For 2 years in a row, we have been house arrested, by force as well as voluntarily. Never imagined in my weirdest dream that I will be scared to move out of the house but 2020-21 taught us to be patient with life… not to take it too seriously… live in the present… be thankful… for there can be no tomorrows…
Two years in a row, I did not go out and celebrate the New Year eve but spent the evening with my family… ordered food and ate it solemnly. There was no invitation from friends or family neither we dared to invite anyone, rather we discouraged someone who was keen to join us for the evening. Fear of unknown was at its peak.
On 16th December 2021, we had a get-together of friends at a Farmhouse and my guess is that everyone, who joined accepted the invite as it was in the open under the sunny skies. It may sound funny now but after the event for next few days, we checked on each other to find out if all is okay with them. One case of Covid19 would have sent the entire gang into isolation.
Now, we have almost covered the second month of 2022 and the cases of the Covid along with its variant Omicron is not only in the news but has affected many of us. Thankfully, the variant though virulent, is milder and not fatal. However, no one is willing to take the chances and stubbornly refuses to physically socialize.
My sister(s) and brother along with their family got infected and were quarantined for over a week at their homes. Normally, if one’s close relation is unwell, we visit them to cheer them up but in this case no such visitation only checking their status over phone. And the message is loud and clear that none is welcome to visit vise’ versa.
In my younger days, I could visit anyone be it my friend or relative without prior information (there was no means of doing it either) but then as I grew up and got entangled in the corporate race, the energy, urge and time disappeared and all such visits became an occasion. Even then, one would try and catch up at least once a month or two. The Pandemic killed that too, I haven’t seen my sisters and brothers for many months now.
January 28 happens to be a quirky date for my family… it’s a birthday that is shared by my brother-in-law, my better-half and yours truly… it is also the marriage anniversary of my brother. In better times, we used have a gathering at home to celebrate but this year was different. Fortunately, our son was here with us after a gap of few years (advantage of WFH)… Delhi Government was considerate enough to lift the ban on restaurants dine-in which prompted us to plan to go out. I persuaded my sister & bro-in-law through my nephew to join us and settled for an early dinner so that they could reach home before the night curfew starting at 10pm. It is actually farcical to impose the night curfew to control the pandemic as if the virus is waiting to strike as soon as the clock ticks to 10 O’ Clock!!!
My dear friend Gora (with whom I had many memorable escapades), officially turned SIXTY this January (actually he still has a year to achieve the feet) and as per terms of employment, retired from the CGS on 31st January. I had a long chat with him and suggested we should have a Retirement Binge Party. But he cut me short saying, ‘No party till we return to complete normalcy’ in other words, “Thanks, but you are not welcome in the foreseeable future”…
Thanks to my other dear friend Indro, we could break the jinx and meet up over drinks n dinner at the Air Force Golf Club courtesy yet another dear friend Gr. Captain (Retd) Suranjan Choudhary aka SuroKhuro. Indro, after 10 months 10 days of enjoying the pleasure of living with family was going back to Baghdad to join work. It also meant beginning of his bachelor days, and as had been the practice for last few years, he stops over in Delhi at least once in his to-and-fro journey to meet up with friends. This year, though, we could not arrange for a larger space to have big gathering and had to accept the constraint of club restrictions to limit the numbers. The joy of meeting friends after a long time was visible through the vibrant vibes we exuded.