The Year That Was
2020 has changed us and the world around in many different ways. Few could have imagined the impact of the pandemic on how we live, work, shop and entertain. It is a year that will always be a defining chapter in our lives. Whether we have got Covid-19 or not, the coronavirus has left its mark deep within all of us. Each of us will take away very different memories and learnings from 2020. Even though the transition from December 31 to January is just a day, the change of year tends to bring hope – and in this case the promise of both herd immunity and vaccines.
I spent much of January 2020 travelling. A visit to the US with a side-trip to Guatemala for the Antigua Forum. I love travelling. Little did I know then that it would be my last international trip for a very long time. I woke up to the possible impact of the virus in late February when a friend sent an email about the possible death and destruction that was likely to come because of the coming spread of the coronavirus. In March, I started tracking the virus closely. By mid-March, I had realised that some harsh measures were likely in India also – though I had underestimated the severity of the lockdown that the government finally imposed.
I was not fully prepared for working from home. My office desk and cabin full of books was where I felt most comfortable. And suddenly, that was all taken away. I did not even get time to bring my office desktop home, and so was stuck using my laptop for work for the next few weeks. We had not set up WiFi to cover the entire house, so the hotspot was how I connected to the Internet. I was quite unprepared for work from home.
Things improved once the lockdown was eased – I got my office desktop and chair home, bought a better table from Ikea, improved WiFi coverage at home. And by late June, I had also got back many books from the office. The distant months of April and May are just specks in my memory now. I have to strain hard to recollect how those days went by.
The past pandemic months have been quite productive in terms of new ideas. I wrote about the April-September period recently. With each day identical to the previous one – wake up, get to desk, work, back to sleep – and no variation in terms of going out or meeting people in person, it has been actually possible to perhaps get more done than I could have imagined at the start of the year. Then, I had an idea called Velvet Rope Marketing that I was exploring. Over the rest of the year, many different tracks have started – how to rethink marketing and customer loyalty, what we need to do fast-track Netcore’s growth for the future, a new short-form email idea in the form of MyToday, imagining what an Indian Revolution that creates political and economic transformation could look like, starting Prashnam, doing two weekly web shows in hippoBrain and MartechBrain. Amidst all that the best thing has been that I have rediscovered writing. The old habit of posting something new on my blog each morning has made me much more mentally active than I otherwise would have been.
Tomorrow: Part 2