A very popular quote has been circulating through social media during the year 2020. Quoting in verbatim, I am leaving the interpretation to the readers and their fine sense of judgement.
“I thought 2020 would be the year I got everything I wanted. Now I know 2020 is the year I appreciate everything I have”.
On March 23, our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the crucial decision to lockdown India. Not all of us were comfortable with the decision. Within days, we started mustering the strength to cope with this homebound environment. Our commute ranged from grocery to basic health care only. Much to everyone’s prediction, online courses and MOOCs started keeping all of us busy. We wanted to access it all and become better than others. But that is what the status quo demanded.
One of the essential requirements of the lockdown was to practice self-care along with caring for your loved ones. Caring for your loved ones is the short and silver opportunity for those who live away from homes for their job, education, and livelihood. With no industrial and manufacturing work in place, over a hundred thousand people were seen on foot travelling on the road to reach their native places. These people were not justified with the care and response shown initially. Later on, we learnt how to deal with this issue too. Public Policy schemes ranging from Aatmanirbhar Bharat to PM Street Vendor’s Scheme (SVANIDHI) were executed to tackle with the migrant and hawker issue.
2020 could not really have been the worst year in the area of reflections and observations towards life. All of us had a lot of time to think and reflect upon our life. As I write this, it’s December 31. Will we really forget 2020 and forgive 2020? No. We do not have Alzheimer’s and not all of us are Jesus. What then makes 2020 different? Definitely a thought to ponder upon.
A flurry of social media posts shows people cooking Italian to Taco Mexicana. Agriculture, the most overstressed sector of the Indian economy, showed positive growth. In fact, our backbone sector was the only support system that did not let the economy drift into a complete coma. The advanced sectors like services saw a lot of attrition.
People who did not have the time or opportunity to bond with the family and relationship had the right strength to work on it. Understanding other’s point of view also became our source of peace. There was hope.
Work from home, a privilege and a rare chance given to employees, became the established norm. WFH showed three different contrasts; Your productivity actually rose; you started doing more work than your desk job; you had your family and puppy around, not your boss. There was always good channelling of positive vibes.
We also learnt to help and donate money with our good benevolence. Sharing skills and teaching yoga and mind control over internet calls became our to-do lists. Friends used to throw tantrums over not coming on their birthdays, but now we share the joy by cheering birthday wishes in front of our laptops and opening champagne bottles. We became better and more mature. Frustration did add to our woes, but we did not let it overwhelm us with agony. Thanks to the phases of ‘Unlockdowns’ in India.
The ancient principle of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam‘, All world is one family, came into being actually in 2020. India was seen as exporting medicinal essentials like Hydrochloroquine. Mission Samudra Setu, an Indian Naval mission to repatriate Indian Citizens was also seen helping other citizens the world over. An underdeveloped country like Kenya was seen tackling the pandemic in a better manner than the U.S. The major thing that bothered us all is the ongoing ‘Shadow Pandemic’. The magnitude has risen during 2020. How can we expect to grow in the 21st century with the mindset of the 19th Century? Where did we miss?
But there is a better world out there. The vaccine is not the answer to all our prayers, becoming vigilant about taking precautions and caring for those in need is the golden hope.
The “take away from 2020” matters. Did I work on my problems? Did I become better? I had 365 days, What did I do? Did I start understanding my parents and siblings better? Did my relationship mature?
Before ending the next 10-12 hours of this last day of the alleged worse year, we need to reflect on these questions.
Migrants were a socioeconomic problem, but today, they are very important to tie India culturally with the knots of fraternity and secularism. Climate Change is not just a topic anymore, we have the right opportunity to do a ‘Factory Reset’ settings on the way we live and consume things from nature. Harmony is best suited when we know the right things to do. Jaw-Jaw over climate change will not do any of us good. We need to act and as Former Japan PM Shinzo Abe said, we need to be more resilient.
2020 is not the year you should put in the ‘Not to discuss’ pile. It is the year of seeing the world differently and much more vividly.
Once you know the nitty-gritty of the last 365 days, you will view the year’s timeline in a more nuanced manner.
May I pray for those who have lost their lives in this pandemic, and may I strongly hope that our doctor gods and goddess are healthy and joyous. For if they did not sacrifice their happy hours to work hard and become doctors, we would not have survived this long.
Dear 2021, If not best then at least be better for us.