a quiet year quite a year. The world entered 2021 already exhausted from the Covid-19
pandemic. All we wanted to hear was that the vaccines were ready, they worked, and we could forget
about masks or social distancing and start living again. But that wasn’t on the
For me, the early months were repetitive and uneventful. It was only at the very end of March that I decided to stop hiding from life, starting with quitting DotA, just before a terrifying month and a half that saw the Delta variant of the virus ravage Delhi. Soon afterwards, I experienced unrelated health problems of my own as a pair of chronic conditions reached new levels of severity due to a year of minimal physical activity and constant stress. The period from April through June is a blur now, dominated by fear of the variant, anxiety about my own struggles, and, through it all, my continual efforts to establish A Place For My Head, which gave me something else to think about (alongside revisiting familiar comforts such as the wonderful universe of Percy Jackson).
Nothing lasts forever, of course. July came. No matter how much I despaired, my family’s love and care kept me safe and sane. Thanks to our combined efforts, my health issues came under control with medication; I resumed the crucial physiotherapy that had been interrupted by the arrival of the pandemic in the first place; and, less than a week later, I resumed the exercise routine I’d had to pause so long ago. I felt like a new man. The second wave passed as well, leaving us traumatized and afraid… but alive.
Grieving. But alive.
By the end of August, everyone in my family and our de facto bubble was fully vaccinated. We started visiting certain places that we knew to be safer than others, taking every precaution but trying to avoid being trapped inside the house. We even took in a few movies at the theatre—a nerve-wracking experience, but worthwhile. I met my closest friends, in one case for the first time since 2019! Life seemed to be moving back toward normalcy, though one tempered by the continued presence of the virus… until the even more infectious Omicron variant appeared. Suddenly, it was as if there was a giant clock in the sky counting down the hours until we had to return to a state of captivity in our homes.
And return we did in the second half of December. All outings had to be paused again. Walking down the stairs in my own building became a health hazard once again. The sense of profound malaise and uneasiness that all the activity had kept at bay returned. Granted, we do have a better understanding now of how to live during a lockdown, so it isn’t the same as the unprecedented measure we started with, but this isn’t how any of us wanted to bring in the new year.
Despite all that, though—despite the apparently endless nature of the pandemic, seemingly stretching infinitely into the future and into the past—good things happened too, and I am grateful. I can’t overstate the importance of leaving behind DotA and breaking down the walls I had erected around myself. I did more this year than ever before (a lot of it on GitHub). I’m publishing this on my own website, which I built after nearly two decades of procrastination. I’ve got a newfound confidence in my skills at every level, and I seem to have more and more interesting work to look forward to with every passing day.
Healthwise, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since March of 2020, and I’m steadily moving towards being fitter than I have been in many years, pandemic or no pandemic. In a matter of months I’ve (mostly, not entirely) dealt with problems that have plagued me all my life. Creative pursuits like photography and theatre are beginning to interest me again for the first time since the pandemic started.
Who knows? Maybe—just maybe—instead of devouring month after interminable month, the Omicron variant will move quickly, burn itself out in short order, and ultimately reveal itself to truly be as mild as it seems on the surface. And (dare I even hope?) maybe—just maybe—this will be the last variant of concern, as some have speculated.
To you, to your near and dear ones, to all my fellow inhabitants sharing our only planet: a very happy new year. May it bring peace, joy, and prosperity. Some losses are irrecoverable, but may the world be a better place at the end of 2022 than it is today.
As the saying goes, این نیز بگذرد. This too shall pass.
As it happens, along with signalling the end of one year and the beginning of another, the 1st of January was my father’s birthday. He passed away nine years ago. Every year is a little different, but I always think I’ll let the day be one of rest and remembrance, themed around those interests we shared. I managed to hit quite a few of the right notes this time.
For one thing, I got partway through Burn After Reading before being interrupted—he loved the Coens, I love the Coens, and watching this at the cinema was one of the most enjoyable times he, my sister, and I ever had together. (As much as I love their other films too, I think this one may be the Coens’ best.) For another, I wrote this entry, or part of it at least, to the sound of 1978’s Tormato by Yes. He used to play it practically every other day. It’s still one of my favourites.
I thought I’d avoid writing any code since it isn’t exactly restful, but I was impatient to continue tinkering with a side project for work. Considering his own work as a security consultant and software developer is what sparked my lifelong obsession with computers, I think that’d be alright by him. Oh yes, and to do it, I had to take a detour through Emacs Lisp, which I think would have amused him, considering that he was the one who introduced me to Emacs back in the ’90s, though I resisted it until 2006. My plans would usually involve rereading a Terry Pratchett novel too—another shared favourite—but I didn’t have enough time for that.
Oddly enough, due to a series of unexpected events, I ended up having a Nirula’s pizza for lunch. He didn’t like Nirula’s as much as I do—really, almost no one does—but we’d occasionally grab a quick meal there before or after a movie.