Remembering 2020: COVID,CATASTROPHE AND COLLEGE
Updated: Jan 13
Finally, today is the last day of 2020 which was the year of traumas and opportunities. To be honest, despite being not one of the best years of my life it will be the most memorable year of my life. This was the year when I aspired to many things. This year was going to decide my destiny. My plans for 2020 were almost perfect- 3 months of study for the 12th boards, followed by 4 months of fun, frolic, trips, and hangouts, and then admission to my dream institute. The starting was fine, just after pre-boards, I was spending some leisure time in Dehradun in Parks and cafes. I also started preparing for my practicals and everything was going fine. But just then around the first weekend of 2020, I got to know about a mysterious virus emerging in Wuhan. At that time I was like"Are yeah toh 1-2 hafto me theek ho jayega". But then WHO entered the arena and declared it a Public health crisis and the Indian government started screening and issued advisories. It was around last week of Jan and I was just like " Hmm. it's gotta serious now". Around the first week of Feb first 3 COVID cases were imported to Kerela from Wuhan followed by a wave of panic and fear. It was just starting one of the biggest nightmares which no one have ever expected that it will become a reality soon. By this time my practicals. was over and I was preparing for my theory examinations. It was at this time COVID was at its peak in China. We are hearing about stringent lockdowns and hundreds of deaths in china daily. I remember my uncle (who works in the Surveillance team of WHO in the site office) was saying" Yarr, yeah India me nhi hona chaiye nhi to lash ke dher bich Jayenge". We were still assuming about what if? And it was in midst of all my birthday(Have postponed my plans for march), the first day of the exam, and Vivekamukunanand came(This is the most highlighted word of trump's speech in Namaste Tru event xD). My exams were going smoothly till 10 March. On 10th March when I reached the examination centre there was a rumour the examination was cancelled. It was also around this time that the tourists from Italy and the UK carrying COVID-19 came here which led to the beginning of one of the biggest catastrophes in Indian history. Fortunately, the rumour was wrong and I was able to complete my all exams. It was on 15 th March 2020 on which day I concluded my 4 years of hard work and dedication for boards. It was like the final step towards achieving one of your dream goals. I have sacrificed a lot for it-Movies, weekends, trips, and many more things. I was already imagining myself in midst of brick-paved lanes of Kathmandu, moonscapes of Tibet, and ancient Stupas of Ceylon. Besides that, I was thinking about the hangouts the following weekend. my dreams got a first blow with the news of the outbreak of COVID in India. However, I managed to spend quite a nice weekend as the COVID did not arrive in Uttarakhand. On Monday the news came that all board examinations have been cancelled all over India. This was followed by a week of local restrictions which finally culminated on 22 March with Janta Curfew. It was a voluntary 14-hour long curfew by the people of India to stop the spread of the virus. But it was organized after the speech of PM Modi 2 days ago when he appealed to us for it. It was for the first time I realized the seriousness of the issue. Also, this was the period when I started making Youtube Videos using a simple smartphone. I recorded the effect of COVID and lockdown in our surroundings and uploaded them on YT. But then there was a sudden spurt in my Channel which doesn't have even a single subscriber. On the first day I received 300+ views(which may appear a small figure but it meant a lot to me), I uploaded a series of lockdown videos, followed by time-lapse series and other vlogs. Now I have a subscriber base of around 200 with around 5000 views, without using a simple 12 mp smartphone and with minimal editing. But the most significant contributor to my YT channel was the video on Janta curfew.
