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Shehnaz Gujral Wednesday, November 25, 2020

2020 is truly the historical year which made us dance to the tunes of Covid-19 on the hairpin turns and roller coaster delirious rides. It has been a year since every being on this planet is confined to limited recreations and commitments. Quarantine and social distancing are the words which have enriched the vocabulary of all and sundry. From number of cases and recoveries to death toll; all such statics have become a part and parcel of our lives. Year end is bringing a streak of hope with pharmaceutical companies in a tight competition over the manufacturing and success rate of the Vaccination.

Does this anticipation not give a visual imagery of an Oasis in the desert land and we, the tired parched travelers wishing to drink the purest water? It sounds romantic but yes! It is everyone’s yearning to be free from this new normal unchaperoned confinement and get back to the maddening rush of our own world. This countdown similar to the New Year countdown, has instilled high hopes of the end of the Pandemic.

The million-dollar question which bothers me more these days is, if the Old Normal and the New Normal are going to baffle us? Some of us have adapted well to the new defined barriers and entries of a restricted lifestyle. Never the less, we have felt the pain of loosing our near and dear ones, bidding last farewells on Zoom meetings, mourning and prayers in the virtual world. Agonizing waits to meet our elders and children who are in a distant land. Financial losses, termination letters from place of work, plight of migrant workers, working from home with hardly any training to match this race of so- called smart world updating our skills to match the soft skills of the virtual life.

Have we fruitfully used this lockdown year making some memories in terms of relations and self-care? Running miles and miles in mind, we would often forget to pause and reflect. Enclosed in the four walls of our haven has been a blessing in disguise for many. We all had the time to repair and prepare our forgotten ipseity. Culinary skills, Gardening, Yoga, Aerobics or Writing; did we try our bit? For many, extended families in different continents met frequently on group calls and strengthened the ties. It made people feel connected and made them understand that distance is just a perception. Dial-a-meals, fast and junk food, fine dining replaced home cooked cuisines and healthy food. Retail therapies seldom impressed the minds. Minimalization wasn’t the new coinage though learnt very late. Air was cleaner, surroundings greener adorning flora and fauna, which was somewhat like a picture seen in a kindergarten rhymes book.

Students struggled to attune to the classroom within the blue screen. No School assemblies, short breaks, P.E and Library classes, corridor pranks, dispersal gossips and picnics. Studies with expectations from teachers and parents. Teachers scuffled to teach in a virtual classroom with screen share instead of board and marker. Inchoate learning trying tools never tested or tried. Work from home was no less than between a rock and hard place. Toddlers in lap, whistles of pressure cooker, fumes of burnt vegetables in the wok, meowing and barking of pets was the office culture which ran 24 x 7.

Since life must move on cherish the memories even in the gloomiest of days. Is the glass half-empty or half-full? We as a human race have learnt the lesson that nature is all powerful, have we? And, that, we are transient travelers on this land. We crawl, walk and lastly run to chase the mirage. Exalt the glories of the Supreme and contribute our bit in making this ephemeral life a better place for all.

An English teacher with an experience of twenty plus years. She is based in Kuwait for the past fifteen years.
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