course of the past two decades.

Stay with us until the end of this piece as we look at some of the most viral moments from this year.

Anti-CAA, NRC and NPR protests

The year 2020 began amidst protests and chants of people dissenting against Indian government’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). The period of unrest saw protesting groups gathering en masse at different parts of the country from Delhi to Chennai, from Hyderabad to Mumbai and dominated Indian news right until pandemic struck in March. The Kolam protests that had its roots in Chennai gained widespread traction across the country. Notably, Hum Dekhenge, a Urdu poem by Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz in 1979 became people’s war-cry and was translated into regional languages.

Also read: Dissenting with Faiz: How 'Hum Dekhenge' has been adapted in protests across India

No country for young Karuna

We’re now in March, just a few weeks into the pandemic. The virus is new and the pandemic is thought to be some sort of a misunderstanding, nothing that a simple one-on-one could fix. Chants of “Go Kaurna, Karuna go” ranked the streets, a simple, decent request addressed directly to the… uh… virus. Union Minister Ramdas Athawale is the creator and composer of this sensational (Coronawood chartbuster, if one may go that far) and catchy tune then became the anthem against the virus. This video of the Minister along with Chinese Consul General in Mumbai, Tang Guocai, ironically, went viral on the internet. It called for several remixes and DJ-mixes that went equally viral.


Bang-bang (clang-clang)

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was doing all he could to defeat the faceless enemy who had invaded the house. From banging pots and pans and clapping from balconies, then to lighting lamps, PM came up with activities that were not weapons against corona but perhaps gave bored and stressed-out Indians something to do.

Eat, pray love: 2020 edition

Talking about pots and pans, lockdown forced people to eat at home but people pushed back at this restriction hard, and how? They whipped up coffee that made frappe look like coffee on a diet. And who needed patisseries when banana bread and sourdough bread and what not could be handcrafted and handmade at home? 2020 will also be remembered as the year that most of us spent the longest hours in the kitchen but more importantly, we did it all together.

Also read: Dalgona coffee to Insta bingo: Trends and challenges that keep us going in isolation

Guardians of the galaxy in “viral” helmets

To keep people in their homes, during the lockdown, cops came up with ingenious ways. Most popular among them was Chennai-based police Inspector Rajesh Babu’s corona helmet, designed by artist Gowtham. The picture of him stopping bikers, scaring them off roads was widely shared even among international publications.

Honey, I banned Chinese apps

In June, when Chinese troops breached Indian border in a stealth attack, the government responded by banning several Chinese apps. From Tik Tok to Shein to WeChat, Club Factory and more, more than a 100 apps were banned, changing the lives of many. The internet, for a few days, was flooded with viral memes.

The major Kitchen exposé

Who was in the kitchen? Was it you? Was it me? Who was in the kitchen?? This popular clip of Kokilaben, a character from the popular Hindi soap opera Saath Nibhaana Saathiya, busting her daughter-in-law’s plan to make the cooker burst with an intent of hurting another character on the serial finally got its due several years later since it first aired. All thanks to musician Yashraj Mukhat who set this to a catchy tune.

Also read: Who is a Kokilaben, what is a Rasoda, and other Hindi Twitter stuff explained

A glitch in the Matrix

Earlier this year, actor Rajinikanth's fans had had enough and so they spent their energy in making posters that would send a message directly to their star — “Ippo illati eppo?” (If not now, when?) (Not to be confused with the Vijay-Trisha song from the film Aathi). So in December, Rajinikanth had no option but to respond. “I will announce the announcement of my official party on December 31,” he said. Wait, didn’t that happen in 2017? (Matrix theme blares in the background).

PS: Of course, IPL 2020 and US Presidential elections had their own share of viral moments, but the list would only keep getting longer. 

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