At 5;00 PM on 22 March all of us came to our terraces and we appreciated our health workers and Police officials for their services in the pandemic. The sounds of conches, bells, and claps were enough to give anyone goosebumps because not only thousands or lakhs were clapping or ringing the bells but the whole country was celebrating the event exactly at the same time. Janta Curfew was followed by the announcement of 21 days of stringent lockdown. It gave the final blow to my all post-board plans and trips. I was stubborn at the moment when Modi said:" Aaj rat 12 baje se Sampoorn Desh me Sampoorn lockdown hone ja raha he". For the initial few days I was shattered, but slowly I diverted myself in many ways. Instagram helped me a lot in this regard. I was in IG for two years but never used it once. This was the time when I started posting my travel pics, throwbacks, live events, and many more. It was at this period I also started blogging. I still remember my first blog on Jaisalmer fort followed by a blog series on Jaisalmer. Around this time I also start binge-watching movies and web-series(my personal favourite was Panchayat. I binge-watched all MCU, Starwars, and Monster-verse movies. I was used to light up a candle, take a cup of coffee and a book or screen, and just got lost in them. And when we talk about Coffee how you can forget Dalgona Coffee? I tried and got success but its taste was terrible. But even after all I felt lonely and sad at times. Yes, the lockdown gave me some quality time with family, we all used to make a different type of savouries every day including Samosas and jalebis but the generation gap always exists. At such times I used to put on my headphones and sit under the blue skies, watching sunsets or sunrises, observing the mountains, and at times when I was insomniac, I start watching stars and other celestial objects at night. I slowly re-developed my interest in astronomy, and start spending hours under the night sky. Also, this was the time when the country was gone crazy over the re-telecasts of Epics in DD. After exploring and introspecting myself for 21 days the day came on which I was thinking lockdown will be lifted. I wrote an emotional post on IG and all of us(Social media) celebrated this the last day of lockdown. But it was just the starting of a long dark tunnel. The lockdown was extended, COVID broke its records, except COVID many things tragedies and catastrophes happened one after another in the next 6- Australian bushfires, Earthquakes, Chinese intrusion, Migration of labourers, Suicides, the demise of many of loved actors and personalities like SSR, Irfaan Khan. Black Panther(it is the way to connect with him more). But this was also a time when important steps towards self-reliance and infrastructural development specifically in the field of health were made. It was only due to it India escaped the situation which was predicted by many- A gloomy doom day when piles of corpses will lay down in every neighbourhood.
After 3 months of uncertainty finally, the lockdown was lifted phase-wise(but practically still lockdown is not lifted) manner on 1 st June. This was my last month in Dehradun after which I have to shift to NCR for some personal reasons. I wanted to live every last moment in Dehradun. I am quite attached to my grandparents and small cousins as I was born and bought up among them. I wanted to spend some time with them. But there is something else in my destiny- our tenants were tested up with COVID. It was my first near-COVID experience. It was followed by a wave of fear and panic in our society,un-human behaviour (social boycott) towards our tenents as they were tested positive and various videos highlighting our house were shared on social media. After overcoming the post-lockdown trauma it hurt me. Several Dms were coming me about the matter, we were self-quarantined and I was; the future was uncertain. But due to the courage of my parents(who are medical professionals whole society and raising voice against the uncivilized attitude of society towards our tenants who were tested positive. Apart from the courage of my parents a few other things also shaped my quarantine life-The Sparrows and Solar eclipse. These days I used to sit on my balcony and constantly watched the activities in their next made in a wooden birdhouse on our balcony. They were coming in it from 15 February to be exact, but now there were also small sparrow chicks peeking out their tiny peaks out of the hole of house and chirping in a sweet voice, it was at that time when I was enjoying their melody I heard a shrill voice, The voice was of the bell rung by the delivery boy. He dropped the parcel in front of the gate and when I opened it and I felt a wave of joy all over my body. Finally, my solar glasses have arrived through which I would be able to witness the greatest solar eclipse of decades. On 21 June I witnessed the ring of fire just over my head( as the centre of the eclipse was just above Dehradun). The Sun was completely covered up by the moon and there was darkness everywhere. It was one of the best visual treats of 2020 for which I was waiting for many months. But the most shocking about June was the mysterious suicide of SSR. The period of June passed in midst of all these upheavals and tiny joys.
