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2020 and beyond: Bad years and worse ones

Seldom before has the great majority of the human populace worn such a collectively grumpy mien or been this uncooperative and intransigent.

Published: 28th February 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2021 05:03 PM   |  A+A-

COVID-19

An effigy of the year 2020 depicting 'coronasur' at Worli in Mumbai. (File Photo | PTI)

The demise of 2020 was boisterously celebrated across the world, with reckless disregard for social distancing. After all, it is now almost universally acknowledged that annus horribilis does not begin to describe the sheer awfulness of the year gone by.

The coronavirus has laid waste to global health and economy. Worse, there seems to be no respite from social evils as hardened criminals continue to do their thing, the undeserving continue to enrich themselves and the powerful ride roughshod over the poor and weak, the way they always have and no doubt, always will.

Yet, an overwhelming majority had such high hopes for 2021. Almost as if they were certain that an army of fairy Godmothers were hard at work, zooming across the length and breadth of the planet, wielding their wands with superheroic élan, sprinkling pixie dust on the problem areas that seemed to be erupting and suppurating every which way, while their elven helpers sat over a billion, bubbling cauldrons filled to the brim with magical potions designed to rejuvenate and renew all things rotten and ruined. Needless to say, there can be but one outcome when such unreasonable expectations are allowed to skyrocket—disappointment. With a side of depression and desolation.

The year has barely begun and already it seems to be doing little more than regurgitating the contents of the toilet bowl that was 2020 with explosions of noxious nastiness. Vaccines are being rolled out but people don’t seem keen on being jabbed. Large-scale protests against the establishment are escalating and the system strikes back by imprisoning protestors young and old, while clamping down on freedom of speech. Elsewhere, hunky-dory isn’t the term being used to describe the prevailing state of affairs as the exit of an orange-headed menace led to massive upheavals violently staged by his rabid followers.

Meanwhile, those nations worst affected by the pandemic continue to battle it with indifferent success often trampling on fundamental rights in the name of the greater good. Seldom before has the great majority of the human populace worn such a collectively grumpy mien or been this uncooperative and intransigent. 

To make matters worse, the Nobel-winning UN agency has warned that we can expect things to get steadily worse this year, since famines of terrifying proportions are expected and the funds needed to tackle the impending catastrophe are fast dwindling. None of this is heartening. But the good news is that it can’t all be bad news. Now that we have removed the jinx on 2021 by refusing to set ourselves up for disappointment we can steady ourselves with the knowledge that there will be precious moments of hope and happiness to tide us over this year as well. And the crappy ones ahead.

Anuja Chandramouli anujamouli@gmail.com
Author and new age classicist



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