Good Bye 2020… Welcome 2021!

By Manju Mittal

We were going through bushfires last year in 2019 on the 31st of December, Australia burned all around us as we ushered into the Year 2020. Covid-19 may have struck in 2019 but its real impact started to be felt only around March 2020. As we got into strict lockdown and quarantine, the thought on the top of our minds was how will we survive 2020?  How will the Work From Home (WFH) be possible?

Survive we did not just the lockdown, new way of dealing with life as such with the pandemic still going strong, it seems people have given up to be living under restrictions. We see no social distancing, devil may care attitude of some and face masks on the neck or just dangling from one ear and the year ends tonight.

To control this novel virus has actually been a challenge, when at its peak it was unthinkable to control Covid-19 in Sydney. It has affected everyone in different ways, on both at personal as well as at professional level. So much was out of our control so we just had to roll with it with a smile on our faces.  

As the Covid-19 numbers continue to climb in Australia and around the world we need to have a very healthy mindset for the Year 2021 in dealing with a serious crises such as this that the humanity is confronted with, we need to take control of the things and manage as best as we can our lives, work, families and the rest.

The severe outbreak of the pandemic has affected mental health of many all over the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed us, it will continue to change the world, and going back to the way we were before Covid-19 is not an option. It’s time to start the process of thinking about a new normal which can be quite challenging, I guess.

I work in a disability organisation and since the arrival of Covid-19, every time I head to work it does not make me feel safe. More than 2 million people live with some kind of disability many of them are seniors, of course, one of the most vulnerable group when it comes to contracting Covid-19. Disability workers are essential workers, they are extremely anxious about the situation and issues at work, uncertain about the future too. One thing we are quite certain is that the disabled are a group of people who are most vulnerable and most in need of support and care.

We will never ever forget 2020 no matter how hard we try. Reminded at every step of the way as I have had confirmed Covid-19 infections in my family back home, most of them, thank God, recovered, but I did lose two of my close family members. My only daughter is stuck in her home in a lockdown in London. My mother is 80 and has multiple health issues. Every time I call her she asks me the same question ”˜India kab aaogi’? (When will you come to India?).

This year has been difficult for many of us, not being able to see family as often as we would have liked. We need to make our decisions and live with the consequences. We want to keep everyone safe, health is more important than a family reunion. Facetime and Zoom have helped but still that physical contact, the nearness, that hug of a near and a dear one is always the most preferred way of connecting, bonding and thus love which we all need.

2020 has also given us the opportunity to show how strong our communities are. Many organisations in Sydney such as Mahasangh, AHIA, Hindu Council, GNFK Sydney, Harman Foundation, Indian Support Centre, many Indian restaurants, Hindu temples and volunteers have helped students stuck in dire circumstances. Seniors have been looked after by many Senior association with younger members visiting the older one, at times neighbours helping with shopping, food or simply checking in to make sure they are okay.

Not to mention many of us who started to cook, paint, draw, sing, dance, knit and embroider, write stories, make short films, scripting and keeping up the morale high as best as we could in the midst of worst of the fears caused by the invisible enemy.

There are many others who are in shelters with families trying to rebuild their lives around Covid-19, people stuck in different countries and not be able to repatriate. It’s a challenge and a difficult one when in some places there have been natural disasters around the world, farmers sitting in protest in India; them battling cold weather standing up for their rights. The Indian film and television Industry lost some of its gems in 2020. From Sushant Singh Rajput, Irrfan Khan, SP Balasubramaniam, Rishi Kapoor to Nishikant Kamat, Saroj Khan, Rahat Indori, Kumkum, Basu Chatterjee, comedian Jagdeep and many more left a void in the Indian entertainment Industry.

As 2020 draws to a close, let us remember it was a year when we helped one another, pulled on together as a humanity and forged new liaisons, friendships to help with the coping mechanism which will take us into 2021. Hopefully we will be leaving the worst of the pandemic behind.

Happy New Year to our TIDU readers and to you wherever you are.

Good bye 2020. Welcome 2021!

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