Stranger Things
The MAN|December 01, 2021
Leaking toilets in outer space. A fictional crime fiction writer. A shot of radioactive booze. Was 2021 the weirdest year ever?
Bijoy Venugopal
THERE have been weird years in the history of the world, and then there’s 2021. Far removed from the public eye, unfazed by the second wave of the pandemic and a rumoured third, the world continues to be a place where oddity turns the head.

Consider Jayamangali in Karnataka, a sanctuary for blackbucks. Here, graceful spiral-horned males spar to win the fleeting love of a bevy of tawny-skinned does. For as long as most people can remember, this flat landscape of grasslands has been dry and arid. In a spate of strange weather that deluged the southern subcontinent with the highest-ever rainfall recorded this century during the northeast monsoon, something happened that had irrigation officials scratching their heads. A long-lost river born of two seasonal streams — Jaya and Mangala, giving Jayamangali its name — has risen from the dead, and is gushing merrily for the first time in three decades. Funnily, those who wrote off the river had built roads and homes along its course, and now it’s payback time. Did someone say thank heavens for that?

Talking of heavens, what’s common to astronauts and babies? Diapers!

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