Then came July the month when a new chapter of my life started. It was the month when I shifted out of Dehradun for the first time in the last 12 years. Many of you who came from small towns or the relaxed lifestyle of Raj-era cities can relate to it. You develop a strong attachment towards your hometown, its fauna, flora, sites, cafes. schools, special places, and many more things. Something similar has happened to me. I want to spend enough time in these places for the last time. I was expecting a smooth transition from the relaxed life of Dehradun to hustle and bustle of Delhi. But 2020 had ruined my every plan and expectation so how can this be an exception? But there are always two sides to every coin. If 2020 have ruined my several plans and expectation it also gave me great joy in form of my admission to Delhi University.
But it is not as simple as you might understand. On 15th or 16th, July CBSE announced the results for the 12th board. But due to heavy traffic, the portal was not opening for the last 4 hours. It is then a call came from my school, my heart was beating with 120 beats per minute( it was recorded in my smart band), my breath was almost stopped." Soham you have scored highest in our school and you are among the top 10 students of our School, Congrats! you have scored 98.6%". I can't describe my emotions in those few moments. After receiving greetings and blessings now it was time for 2 months long cumbersome process of cutoffs and payments for India's top University.
My life was going quite well along with the flattening COVID. It was after 3 months that the new cases of COVID were decreasing, life was returning to normalcy, festive vibes can be felt and the atmosphere was becoming quite positive. The festive season has brought a huge hope for our economy and us who are now experiencing pandemic fatigue. It acted as a ray of hope in midst of the darkness of the pandemic. It helped us to break our monotonous routines and enjoy beautiful moments of our life. Our economy was recovering at a quite good rate all thanks to Diwali and Self-reliance measures. Indian Crafts and textiles worth more than 40,000 crores were purchased in Diwali and Chinese goods worth 90,000 crores were boycotted. It was a series of actions against China taken after the Galwan incident. More than 300 Chinese apps of which Tik Tok and PUBG being dominant players were banned in the last 2 months. Everything was going fine but then a catastrophe happened in my life. My Grandparents were contracted with COVID and were hospitalized. My grandfather with many complications was quite serious due to which he was shifted to ICU. It was moments of intense stress, tension, and anxiety for me. My grandfather was a heart patient, hypertensive, and a diabetic also. In comparison to him, my grandmother was quite robust and recovered soon. But dramatically he too recovered and celebrated Diwali with us in an Eco-friendly way.
Then after Exams, COVID, lockdowns. and catastrophes finally a vibrant period of the year begin with my College life. After getting admission to Ramjas college in the first cutoff I was really excited about our college life. It was also a period when the vaccine starts emerging from the horizon. I never expected that the first day of college will be virtual but afterall it started. Really from the last 1 month, my online college life experience was fabulous. We had virtual meets which helped us to understand each other. It is true that for now, digital media cant take place of physical space, we all are missing the galleries of college, the canteen, the chai wallas and many more such things which were discussed by our seniors, but at least digital media is acting as a thin chain linking us all who are from different parts of India. It is such an amazing experience to do fun chats, share memes, do fun and frolic in chats with your fellow friends. Apart from spectacular friends we have some of the most superb teachers. In a nutshell, it is a bright chapter of my life in 2020.
For me this year was a year of introspection and self-analyzation. I learned how to love myself. What is worth of yourself. This was the year when I achieved one of the greatest feats of my early life. So what are my favourites this year? My favouraite post-lockdown hangout was with my friends in July and August. My favourite thing to do was to put up headphones and listen to songs like Believer, Deathbed, and Dil Bechara and get lost in the vibes of these songs under the skies full of stars. This was the year I made 5000+ Insta fam, It was the year when my blogs reached over 25 country and my Youtube base is made for future vlogging, but why im writing this here? This might be your biggest question. As a student of history, I always love to read and know about recorded events. But for a long time, I want to record my own history in the context of general things going around. Who knows 1000 years later anyone finds this blog and it might be helpful to know about the forgotten years of history!
But will 2020 will be only a single forgotten year or also 2021 due to new strain? It is a matter of time and let's leave the matter for a while. So ending with a positive note, Bye! Bye! 2020 and welcome 2021.
Wish you a happy and safe new year!