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A love-hate letter to Year 2020

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This time will be remembered – 12

By Sunita Vijay

Dear year 2020,
Although absolutely nothing about you warrants using the salutation ‘dear’, yet when I rootle around in the sea of traumatic memories you drowned us with – a peculiar bunch of stark and undeniable blessings-cum-lessons too gleam through.

I have no qualms in spurting how happy I am to bid adieu to you. I understand that farewells are meant to be made memorable. It is a time to share pleasantries with the one who is leaving. But I am sorry to confess that you have been the year I would never like to visit again. The deadliest nightmare, more painful an experience than even a Shakespearean tragedy, a witch’s brew of endless loneliness, fear, anxiety, uncertainty and hopelessness – you were befitting enough to bring about a ‘Great Mental Depression’. The niche carved by you in history will remain the horrific chapter I would always hate to read. If you were a movie, I would have switched you off within half an hour into it; as a story, I would have detested you. You turned out to be more dreadful than fearful dreams, more horrendous than worst fears and more unpleasant than any grisly experience. The mundane expectations, all fell flat. Within a few days of your entry in our life, life sucked. You Zoombombed us!

2020 – You looked impressive, numerologists called it ‘angelic’, but you gave us no reason not to call you devilish. The charming bearing you owned betrayed the trust brutally. We were yet to lay an aspirational strip for a joyful journey with you when we were caught on the hop by COVID-19, the notorious pathogen you befriended. Hats off to your smartness, you didn’t even let the virus’s name tag with yours. For times to come it will hold the label of being the sin of 2019, whereas all the woozy-whirly happened in your tenure. I wish you realise, what a meddler you roped in to attack mankind – invisible, contagious, unpredictable, malicious and cruel. The first time in my life I feared meeting humans. Shaking hands, socialising and travelling came to a standstill. With an experience of little more than five decades on planet earth, I rate you the worst year – a true example of promising exterior, but rotten interior!

If I start counting your misdemeanours, you will stop dead in your tracks. Countless days since we have been condoning your loathsome temperament! You took many lives, you created circumstances for people to die by suicide. You raised the consumption of anti-anxiety pills. You made people aloof, many lost their jobs. Kids missed the opportunity of attending school and colleges. You stalled travel plans. You may never realise how much pain you have caused, that too of varying intensities across populations, economic sectors, and demographics. Businesses failed; the plight of migratory workers brought jitters down the spine. You brought the world on its knees!

How hard we tried our best to get rid of your ‘beloved’ pal. We lit lamps; we rang bells; we tried lockdown, we prayed; we turned to naturopathy; we became gardeners, bakers and chefs. We revived our lost hobbies. We indulged in many activities to ward off anxiety but failed. Interestingly, the most cursed tool, the internet, came in handy to keep us connected with friends and family. ‘Zoom’ witnessed a meteoric rise in stock-prices – the rare sector that you let bloom. Pharmaceutical companies, both fake and genuine, turned into goose that started laying golden eggs overnight. What a lopsided attitude!

Despite experiencing such dread, we faced all oppression bravely, expecting that we would sail through somehow, and this time will pass while constantly wishing for a breakthrough. Before packing off, you were kind enough to show a speck of light at the end of the tunnel through vaccines, yet even a silver lining must be reduced to a sliver by you, for we still don’t know how long immunity will last! And lately your chameleon friend has turned more spiteful.

Despite bringing in a pandemic and the world’s biggest economic slump since the Second World War, you’ve been a conducive petri-dish for innovation and science. You’re the year when scientists sequenced the genome of SARS-CoV-2 within weeks, and made light-speed progress in presenting vaccines. You made many of us spiritual. We asked ourselves what matters most in life. In some, you activated dormant ‘human’ traits. You made us realise the importance of family, good health and hygiene, to admire the smallest of joys, to appreciate life each day, not only to live but be alive each moment. The importance of freedom, crucial role of nature, importance of caring for Mother Earth, that life can be good with minimal possessions; you have made it very clear. Many women discovered that they look good without being groomed and pampered in salons. Children and office-goers once cursed Monday mornings, now yearn to be back to work. You made us admire what we already possess. You have shown us the mirror as well as our dark shadows. Gratitude should be the best attitude is what we have learnt late but clearly. All thanks to you!

My earnest request to you, as you go – pass with grace and let us welcome your successor with positive mindset and optimistic outlook. May you stay on mute forever, socially distance yourself from us, be gripped by the worst brain-fogs and get covidiot-ed by your best friend – the villainous virus! May this goodbye to you bring an end to the quarantines, the doomscrolling, the bubbles, and the super-spreaders. The trails of your ill-favoured deeds may not leave so soon but my sincere prayers to God to bring joviality through 2021.