Serendipity: Ode to 2020

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Abrar Jamil

Polaris. The lucida of Ursa Minor continues to glow, unperturbed. Maybe the brightness of it is why our telescopes lock on to it, while the other smaller stars of the Little Dipper succumb to inconspicuity. Without its subsidiary components, the constellation loses any meaning of itself.

It’s the little things that you miss the most. The cool breeze against your hair on a brisk, morning walk; a sip of refreshing tea or frothy, aromatic coffee; the delicate, soporific effect of sun rays penetrating through the warm blanket that makes for an enjoyable catnap. You can rejoice at the alluring beauty of the setting sun or glittering dewdrops on verdant grass. You would be charmed by the mellifluous, nocturnal singing of nightingales. You can appreciate the radiant brilliance of night lights or fireflies as you walk home to a loving family and a filling dinner — only, you don’t.

You’re not to blame here. You’re perhaps too busy, or less approving. People tend to be pejorative — it’s in their nature. People like to sulk, and put life at blame for any and all shortcomings they face. Just like them, you too, believe it might assuage your distresses. That makes you normal as a person, but that’s where you are wrong.

You shouldn’t require an expensive gift or an outstanding score to be happy. You don’t need to stuff yourself full with delicacies to enjoy yourself. You don’t need to travel the world to admire the beauty of your surroundings. Your birthday shouldn’t be the only day special to you as a day. Every single day and night is special, and filled to the brim with delightful bounties. They’re supposed to make you euphoric, but you’re not used to that.

Life is a bottomless chalice of pleasant occurrences. There might be part of a dish you don’t like, but that doesn’t give you the right to deplore the rest of it. A plethora of good things happen to you all the time, more or less so than others. You don’t feel it, but it’s there. It surrounds you in a nebula, much like a dense fog that obscures your vision. Its ubiquitous yet ethereal presence is why you’re not tired of life till this very day. If not for it, you would probably have degenerated into pieces from agony a long, long time ago.

Some of those things require you to connect with it better in order to enjoy them. You don’t need to look for it — you wouldn’t find it even if you do. Just acknowledge its existence. Become part of it. Life is bittersweet, but it can be sweeter. Learn to savour bitterness as a different flavour of life, and feel that it only accentuates the sweetness even more. Look at the brighter side of things — it’s how you look at things that changes the ambience, from a bleak grey to a warm, soothing pink.

The year was a little bumpy — no lie. What with the pandemic causing a mess, locking us up in our homes and so on. If you had to define 2020, go for ‘aptitude test’ instead of ‘solitary confinement’ or worse, ‘living hell’. The outbreak is only one blemish on a huge canvas. Problems — they are omnipresent. There are ways to fix most of them. When a piece checks your King, you can either block it, take that piece or simply, move the King.  

The list of good things, in contrast, is endless. Have a moment to take stock of that. Bask in glory as the ‘Class of 2020’. Feel good about your friends and family still being with you — physically or virtually. Have a game night around the fireplace. Do stuff you haven’t had the time to do before. Gaze up at the night sky and count the stars. Cherish the opportunities of the passing year that’s getting shorter by the second; a blessing in disguise. It’s best not to let minor issues ruin your chance to enjoy the pleasant experiences. Don’t however, take any of these for granted, though. You don’t need to start a gratitude journal for this. Thanking someone simply for being there is enough to show you care.

Next year might be easier or harder, depending on how YOU look at it. This year will only make you like the next one more. Give it the proper valediction it deserves; you will miss it. Infuse your bitter emotions into a sky lantern and let it fly far, far away, along with the year. And remember, a sky full of lanterns is a breathtaking sight indeed, but even a lone one in an empty sky, lighting up the darkness around, has no less beauty of its own.

“When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”

– Paulo Coelho


Abrar Jamil is a sucker for anime and ridiculous food combos. He would eat almost anything with chopsticks. Send him anime suggestions at [email protected]


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