April 20, 2021 | Iknoor Kaur
2020 was tough. But we carried on.
Hope. But it’s so tough to feel hopeful right now.
2021 started with a bang. There was a renewed feeling of hope. We continued to maintain caution while slowly realigning ourselves to a sense of normalcy (what is normal anyway?). The hope we latched onto in 2020 seemed to somewhat reflect in a glimmer. Restaurants resumed operations, domestic travel took off, we were meeting friends, family and the vaccine reassured everyone of a better immediate future.
Anxiety gripped us yet again and today, as we’re standing at the end of the first quarter of 2021, things don’t look good. The fear we know so well has gripped us again. Our days begin with checking in with our loved ones and end with a prayer to keep them safe and well. As of today, there isn’t a person I know who is not affected by the second COVID wave. It’s all too familiar.
But this time it’s worse.
Words like adaptability, resilience, strength, optimism, positivity — these do seem hollow at the moment, if I am being honest. Yesterday, I had one of the most mentally, emotionally and spiritually draining days with bad news pouring in from every side; and I don’t live in a bubble, I am aware that I speak from a position of privilege here; confined to my house, with every amenity available, a stable job, an understanding boss, a loving family that is safe and looked after in these circumstances and friends who are a pillar of support and strength. But I feel low. I feel anxious. There is an underlying fear of the unknown, the worst. I hear stories of people unable to get tested despite standing for hours in hospital queues, all while being sick, weak and in pain. I hear from friends who are working on ground risking their lives every day. I hear of relatives across the country testing positive. I even hear of friends across continents dealing with this virus. COVID has been the great leveller. It doesn’t matter how much influence you have, where you’re from, everyone is standing in that line. It’s distressing and I would be lying to myself more than anyone else if I said that in the face of all that’s going on, I’m ok. I’m definitely not. No one is.
This is why it’s become even more important to communicate. Let’s talk to each other.
While we are struggling to find hope, let’s stand united. We are all on the same boat and yes, all we see right now is water around us. But we will hit land and we will get off this boat and we will survive, as long as we stick together; irrespective of hierarchy, status, bias, ideology, caste, creed, race, privilege, power — for humanity.
And as I struggled yesterday to hold myself up to this very same assertion, I realised the power of conversation and the raw nature of leadership in these times. We are all vulnerable right now — leaders equally much. This is why we need to talk, express, be transparent. No body expects anyone to put up a brave face right now, and those who do have their own conscience to deal with. We all need each other, and we have to take it one day at a time from there: with support, understanding and love — not judgement.
So, let’s not beat ourselves over the lack of hope we feel right now. Let’s rise above that and be thankful for the little things we can hold onto right now. Check in with your families, check in with your colleagues, check in with your teammates, check in with your friends — but DO NOT FORGET to check in with yourself.
There will be a better tomorrow. We just have to hold on a little longer.