The bond of hope binds us all: A story by Narayani V Manapadam

 Hello Team ALS,

As Mini logged off on the final day of 2020, she thanked her lucky stars that she still had her job intact. As evening set in, she took out her Chardonnay she had purchased on her trip to Paris before the pandemic had set in. She poured it into a wine glass, and in between bits of cheese, ushered in the new year. Revenue had taken a hit in her organization, but she was confident that normalcy would be restored soon. ‘Cheers to that’, she raised the glass to herself.

Dr. Majumder donned his PPE suit and put on the mask. A new patient had been admitted to the Covid ward, and his duty had begun. 2021 would be just another day for him, tending to hysterical patients, or watching grieving family members when they bid an invisible tearful adieu to the departed. Hopefully the vaccine would bring about a semblance of sanity in the lives of countless health workers across the world. However, until then, he had his task cut out – to serve humanity.

The Carnatic music concert of Mrs. Jayashree Kannan was a resounding success. She did miss the halls, where connoisseurs would listen in rapt attention to her songs, and the thundering applause that followed. However, desperate times called for desperate measures, and she streamed her music live on Zoom. The personal touch was absent, but the humane one lingered on. She had raised enough money to help not-so-famous and upcoming instrumentalists.

Behari Babu had woken up much before the cock crew. Riding his cycle, he distributed milk sachets to a couple of colonies on Arthur Road. Lockdown, red zones, e-passes – all these terms were not for people like him. 2021 meant nothing to him. Yet he hoped for better days, when he could visit his ailing parents in the village, without any fear of infecting them.

The Saxenas finally drove off to Manali. It would be freezing cold, and it would definitely not be secluded. But the five-year-old boy had been craving to go out. The man of the house too wanted a respite from deadlines, and his wife was only too glad to give her household chores a break. What was in store for them in 2021? Nobody knew. But like any other middle-class Indian family, they wanted access to healthcare and security of their loved ones. Maybe the vaccine would bring about that change.

Different persons – divided by geography and profession, united by hope and humanity. Are they wrong in their means of welcoming 2021? Is anyone less inferior just because they didn’t conform to societal norms of celebrations during a pandemic? The answer is a resounding no. Every one of them has contributed to society, to our nation. They too have lost their loved ones. But they still march on – with hope. They know that a new dawn will arise from the ashes of the past. And life will be beautiful again.