2021: Headfirst, with hope and heart

Israt Sabiha Ayshee

Scrolling through my Instagram archive, I find last year on this day new year resolutions were made. “Places-to-visit’ lists were scribbled on cute yellow post-its. Restaurants were picked to dine in. Like every other optimist, I had decided that 2020 was going to be “THE” year. And finally, I wished my close ones a very Happy New Year on the first strike of 12 at the fateful night of you-know-when. But like all of you; little did my heart know, what a tumultuous year was lying ahead.

Lockdown strikes the nation down just one day after my birthday, and with only a few change of clothes, a bunch of birthday gifts from friends, and plans to meet them 14 days later I come home. That’s it. Days became weeks, weeks to months. Every day hit like a different shade of anxiety, restlessness, suffocation, tension, and worse of all, fear. Fear for family members who couldn’t work from home, for friends who fell into lockdown with abusive parents, for favorite elderly relatives who would save you from your parents scolding and hand you pocket-money secretly when you visit them. And every night, sleep comes with the same question-When will this end?

The phrase “New normal” pinches like a harsh mockery. How can this be anything close to normal? Not being able to breathe without feeling conscious? Not being able to stand beside another human being without maintaining a distance? What about not being able to pass small chits secretly to friends during class? Cracking jokes over greasy canteen foods?

But hey, no complaint against having quality time to spend with family (even though most of the time it is like a voyeuristic reality television show with all the members at home.) Nor did I mind reruns of the classic Bangla shows on BTV, the offline ludo battles between parents, almost spraining my hand making Dalgona or whatever that frothy thing was house-planting frenzies, and being thankful for my lucky stars, that I didn’t have to kill my sibling over the remote, as we binged through cheesy k-dramas together on my laptop.

Still, let’s face it, it has been a shitty year. Plain and simple. This year sucked. And right now, even though we’ve grown almost numb to the fright and horror, there is not any concrete door of hope we can shut on the face of this pandemic for once and all. Now, if you ask me, am I hopeful for the next year? The answer is yes. YES in big flashy fireworks I would blast through the skyline. Why? 

Because A) I am somehow optimistic and have utmost faith in all the heroic individuals who are fighting round the clock with this stupid-horrid-villainous virus. B) I am desperate. My heart is heavy and despondent; it needs hope in large doses. I almost believe there is still a miracle waiting just outside the threshold of the year 2020. Waiting as silently as a cat’s footstep, but I can still hear it just a little, like a faint trickle of water running from a faulty tap. Hope needs no royal extravagant door; it can slide in the DMs of your heart under your ever so pessimistic nose. It is the very same tingling thought that drives you restless yet calms your heavy heart at the same time. Hope is what drives you to still look at travel pages and plan tours, those yellow post-it’s still sat on your wall.

Quarantine is not certainly the most welcoming environment for your heart to feel light. I admit at times it can almost feel like a foolish delusion to dream of a better future only a year away. As if harsh reality is cheated by even thinking of something as such. But when at 3 am in the night, while all the embarrassing past comes rushing down your memory, a lonely sigh also leaves thy chest. Because you could trade another hundred 3 am if that meant everything would be the same as before. And believe me, this is what fuels your words when you murmur under your breath-“I hope this year is gone soon, can’t wait for this wretched nightmare to be over.”

Now, we finally are at the exit door, eagerly waiting with one foot ready to put outside this haunted house. But “Should old acquaintance be forgotten, and never brought to mind?” No, of course. Looking back, you see, there are a few, if not many valuable lessons 2020 is leaving us with. We learned connecting back with your family is not so bad, as much as you like your personal space. We realized how precious yet fragile life is, no matter how much we have managed to take it for granted. Our nation experienced some phenomenal protests which were long overdue. And last but not the least, you gotta admit, we got some pretty good music this year. So, even though 2020 turned out be the MVP of impostors, we need not find 2021 pretty sus. Let hope burn ablaze in your heart, and let us take a cup of kindness yet, For auld lang syne. 

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