The Bouncer. And the Ball After.
My Random Reflections on 2020
Cheers to a fabulous 2021 to you and your families! Wish you folks a lot of good health, wealth and wisdom!
It is not a story today. I begin with a set of Randoms.
The bouncer is the most dangerous delivery in cricket. No batsman likes facing it. There is nothing more vicious and lethal than a well directed bouncer.
But here’s the thing. The bouncer will shock and scar most batsmen. But it is not the one that always gets the wicket. More often, the innoucous straight deliveries after the bouncer are the ones that fool the bastman who’s anticipating another one soon. And induce the mistake.
2020 was the bouncer. 2021 could be anything after the bouncer.
In a year in which so many random bouncers hit us, here are some of my Randoms 2020.
My word for 2020 is Acceptance. I struggled with it at a lot of levels. Just coming to terms with it, and sometimes not being able to come to terms with it. Both were gut wrenching.
Knowing that the journey between awareness and acceptance is quite often a treacherous one.
Don’t judge the work by the appreciation it gets. People struggle to appreciate more than you think. For some it does not even occur. And there are some who over react. After hitting enough low points, I had a choice : To worry endlessly and give up the pursuit. Or just begin all over again.
The best part of 2020 was that there was enough time time to keep persisting.
A couple of weeks ago, a CEO of a large corporate house messaged me after I published the 48th of #1MinuteStories: ‘Uday, I have enjoyed every one of your stories. I have used some of them when talking to my team. Keep them coming and inspiring!’ It left me awestruck.
Keep doing whatever good. It is never as good as what it seems. It’s never as bad as what one feels.
Silence is overrated. We can only listen to that many birds chirping and leaves rustling. 2020 was a year when silence was in fashion for about 2 months. And then everyone started running away from it. People reached out to folks to talk and desperately craved for being listened to.
The pitstop of silence during the lockdown helped us to slow down and introspect. But we craved to hear the reassuring sounds of laughter, shrieks of joy and the hustle of traffic. Silence needs the noise as much the noise needs silence.
The last time I saw ‘Star Trek’, First Generation, I was in my 7th or 8th standard. In 2020, I got to see the whole series. At warp speed. And this time around I really understood each of the stories at a deeper level. The distant civilisations in outer space, the ethical challenges the crew and the captain face were no different than the existential ones confronting us.
My girls got me addicted to the warmth of The Fuller House and it soon became a lockdown evening ritual. I would go on to see the complete re-runs of The Big Bang Theory and Friends.
Amidst all the depressing uncertainity, there was sanity in the old, tried and tested. And no matter how much the middle tormented, the end would be always be happy.
People went back to history more than ever in 2020. The sheer amount of awareness on the happenings of the last 100 years sky rocketed in this year. OTT channels put out blockbuster historical content that got consumed. People were tired of the airy fairy stuff. The curious mind dug back deep into the times of pandemics, catastrophes and the world wars gone by and tried to stitch a pattern for the present times.
History always provided a perspective for the present. In 2020, a whole new generation figured out a way to use it as the lens to interpret the things around them.
Many days after online schools had begun, I saw both my girls chatting on the side during the class. I stormed into their room and gave a shout on discipline and behaviour. I would keep spying on them for the next few days. Until the missus pointed out one morning over coffee: ‘Tell me, would you ever know if they played the fool in the class at school? We cannot give them back a year of their lost childhood at school. The least we can do is to just let them be..’
Children stuck at ‘school from home’ has been the less spoken tragedy of 2020. Interfering parents. Exhausted teachers.
‘Am doing so many things’ used to be my lame boast to cover up ‘I am not finishing anything’. Multitasking is overrated too. It was the year when I managed to shake off my self imposed ADHD and learnt focus.
A bit before the pandemic ‘Gratefulness’ was seen as an art. There were workshops on ‘how to develop the art of being grateful’. Hopefully, 2020 has disrupted enough to not require us to attend a gratefulness session in a classroom.
2020’s silent message to humanity could be this: ‘Be grateful. And don’t expect being praised for being it’
To put out Forty eight #1MinuteStories meant that I did read a lot. Discovered Newsletters, Long reads and just so many books. Figured that I was comfortable listening to Podcasts at 2X speed. And still be there.
A year that helped me read and listen with purpose.
Finally, my biggest lesson of 2020. ‘You are the only person who gets to see your first drafts. So don’t frikking bother. Just get started’. Good is the enemy of great. But the obsession for great has often been my most frustrating block. An year back when I wrote the Randoms 2019, the biggest peeeve was my inabilty to convert awareness to action.
It took a pandemic to sort that out for me.
The bouncers will keep coming in 2021. So get ready to hit them out of the park. Or just play them with a straight bat.
Let’s Own this Year! Cheers!
2021’s #1MinuteStories Series will start from Tuesday, Jan 5th. I hope to get in some discipline and purpose in the Newsletter despatches! But that starts from the next post.
Have a great first week in 2021!