It has been 20 years since Joanne Kathleen Rowling released the first book of the Harry Potter series — Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — on June 26, 1997. All those kids who ardently devoured the story of the young wizard boy back then are in their late 20s or early 30s now. For Potter fans, celebrating the two decades of the book is an emotional experience as well, for it more or less defined their lives, broadening their imagination and inculcating reading habit in them.
Twenty years seem like a long time on the calendar, but in the mental time frame, everything seems like yesterday. To put you in perspective, we bring back some incidents from 1997 to refresh your memory on how the world used to be back then, an era sans selfies, smartphones or social media.
The 90s would have been less colourful sans the songs of The Backstreet Boys. It was on 1997 their fourth single, “Quit playing games”, got released. You could have even listened to that song when dealing with a your first heartbreak, as if those lyrics were echoing your exact thoughts. Perhaps listening to it will bring back to your mind how silly you used to be back then.
Do you find it hard to believe it has been twenty years since Aishwarya Rai made her Bollywood debut? The beauty queen’s first Hindi film, Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, was released on August 15, 1997. Although the movie didn’t fare well at the box office. the petite beauty with hazel eyes won the hearts of the people, and so did the song, “Meri Sanson Mein Basa Hai”.
It was also the year of Dil To Pagal Hai, a romantic musical that said ‘someone somewhere is made for you’. Rahul and Pooja’s love story stays fresh in our minds all because of those melodious songs. Perhaps you should watch the Yash Chopra movie again, and see how your perceptions have changed over the years, and realise how you have grown old over the years.
1997 had its share of pain as well. Princess Diana’s life was cut short on the wee hours of August 31 when the speeding car she was travelling hit a tunnel in Paris, while being pursued by paparazzi. The tragic death of the beautiful, compassionate, people’s princess at the age of 36 shook the world.
A week after Diana’s death, on September 5th, Mother Teresa, the founder of Missionaries of Charity, passed away at the age of 87. Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life for charity, was often addressed as the ‘living saint’, in honour of her humanitarian works; she was declared a saint by Pope Francis last year.
One of the greatest movies of all time, Titanic, directed by James Cameron, was released in 1997. The movie amassed 11 Oscars, and launched the careers of its young leading stars — Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Most of us have watched the movie multiple times, and 20 years on, still might be wondering whether Jack could have survived.
Remember Deep Blue beating Garry Kasparov? In the man versus machine battle, the then World Champion Kasparov surrendered to IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue in 1997, the first time ever a machine bettered human mind in chess. It was their second duel, and Kasparov combated an upgraded Deep Blue that year. The latest version proved to be too tough for the Russian to subdue. It was a remarkable milestone for the artificial intelligence research. However, the match had its share of controversies too, as Kasparov accused Deep Blue team of cheating and demanded a rematch.
Pokémon made TV screen debut in 1997 following its huge popularity on Nintendo Game Boy after its launch in the mid 90s. Fast forward 2016, people were walking around with their smartphones in real world hunting Pokemon, after the reality game Pokémon Go went viral.
It was also the year that marked the second coming of Steve Jobs to Apple Inc. Jobs was forced to quit the company he co-founded with Steve Wozniak in 1985, following a clash with Apple’s then CEO John Sculley. Jobs then started NeXT computer, which was later acquired by Apple in 1997, paving way for his re-entry.
Twenty years back, Rabri Devi sworn in as the first woman chief minister of Bihar in a surprising aftermath to Bihar’s fodder scam. She succeeded her husband Lalu Prasad Yadav, who was forced to resign following the corruption allegations. The move shocked many, as Rabri was a person who never was involved in active politics until then, not to mention her lack of sound educational background.
Now, Nobel Laureate and young activist Malala Yousafzai wasn’t even born when Harry Potter entered our imagination.
Simone Biles, the phenomenon, was only a three-month-old baby then.
And, our dear valiant Arya Stark, Maisie Williams, was only two-months old then.
Does this list make you feel old suddenly? (Image courtesy: AFP)