It’s December! The Thursday of months. A monthlong bridge that connects the year-long past to the fresh thrills that await us in the year to come. A time to ease routines and our tummies to gratitude, togetherness and food that are anyway bound to culminate into resolutions in the following months.
After a rollercoaster ride of terrible highs and sinking lows, the year-long train is chugging towards the final stop. Year 2020 has changed lives and livelihoods forever so much so that the year (and we) will hold a special place in the heart of every history text book.
Here are 2020s many firsts, some bizarre facts in between the more serious ones, exclusive to this momentous time, that would occupy boxed corners of history textbooks.
Year 2020 began as the year of the rat but progressed to be the year of the mask. The thin layer of surgical blue was the year’s protective sheath of armour and must-have facial accessory that stood valiantly between man and virus. This viral trend infiltrated the fashion industry that soon churned a stunning collection — some practical, others pretty.
An invisible enemy that challenged man, machine and science caused human race to recede into their homes. Humans with upright spines who slumped before an array of screens were deemed heroes while front-line warriors were out risking their lives to save others.
Year 2020 is said to have conspired against the chronic planners — the manicured lawns among them who prided on their perfectly gleaming blades of plan B, C and D. Plans dried up into patches of ugly brown, even plan Z could not keep those weeds of chaos and frustration from growing.
Children of 2020 were the first lot to have crawled out of their beds and ‘Zoom-ed’ into classroom. ‘Teams’ of instructors ‘Seesaw-ed’ between the world of knowledge to their world of choice as educators educated through fish-eye cameras and screamed ‘mute’ instead of ‘silence’.
WFH became a way of work and home WiFi and the bookshelf — classics upfront, the centre of existence. Office goers travelled from their bed to the table with perfectly done faces and a strange pairing of pyjamas matched with formal shirts and slippers. Timely regulation of the on/off function of the camera and mute/unmute key ensured the home setting from embarrassingly spilling onto the work setting.
Globetrotters and YouTube daredevils, whose social media posts were viral with selfies in picturesque backdrops, suddenly found their virtual spaces and travel plans chained down, while they discovered that lockdown simplicities of homebound life could entice fans and earn likes too.
A generation of workaholics
A generation of workaholics discovered that food didn’t always arrive in neat packages but could be created too. Social media transformed into a virtual stage that showcased a host of talent that entertained and encouraged the slumping homebound audience to cook, handwash, sanitise and organise while imparting lessons in positivity, fitness, togetherness and the joys of staring out windows — both real and virtual.
For a while, talents flourished after normal was ‘locked down’. In time, the thrill of lockdown and togetherness frizzled out. Happy families jostled for space and respite from each other when the window threw the same scene, when lockdown weight did not stay hidden inside pyjamas, when stocks and patience crashed and the excitement of creating meals once again became a chore, a ‘new normal’ is said to have made a ‘socially distant’ entry all ‘masked’ and ready to live alongside the virus.
And then there is evidence of a 650-worded column in the December edition of a prominent newspaper that lists facts of what school kids of the future might read in boxed columns in the fringes of their history textbooks.
— Pranitha Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @MenonPranitha