What does one say to an year that has made a lot of effort to remain at top of the unpopularity charts? Obviously, a big thank you… because trying times, tough moments, and all the wrongs ever inflicted on us by time invariably metamorphose into happy looking stepping stones that help us go across a struggling phase straight into the heart of another that has been built on the indomitable spirit of humanity. The coming phase may not be all joyous yodels but looking at the effort we have all made, the coming year isn’t going to be redefined as another traumatic one for sure. Shakespeare in As you like it talks about the ugly and venomous toad who ‘wears yet a precious jewel in his head’ and that one must go on finding ‘tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,/Sermons in stones, and good in everything.’
So yes, while we were all at home, we discovered the joys of working from home, using online platforms to teach and to learn, and we were all experimenting with a million other things that helped us discover our hidden talents. I do not have the statistics with me but I’m sure our world has had more people uncovering their love for cooking, writing, sketching, painting, singing, and dancing among other things. Our elderly transcended their inhibitions of crisscrossing on the internet highway. We have been able to unravel our dormant desires and, in our own special way, been conversing with the world. The world has become smaller as we have found out that there are friends beyond every conceivable border.
More importantly, we are now no longer hesitant about asking questions. This is vital for any civilization. In a way we now know what Friedrich Nietzsche meant when he wrote: ‘He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.’ Questioning policies, actions, and decisions is no longer an option that may or may not be exercised – because this is what we have learned to do during this long phase of uncertainty and upheaval. I must admit that questions are the only pathway to progress and this is what we need to go on with even when time turns into a more acceptable period. Even questioning a question is fine as this is what separates the real bigot from the rest of us.
This year has also ushered in participative decision-making, a habit to carefully scrutinize all options, being pragmatic about spending as well as believing, and understanding that needs and desires aren’t always the same. We have matured as a consumer of not just goods and services but also of political and bureaucratic claims. It took just a few months of extreme suffering to learn our lessons and as I look around, I find that it is no longer easy to make us accept and pay for anything that is half-baked, pre-mature, immature, pedestrian, and something that may benefit only those who still believe that camaflaging truth is what sells.
The coming year is not going to be as simple as switching on a light bulb in a dark room but is going to be more organic like the night slowly dissolving into a dawn. The only thing to remember is that we are all assured of is that there is no night that goes on forever.