Spectator by Seema Goswami: It’s a brand new year!
So, finally, we meet in 2021, having bid goodbye to a roller-coaster of a year called 2020. I don’t know about you, but the first few weeks of the New Year always imbue me with an optimistic mood. There is the sense of new beginnings, a looking forward to fresh possibilities, and the feeling that we have embarked on a brand new adventure.
Of course, some of 2020 will carry over to 2021 as well. Covid ain’t going anywhere any time soon and doctors warn us that we will have to continue wearing masks, washing hands, and socially distancing through this year as well. Sadly, normal service is unlikely to be resumed any time soon.
I know all this at a rational level, and yet, that ‘New Year’ feeling refuses to go away. And here, in no particular order of importance, is what I am looking forward to:
• Getting the Covid vaccine. I don’t know when my turn will finally come, but I am hoping that my comorbidities (never have I been more grateful that I have a few!) will push me up the queue. And the moment my number is called, I will be there, sleeve rolled up in readiness to receive the shot. And I sincerely hope that all of you will do the same – because this vaccine thing only works if all of us get the requisite two doses.
• Releasing my new book. Ideally, the sequel to Race Course Road should have been out in 2020. But somehow, the idea of bringing a book out in the middle of a pandemic and doing all my promotions on Zoom, didn’t quite appeal to me. So, I postponed sending it off to my publisher on one pretext or another, holding off till some semblance of normality returned. So, the book will now be birthed in a post-vaccine world – and I am looking forward to that with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.
• Creating a mask-free extended family bubble. Until now, my pandemic bubble has consisted of just my husband and me. In the last nine months, I have never met anyone else without a mask – no, not even members of my own family. But once Covid loosens its grip on us, and after everyone has been tested/vaccinated, we can finally have our Big Fat Indian Family gathering. Zoom calls and video chats are all very well, but there is nothing like the actual warm embrace of family to feel whole again.
• Going on vacation abroad. Over the last few months, my husband and I have taken a few mini-breaks – but always within driving distance of Delhi. And it’s been great. We rediscovered the magical beauty of the Taj Mahal on a trip to Agra, spending the entire day sitting on our balcony, gazing mesmerised at the ultimate monument to love. We reacquainted ourselves with Rajasthan, making trips to Alwar and Jaipur. And even though we didn’t venture out of our hotels, the change still did us good. But now I am getting itchy feet, again. And I am hoping that in a few months time, I will be able to visit some of my favourite haunts abroad as well. London is number one on that list, but if that doesn’t work, I am quite happy to settle for Bangkok or Singapore as well.
• Venturing out to the shops. The one thing Covid did was to introduce me to the pleasures of online shopping. And in the initial days of lockdown, I went a little berserk, ordering everything from Le Creuset cookware to stationery to hair scrunchies on the Internet. But after the initial excitement wore off, I began to miss the experience of going out and shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. Until now, though, I have resisted the urge to head out to malls or department stores, for fear of tempting fate. But, with a bit of luck, it will be possible to do a spot of retail therapy in 2021. And after a year of being abstemious, I can’t wait to indulge myself.
The views expressed by the columnist are personal
From HT Brunch, January 10, 2021
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch