Noted playwright William Shakespeare penned, “If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me”. Years 2020 and 2021 were a testimony to the reality that we are living in very uncertain times where plans and lofty resolutions don’t work.
During 2021, Delta and Omicron variants of coronavirus struck with a vengeance to play havoc the world over, but the people found a way to live. With global warming, winter became the new summer in many countries, but India offered five nectars ‘Panchamrit’, to deal with the climate change. Social media became a place of toxic quasi-epidemiology, but new rules were enforced to enable traceability of end-to-end encrypted messages. Globally there were many other major newsworthy events: the presidency of Joe Biden getting off to a spectacular start, the Tokyo Olympics, the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, the G7, COP26, and the first small steps of billionaire-funded space tourism.
Back in India, the nation was able to give out 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccination by October 21 and now the figure has swelled to around 1.36 billion doses. The country’s first chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat, was among the 13 people killed in a helicopter crash on December 8. The farmers called off their year-long protest on December 9 after the Centre handed them an official letter agreeing to most of their demands. Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress returned to power for a third consecutive term in West Bengal. Another epoch-making news was made by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which leaked the ”Pandora Papers” that had names of 300 Indians allegedly involved in concealing foreign currency and laundering it. On August 23, India decided to monetize 6 trillion rupees ($80.90 billion) of public assets over the next four years. Air India returned to Tata after 70 years as Tata Sons won the Air India bid. For Tata Sons, life literally came full circle because Air India was founded in 1932 under the name Tata Airlines by family scion Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata.
In 2021, the virtual world became ‘real’ with work from home, online classes, online shopping, video conferencing, video calls with friends, virtual conferences, virtual weddings and birthday celebrations, online transactions and the digital world, becoming the new normal life. The year was also a year of learning and enduring to be stoic to face such unforeseen times.
The year ended with hope as on December 12, the coveted Miss Universe title finally returned home — after 21 years — as Chandigarh-born Harnaaz Sandhu was declared the winner of the 70th edition of the pageant in Eilat, Israel. It is time to log off with hope, as the show must go on because life has no full stops but hop on and hop off.
On this note, Tehelka wishes its readers and patrons a very happy and healthy New Year full of hope, aspirations and drawing achievable New Year resolutions!