By Biraj Dixit :
A door closes behind me
As I walk away
Dreams fly, memories cling
I walk with the marching day
I look behind for one last time
Though there’s nothing much to say
So, I leave a smile on the
Threshold of the passing day
Just like that
As we stand on the threshold of a passing year, an unhastened, easy smile breaks, simply sliding out of the many barriers of the ‘should-have-been’ about the year that was. Passing thresholds are all about taking and leaving. And so often than not what you take and what you leave determines your onward journey. Standing on threshold of an approaching year while bidding farewell to a departing one, one cannot but think of things that one takes along and all that is to be left behind. As if you are about to pack for a journey which in turn requires you to unpack so much - ideas, sentiments, habits – a bagful of collected things that needs to be emptied first so that you can pack only the required things in the bag again. And therein is the task, know what is required and leave out that which is not. In the annals of history, of all the things that the passing year will be known for, it certainly will be part of the chapter ‘pandemic’ – the story of how a virus shook the world.
While hope says the year to come should be the last in the chapter, scientific brains in the know-how of things say otherwise. Corona is a crown not easily shaken off. But the chapter will essentially be on how humanity faced a calamity and how, like many other catastrophes of the past, this calamity propelled humanity further ahead in a direction which shaped its future. What did humanity collect and what was left behind? A year full of medical glories, 2021 might have, very subtly, added to people’s zeal for finding remedies. Questions need answers. Can a virus be so powerful or has it come to bring us face-to-face with our own powerless realities? Is Nature - the biggest of all balancers- disliking the tilt towards human sustenance? Is humanity, including humans like you and me flowing with the stream, moving in right direction? When death is the ultimate, undeniable reality, what should be the nature of life? Of the many things that pandemic did, one was that it brought humanity face-to-face with the ultimate truth – death, thus changing a pattern of thinking.
People, hitherto saving for the rainy day, seeing doomsday, have started calculating their savings afresh – a bank balance or a bank full of memories, they are asking. In a very strange way, death has thrown light on the hugely miniscule thing called life. ‘Now’ has achieved its often-propounded yet never fully realised significance. If pages of history are to be turned to look at chapters following calamities, examples of people challenging frontiers, their own and their world’s, galore. A need for more openness resulted in pushing doors after doors, exploring the world full of ideas, and touching newer horizons became a need. This virus, too, found it easy to travel in a globalised world where nations’ boundaries had already become invisible. But so did measures to combat it. Medicines, vaccines all swiftly crossed borders saving precious lives in precious little time.
The virus and its demise will be a story of a rather collective world, different in its own ways yet bound by a sort of consciousness where ethos, values even habits have ceased to be very different. Who knows, but pages of history might describe these as firm steps taken towards creation of one world? It is, however, not always about marching ahead but marching ahead in the right direction. Will the pages of history describe the steps that we now take as marching in right direction? ‘Only time will tell’, will be an unconvincing answer. For, almost 10,000 years into civilisation, humanity knows well what will be in store for them if the obvious right steps are not taken. Whether mankind had the courage or not to give an appropriate answer that only time will tell. On the threshold of a passing year thinking about the ‘could-have-been’ would be a task in fruition. Let’s not waste time. Rather, we must busy ourselves collecting thing we need for the onward journey.
Let’s pack the enormous faith with which humanity approached year 2021, the fortitude with which it braved a calamity, the trust with which mankind, (with all the many human failings), stood together and above all the resoluteness and the resourcefulness with which it went at war with a collective enemy. On the threshold of another year, when, despite winning many battles, our war is still far from over, and history is hastily scribbling chapters of this war, its results and consequences, let’s make human decisiveness central theme of these pages of history. Let’s not just defeat a virus but also all infections that are holding humans back from marching in the right direction. Packed with faith, fortitude, trust, resoluteness and resourcefulness, on we go towards another year, another journey leaving smiles of gratitude on the threshold of year 2021. For the variety of experiences that it offered, it was indeed a good teacher. Salutation!