Spectator by Seema Goswami: Happy New Year!
Since this is my first column of 2022, allow me to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. I hope and pray that this year is better than the one that has gone by. That Omicron comes and goes like a bad dream, leaving us all immunized against the virus. And that this is the year when the Covid pandemic finally ends, with Corona becoming no more or less dangerous than the common cold.
So much for hopes and prayers!
But the New Year is always about resolutions, and here, in no particular order of importance, are mine:
• To give in to worthy impulses. If I feel the urge to re-connect with a long-lost friend, to phone a family member whom I haven’t spoken to in ages, to make a contribution to a charitable cause, I resolve to do so before the feeling passes. The lesson of the pandemic is that we should not put off anything that can be done today—because who knows what tomorrow may bring.
• Build closer ties in my neighbourhood. If the sundry Covid lockdowns have taught us anything, it is that in times of crisis it is those around you who become your support structure. They are the ones who step in when you fall ill, who provide you with a ride when you are stranded, who send across a bowl of piping hot biryani simply because they want to share. This is the year when I will try my best to show them my appreciation any which way I can.
• Pare down my ‘friends’ list. Covid bubbles have willy-nilly made us prioritise our ‘real’ friends over those we are merely friendly with. And after a couple of years of this, I am beginning to wonder if there is any point in expanding my social circle to pre-pandemic levels. It makes more sense to invest in a few meaningful friendships, rather than socialising with a larger group whom I don’t really care about.
• Get back in touch with nature. Ever since Corona entered our lives, vacations have been few and far between. And, for the most part, I have spent them in cities that are an easy driving distance from Delhi. Now, I think it is time to explore the great outdoors, whether it is a beachfront, a mountain resort, or a wildlife sanctuary.
• Brush up my languages. I signed up for French classes nearly 20 years ago, and for Italian classes around 15 years ago. Since then, I have forgotten much of the grammar that I learnt, but I did manage to keep my conversational French and Italian going by travelling to both these countries and forcing myself to speak in the local language rather than English. But it’s now been nearly three years since I travelled to either France or Italy and I fear that I have lost whatever language skills I once possessed. So, this year I am going to watch lots of French and Italian TV channels and try and get familiar with these languages again—in the hope that I will travel to these parts soon.
• Read rather than watch. During the pandemic, there was nothing quite as comforting as settling down on the sofa in the evening, and binge-watching yet another series on a streaming service. It was bubble-gum for the eyes, which did not ask anything more of you than a willing suspension of disbelief. But I think it is now time to ration my screen time, and spend more evenings with my head stuck in a good book, conjuring up new worlds in my head with the power of the writer’s imagination.
• Start work on my new book. With the sequel to Race Course Road, Madam Prime Minister, now out in the world, and in good bookstores all across the country, it is time to go back to the spy novel I was working on before I took a break to write my political thrillers. The plot is all fleshed out in my head. Now, it’s just a matter of getting it down on paper. Wish me luck!
Spectator fans, listen up! Seema Goswami’s new book Madam Prime Minister is now on stands.
The views expressed by the columnist are personal
From HT Brunch, January 9, 2022
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