This year has been unparalleled, unforgettable and unbelievable in so many ways, all because of one tiny virus. The first two months of the year, were a breeze and then each one of us was forced to adapt and change to cope with the new normal. That we are alive and able to go about our lives is a blessing.
Every year, this time of the year is the time for reflection and setting of new goals. However, this year I feel different. As I sit here, reminiscing of the year gone by, I realise that there many things in my life, that I should be grateful for. This sense of gratitude during the year end review is new. What is also new, is I am not in the mood for specific goals e.g., get to 60 kgs in 6 months. Yes, I will continue working to become a better version of myself as a mom, wife, friend, professional and conscientious citizen. But for now, I want to take a trip down memory lane and note how my family and I adapted to 2020. So here come the snippets of 2020.
Many people have eaten my food and are living normal lives!
Cooking is not my forte nor my interest. At most I am motivated to prepare sweets and tea time snacks. I doubt if my family will ever say they miss my sambhar or my home cooked food like I do for my mom’s cooking. The pandemic and ensuing locked down almost had me believe that I am a master chef. I am proud of the stuff that I tried at home: Biryanis, samosa, icecream, puran poli, dahi vada, jalebi, burgers, pizza, baked nachos. I am grateful that I was able to cook these exotic dishes myself and relish them too. In the spiritual world it is said what we eat determine what we become. Eating food cooked with the highest purity and love, enhances the vibrations of the people consuming the food. Right now, I rate myself at 6/10 as a chef. I will endeavour for a perfect 10 in 2021 and beyond.
Our balcony garden yielded some herbs, some vegetables and some flowers – each harvest and bloom have a story. My husband’s labour of love and the fruit of his sheer persistence. I am grateful for the baby steps we have made in this space. A long way to go, but it has been a joy so far.
The virtual world became a reality
Pre-pandemic it was always about the dangers of our digital persona and about leveraging digital data to understand a person better. The pandemic left us with no choice but to go virtual. We all have a huge digital footprint today, but it is a necessity.
My work was always remote, with some travel thrown in. So, working from home was not new for me. What was new is working from home with kids and hubby at home too!!!! Took a while to adjust and now we have found our rhythm. I am grateful that my hubby and I are able to work from home and we have our jobs. There are so many who risk their lives and go out to earn their living and so many who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Hoping we get back to normal rapidly in 2021 and everyone gets their life back.
The world of online schooling has been tough. While my teenager sits sincerely for her classes, my younger one, has learnt multi-tasking – switching between games, videos and studies. Now I sit to monitor, however I am grateful that my kids were able to continue their education this year. I spent a whole lot of time in uploading the homework and projects. Sharing a glimpse of few of the projects we created this year.
Not only work and school, so many interactions turned virtual – doctor appointments, hobby classes, toastmaster meetings, webinars. I am a toastmaster and my club like most other clubs switched to online meetings. We seamlessly adapted to the change and I am steadily progressing along my chosen pathway. My friend and I also mentored a batch of 20 young kids as a part of the Youth leadership Program conducted under the aegis of our Gavel Club. I was sceptical about its effectiveness, however was surprised to see the kids bloom during the 8-week journey. Yes, it is no comparison to the experience in a physical meeting, but yet the difference is substantial.
It is also encouraging to watch how the small businesses in my neighbourhood adapted to the new normal of contactless delivery. Groceries, flowers, utensils, stationary, electrical and plumbing fittings – everything gets delivered at your doorstep by the smallest shop to the biggest ecommerce vendor. Technology and some innovative jugad models have made it happen with apps like Whatsapp, Google Pay, Paytm and Dunzo.
This year, on 28th February after many years had a grand celebration for my son’s eighth birthday. Usually, it is small affair with just his friends. But this time I decided to call my cousins and friends too. Little did I know that the pandemic and lockdown would change our lives in less than 2 weeks. That’s the last party I hosted, before the pandemic. Three days into the lockdown, we had a subdued celebration at home for my teenager. Life changed in a matter of days. The pandemic made me realise that we cannot take ourselves too seriously, after all we are a tiny speck in the bigger scheme of things.
As the days went by and we realised, we are in it for the long haul, we celebrated festivals the best we could, both as a family as well as a community. After all life is about celebrations, the more you celebrate life, the more there is in life to celebrate. In my community of 560 apartments, we came together for a week-long Independence Day celebration. Treasure hunt, Bingo, Fitness challenges, Quizzes on Kahoot and a block wise walking challenge, we did it all. Thanks to a plethora of apps: Zoom, WhatsApp, Kahoot, Impact and Telegram. These apps brought us together virtually. My friends and I did a virtual Thiruvathira (traditional group dance of Kerala) for Onam 2020. I am grateful that we can celebrate birthdays, festivals and life even in these times.
Making new friends, strengthening bonds
From meeting 2-3 times a year as we live in different cities, my son and niece are bonding over daily Zoom. They play Robolox over Zoom every day like clockwork. Our families are struck with awe at the ease with which the two eight-year olds have figured out their entertainment and mode of communication.
My son gets anxious the minute he has to do anything arty. When my niece enrolled in an online art class, my son wanted to join the same too. So now living in Bengaluru, my son has joined an art class conducted by a teacher in Pune. My niece and son wanted to attend a class together and hence they joined the art class, but unfortunately, they got into different batches. So now, I help my son during his art class. It is a new way for us to bond together apart from the have you eaten, bathed, studied checklist driven life.
The pandemic has resulted in reconnecting with old class mates and friends and relatives over video calls. I am grateful that my family and I could reconnect and bond with our friends and family during these times.
The home got a makeover
With everyone at home, the number of small changes we had to make to our house is surprising. Additional power sockets, UPS, desks and chairs and the list goes on. Automation has been implemented at scale at home.
What gives me hope is that when I retire, I will have humanoids to assist in the chores. Looking for one specially to fold clothes.
Impacting & Influencing
This year after years of “Should I, Should I not”, I finally took the plunge. I started coaching with Ian Faria and it has been a life changing decision. Coaching with Ian is helping me become aware of my blind spots, improving my focus and above helping me unleash my dreams and ambitions. I also attended the Pro-Lead program conducted by Ian and am now a pro at making impactful videos. Infact, I have purchased a ring light too. That has motivated my kids to speak too 😊. Check my blog on Inner Dialogue , a key aspect, that I learnt from the Pro-Lead program. 2021 and beyond I will continue this focus on self-discovery and evolution.
Biding my time
There are many things that I have sorely missed. I have not seen my parents and siblings in more than a year now. I miss them terribly. Staying cooped at home, it is difficult to stay optimistic always and often the emotions get better of you. Kids have been affected with the lack of physical activity and social interaction. Balancing work and home chores are taxing. Exercise is erratic. The virus was to be conquered by Oct 2020, but we are nowhere close to it. The data on the effectiveness of the vaccine is mixed. This situation could go on for another year or more. And I can go on, but it is what it is. We have to deal with it.
If winter comes, can spring be far behind? That’s the hope that keeps me going. It is just a very long winter, but it will end for sure.
Till then SMS is our best bet – Social distancing, Masks and Sanitization.
Wishing Everyone a Happy New Year 2021! This is the year we get back to normal!