Looking back at 2021
The year 2021, was the year in which a sense of hope prevailed universally, and travel restrictions were relaxed, till the new COVID-19 variants, Delta and Omicron, created waves (“2022: the Year of the Omicron? We can change that”, Gulf News, December 26). Almost all countries across the world have intensified vaccination drives to ensure all are protected from COVID-19. I want to erase memories of the past two years, I am fortunate to have survived this pandemic so far. Thousands of people lost their jobs, and hundreds were displaced around the globe. I am lucky to be in the UAE, not only were the COVID-19 efforts here exceptional, this country also safe, ranks first in the region for tolerance, and third globally. The Expo 2020 Dubai opened the doors to the world, making the world united once again. Despite the pandemic, it was an outstanding achievement, as was the Sharjah International Book Fair.
Luckily, I was able to travel to France and Switzerland for holidays with family and could visit my mother thrice in my home country, India. Looking forward, I don’t have any new year resolutions, but, I want to travel more once the pandemic ends.
This year again, Gulf News gave me a platform to express my views on various topics - right from environment to politics, to the refugee crisis to poverty. Dubai has helped me grow in many ways, and I cherish every moment spent here. I hope the New Year will usher in peace and happiness for my family and me and everyone in this world. So, hoping that hugs and handshakes become normal again, and may we all have a peaceful, healthy and prosperous year ahead.
From Mr Eappen Elias
The year 2021 passed so quickly. Now, we are looking forward as the new year is approaching us in a day or two. What not have we, as humankind, suffered in the last two years? Every emotion was at its peak — fear, pain, and even isolation. But still, we managed to overcome a lot through collective strength. Everyone was supportive. People realised the value of love and affection over material things. And, when lessons are learned the hard way, it is expected that we don’t forget them. Sometimes unlearning is essential. Questioning our thoughts always makes us better people. Last two years, Nature taught us so many things that we intentionally neglected. And, I believe we as humans learn from our mistakes. So let 2022 be a year for restoring the balance and peace. I wish everyone a year of blessings, and may you find peace and happiness.
From Ms Mariam Zaaki
Christmas is over, and Santa has returned home after giving out gifts. Soon, people will take down their decorations and trees and pack them away, and all will be back to normal as we get ready to for a happy New Year once again. I am praying for a good year for our planet. However, do remember your Christmas wishes — peace, love, forgiveness, new beginnings. Let them continue through the year. Strive to be happy yourself and spread joy. It enables everyone and helps to make the world a better place. And, always be kind to one another during these times.
From Mr Michael Guzder
Cricket: Australia retains the Ashes
Congratulations to the Australian Cricket team, ably led by Pat Cummins, for pocketing The Ashes cricket series so quickly by defeating the England team by a 3-0 margin (“Australia retain Ashes after crushing humiliated England”, Gulf News, December 28). Unfortunately, the way the current England team is playing could be a whitewash for them during this series. Right from the Brisbane Test, it has been a pathetic and shameful performance by Joe Root and his boys, and probably this could be the worst team that toured Australia so far. It seems too easy for the Aussies once they root out England captain, Joe Root, as no other player has shown any stomach to fight it out. I was expecting a lot from Ben Stokes, who single-handedly levelled the Ashes series in England. However, he and Jos Butler haven’t looked at themselves, and both seemed to be clueless, whether to defend or attack. Being attacking players, I feel they should have played their natural game and tried to unsettle Aussie pace batteries. Having lost the series, Root could change his opening pair. He could even open with Jonny Bairstow and Butler, who could unsettle Stark and Cummins. Incidentally, it was surprising to see Stuart Broad not paired with James Anderson, who strikes in tandem. I hope they change for good and salvage some pride.
From Mr N Mahadevan