Good riddance 2020. Be thankful, you are alive!

Letter from New Delhi

By Kul Bhushan

Good riddance 2020. Yes, goodbye to this horrendous year. One after another, the disasters kept thumping all of us. Natural calamities, fires, floods, cyclones, hurricanes, et al, went on all through the year. Riding on top was the Wuhan virus which killed 1.93 M people and counting. That’s nearing two million!

Our lives have been turned upside down. From March onwards, everything just closed down and remained so for the next eight months or so. Businesses were shut down, jobs lost, schools/colleges closed, cinema theatres locked, restaurants bolted, streets deserted; we were confined to our homes with our families.

And the virus raged on mercilessly across the globe, infecting and killing people, including out dear ones. No remedy on the horizon. Strict precautions were advised and implemented. Those who did not follow these instructions paid with their lives. So, 2020 can be dubbed annus horribilis or a horrible year.

Despite all these disasters, it is time to be thankful because you are reading this. You are still breathing. It means that you are alive and survived the annus horribilis. You are not a part of the nearly two million who are no more. You will get a new job or re-start your business but if you had succumbed to this virus, you will be no more. Thus, it is time to show your gratitude to be just alive.

Of course, you can recall losing your relative(s) or friend(s) which is sad. Very sad. You will bear this sorrow for the rest of your life. As time keeps on moving ahead, you must move on. You can’t stop the clock.

As you look forward to the new year, you make plans for ‘revenge’ indulgence of all the pleasures you were denied during the lockdown. If it is travelling or holidays, you will go out with a vengeance to live it up. If it is movies, you will line up outside the theatres. If it is dining, you will head to the restaurants more frequently. And so on with your personal favourites. 

But if you had plenty of time to ponder over life and meditate, you will take a new course of self-discovery and delve deeper into the unknown which was so overwhelming and powerful in 2020. Instead of exploring the far corners of the earth, you will try and discover your virgin inner space.

So bid goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021.

The first month, January, is named after Janus because the first day of January looks both ways – at the past, at the last year that has gone, and at the new year. Janus is a Roman god with two faces, facing both directions.

Osho says, “Man is a Janus; his whole life is a January. And both directions have something appealing and something that creates fear. One has to decide. If one decides to fall back, one disappears as an alive being; one has committed suicide. If one decides to go ahead in spite of all the fear that arises with the new, one is born spiritually. Remember it. Listen to the call of the unknown – and it is always there. Whatsoever becomes known has to be dropped.”

So, what is your new year’s resolution? “This and only this can be the new year’s resolution,” Osho says, “I resolve never to make any resolutions because all resolutions are restrictions for the future. All resolutions are imprisonments. You decide today for tomorrow? You have destroyed tomorrow.”

So just be grateful, very, very grateful, that you are alive and you survived.

Kul Bhushan worked as a newspaper Editor in Nairobi for over three decades and now lives in New Delhi


* Published in print edition on 12 January 2021

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