Positivity, optimism, zest – these are emotions that took a backseat or lost their meaning, and at times, bonded the entire world in 2020. A look back before we take a step forward closer to 2021.

The Corona Virus took over the real and virtual worlds in 2020. News, hashtags #covid19 #corona #staysafe #stayathome #workfromhome, #WFH and so many more on social media, news and jokes on WhatsApp, a shared feeling of the highs and lows, nostalgia… it hit everyone with a bang – in stages, or all at once.

The world came to a standstill.

Many lives lost the battle with the tiny virus. Politics, economies, families shattered and reframed in many ways. Job losses, Coronians (another newly-coined term), divorces, beautiful and ugly realities came up to the fore. We’ve reached a stage where we all have been touched by the wrath of the virus – directly or indirectly. However much we wish, neither can we wish away COVID19, nor can we erase 2020. With some hope and trepidation – we step closer to 2021. But there are no guarantees about the year being much different – or for that matter, even being much the same.

Yet – one last look at 2020 reveals a lot:

Homecoming: Yes, with schools going online and offices encouraging ‘work from home’ – family units learned to live more ‘together’. We all learned how easy and yet so difficult bonding with family can be, how ‘used to’ we have become to our own space, and how much there is that we can do without! For some, it was hard. Like being caged in. For others – a homecoming and reunion of sorts.

The Bonding Trend: We’ve had Whatsapp and Google Chat, Facetime and Zoom for a while now. But this year, these virtual tools became a highlight bringing together lost and far-off friends and family. I have had multiple class reunions and a planned reunion with my teachers from the 10th grade this month! Why, I even attended my cousin’s wedding in the US and met up with all my relatives during the ‘sangeet’ – all while looking gorgeous in my Lehenga and jewellery at 6:00 am (no one knows about the track-pants and crocs that remained hidden while we sang and chatted away on Zoom across 3 continents.

Savings: Surprise-surprise! No trips abroad. No hectic socializing and shopping. Didn’t any of you sense a slowdown and a respite from all the running around? For those who didn’t save, I’m sure they diverted their funds more logically to more urgent issues – like getting rid of that dripping garden hose for a new replacement, perhaps changing the old sofas and interiors… online!

Being humbled: That’s a big one. This virus humbled humanity.

A sense of community and a stronger bond with Switzerland: Swiss, Indian or a blend – not traveling abroad, living within confines of a neighborhood, shopping for the elderly in my community, being a helping hand and seeing the support and appreciations in the eyes of friends and family is a big motivator! I am sure many of us would have felt it.

Tech-savvy – all of us, even technophobes have come to grips with the changing world – online shopping, online coffee meets, Skype meetings, Zoom video conferencing… whether we liked it or not – we all are doing it.

Can’t not mention the breathing skies, the nature turning it’s clock ever so slightly back with all that pollution gone for a bit – however short-lived that was.

Opportunities: Look around you – people are following their dreams – to study, to get fit, to pick up a long lost hobby or develop an all-new one!

Just being home – being safe despite the world getting lop-sided… there is a sense of relief, a feeling that all is well, and will be well. Neither can we delete 2020, nor can we erase it – but what we can do – is learn from it… Learn what is essential, real, needed, valued and cherished. Thank our lucky stars…

I have a deep sense of gratitude that wraps me in a warm blanket as I end this article – with one look at the pristine white snow and twinkling Christmas lights outside…

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