2020. The year of so many firsts.
The first time we learnt to like a lot of things we hated.
The first time we realised everybody on earth is an equal.
The first time families stuck to each other like glue, 24/7 for almost a full year, locked up in the house, with nowhere to go.
The first time we were all worried sick about contracting the Corona Virus and dropping dead or being grateful we were/are alive.
The first time we realised that cohabiting with the spouse/partner/kids/parents for months on end, is not that bad a thing.
The first time we actually felt grateful for having all that we do.
And the only time, we realised there is no greater boon than the internet, which kept us all sane.
Now, while there is no knowing when we will all come out of this abyss; there is hope that the vaccine is near abouts and perhaps, our old lives will gradually come back to us.
But in a year of so many firsts, perhaps the most important takeaway we all had, is discovering our alternate selves!
I had no idea that along with writing, my second passion could be cooking. After years of burning up food, I metamorphosed into a relatively good chef; the kinds to rustle up a seven course meal, all on my own. Not too bad, what say? It was also gratifying to know one could just as easily metamorphose into a teacher, a nanny, a supervisor, a house manager, primarily a manager of everybody’s moods, as all were taken hostage inside an area called the house, with months and months to go and no relief in sight. I realised, I can take all that pressure. Whew!
What’s been your saviour this lockdown? How did you keep sane and would you have discovered this side of you, if you weren’t stuck at home, with no escape route, like you were starring in some bad mix of a sci-fi and horror movie? I’m sure we have all had our moments or epiphanies, at this time.
Chefs, painters, writers, singers, musicians, sports freaks, gardeners, sculptors, potters and yes even dishwashing experts, crawled out of our sleeping bodies and took over our alternate egos. So,yes, everything hasn’t been that bad! Unless of course, you want to be judgemental and call out the lockdown alcoholics, which many of us became guilty of! Food addicts, too, if you please, since staying in, means eating a lot. A lot.
For parents, it has been an even more unusual year when we got the classroom inside our houses, to see the brilliance and tantrums of our kids, both at the same time, as they struggled or were on top of their game. Making faces at us at times or hugging us with their adorable hearts as we sailed side by side with them. Similarly, teachers learnt to take classes with hawk eyed parents looking over them and some clever parents were all gung ho about helping the kids cheat! Never a better year to up your child’s grades.
But not everyone has been happy about staying home; ask those with fulltime jobs whose lives have been taken over completely by the computer. They’ve had to work day and night with weekends and holidays lapped over each other and supervisors telling employees they should be grateful about still having their jobs. Slave drivers were the new bosses in 2020.
So many firsts and yet as this year ends and we are about to usher in 2021, are we going to be bitter about a ‘wasted’ year in which we could have achieved so much and instead were cooped up at home; or shall we be thankful for all the limitless family time we had? Of course the social isolation has been hard, of course there has been a certain amount of Covidoxic uncoupling too, that is spelling breakups and divorces galore, post Covid 19. And if we go by surveys, domestic violence was up, by many degrees. At least that’s what reports say! And yet, would you be bitter or thankful? It’s absolutely an individual choice.
I, for one, will confess to having the Stockholm syndrome, that is making me embrace this slow, very slow, inner life where the mundanity is seeming normal and the predictable daily cycle is beginning to feel nice. The flipside? I will probably need rehabilitation to get back to my old life.
The day doesn’t seem very far away when we will probably be picking up where we left off, in March 2020, when the doors closed on us. Now, perhaps the government will offer a double dhamaka, with a Covid vaccine and some coaching classes in social niceties, since a lot of us have forgotten how to behave in public!
Wishing you a better 2021!