What a year was 2020! The Covid virus caught the world in a pandemic early on, stayed and disrupted life, work and health. It’s far reaching impact was felt on many fronts -social, economical, mental and physical. The sudden displacement of migrant workers, a rise in key workers like medics and therapists, governments globally engaged in fighting the virus, and anxiety of job losses created tense moments. It was remarked that this generation had not experienced a World War 2 type recession or calamity, thus unequipped! It dawned that we lived in a materialistic, consumerist, millennial society. Climate change, communal disharmony, Brexit, US Elections became other news, COVID news was far bigger! Oxford dictionary admitted it had ”too many words of the year” to choose from: Coronavirus, lockdown, social distancing, BLM (Black Lives Matter), facemasks, keyworkers, unmute…the list is long. How did the year and the virus change your life?
From news desk blogging: It’s my 5th year with over 160 posts in different categories. Market narratives, recipes and crochet and quilting kept my creative juices flowing. Each year-end, I adopt a different writing theme. Year 2020 is in diary format. For other themes See here for 2019, see here for 2018 and here for 2015.
Writing a diary during my school days was like having a dependable friend! It provided a way to pour teenage feelings onto paper, to converse with oneself, without any intruders. My diary often had colourful sketches, a dry leaf or flower collected from a Nature walk stuck in with rudimentary poem making. Later, as a primary teacher, I often set aside first 10 minutes of Monday class for diary writing. Initially some children used to just stare at the wall or paper, not knowing where to begin, but eventually they began to scribble random thoughts, that got better with practiced reflection.
Virginia Woolf, a prolific writer talks that ”It is the habit of writing for my own eye which is a good practice, it loosens the ligaments. Never mind the misses and stumbles.” Author R. K. Narayanan meticulously wrote his diary on a visit to Rockfeller, that later became a famous book. Gandhiji’s grand niece Manu (Mridula) was taught how to maintain anecdotes, till Manu got comfortable about writing a diary at the Seva Ashram. And haven’t we read the diaries of Anne Frank and Kafka?
Photo courtesy: Dear diary – Learning potential.au
The slight chill of winter lingered and we treated ourselves to warmth of woolen shawls and cups of ginger chai and peanut ladoos or sweet treats. We watched the white fragrant flowers on our guava tree that finally gave its first fruit. As the first month unfolded, there was excitement and anticipation about a baby’s arrival. We would grandparents soon, yet again, and we made our travel plans.
For a winter market, written in 2014 see here
Filtered news of a Chinese virus that had travelled to the USA soon became world news coverage. First European country to succumb was Italy, who lost many an aged life, and the grim situation soon led to closures of business and public places. In India, schools, offices and domestic travel were still functional.
A week long yoga retreat in Uttarakhand was indeed a treat to savour sattvic cuisine and do meditation and discourses along the banks of flowing Ganga river. A visit to the local market to buy wool and jaggery turned out to be perfect blog food. see here.
The COVID virus is HERE!! Lockdown in India and other countries. Our travel plans were cancelled, airports closed, safety measures at hospitals and public places created some disruptions. Early warnings of health announcements created anxiety among people. Economy crippled, Indian cities saw a huge problem of labour migrants stuck in cities, away from hometown and without jobs and food. Rich or poor, COVID did not spare any country, any people! Solidarity events like lighting candles and torches from balconies, and another day of music with bells, gongs, conches, plates helped awareness and hope all over the world, creating a new global harmony. War not among humans, but against a virus!
“Every adversity brings opportunities”… Winston Churchill.
Transformation, change and adaptation were key to survive. The demand for internet connectivity surged. Virtual meets, WFH, online classes, Webinars using ZOOM, personal videos flooded social media and work. Paid for classes became Free courses…as the world looked within yourself. Healing, keeping hope alive, communicating virtually became the need of the hour. Spiritual discourses, story telling, music lessons, Mandala workshops, Art as therapy bloomed online. In Balinese Nyepi is time to ponder, meditate and take time to see the little flower bud blossom, or a child smiling. Social media and newspapers screamed beautiful photos of sunsets and birds on trees, as Nature was happier with man locked inside!
See here for an earlier blog on Orange.
Summer in India is celebrated in its own way… arrival of juicy mangoes, making lemon and ginger pickles and downing plenty of yoghurt to keep the body cool. This year mango business slumped due to lockdown. Push cart peddlers, mini vans and Amazon delivery flourished. Lockdown brought the markets closer to home. Arrival of a baby in the family brought us joy, though virtually. Instead we prayed not only for our family bonds but for the medical personnel, health workers, and for those in less happier moments. Gratitude for what we have in hand, mattered most! Locked in gave me plenty of time for spiritual readings as well as reading up my older posts. Mango recipe blog here.
Here comes the seasonal monsoon. Time for a Haiku or sketching whilst raindrops made melodies on the trees and puddles on the street. The call of mating birds, a garden bursting with worms and caterpillars offered a alternate respite. The virtual world became the ‘new normal’ work from home (WFH) had some initial exciting moods that later brought it own woes of house space restrictions, orderliness and maybe longer hours string at the screen. Webinars and events on Zoom spurred creativity and innovative use of technology. In such locked in moments the importance of a hobby can be a great stress buster.
A blog on crochet/hobby see here
Ahhh…everyone is tired of the same talk …Corona Virus! Preparation for the oncoming festive season Navratri, Dussera and Deepavali raised hope and interest. I too felt the urge to get out of home, visit an open air outdoor market. Never before were face masks and sanitizers seen in public places, other than hospitals. Read here for my market visit Rythu or Farmer’s Market at Alwal, Hyderabad
Onset of the festive season, heralds a big shopping spree in India. This year was different! Malls and shops hardly saw customers. Instead online shopping even by the elderly was in demand. Rural weavers and wooden toy makers were caught is a spiral of technology learning and selling their products online to customers. It brought a tremendous change in perspective, handling and adapting to the technology. Interestingly, many a youth at home encouraged and helped bringing about socio-economic change.
Read here for a lack lustre festival Navratri .
November & December:
Participated in lots of story telling events online on FB and ZOOM platforms, telling stories of Akbar and Birbal, Nature and growth, festival stories and honing skills to tell in mother tongue. I also told stories to rural children with the NGO http://www.food4thought.org (read my volunteer experiences on their blogsite http://food4thoughtfoundation.org/2020/10/19/integration-of-curriculum-in-story-telling-virtual-joy-of-reading/). Telling and listening to monthly story swops at HYSTA ( Hyderabad tellers) is a good way to hone my skills and meet other tellers. I organized my first online fundraiser storytelling event, with volunteer tellers and raised a good amount for http://www.Chandramauli.org. Located in Kashi (Varanasi) the organization takes in children from less economic backgrounds to teach them Vedic chants, yoga and Sanskrit. A wonderful Children’s day with Gurukul children interacting with children and adults in the audience, exchange of stories, asanas and mudras.
That’s all and an early goodbye from me to you wonderful readers. I have new plans for my blogging journey in 2021. Do write to me your personal stories at email@example.com and check here for details.
” Lifelong learning helps us to stay sharp and healthy as we age, and is also good for the society we live in“
Hoping to welcome a new golden dawn 2021, filled with cheer and good health for us all.