To say that 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year would be an understatement. Soon after we rang in the new year and made a list of all the resolutions we would abandon after a few weeks, the joke was on us. Coronavirus became a global pandemic and by March, the entire world came to a screeching halt. Our hopes and plans for 2020 went flying out the window and terms like 'WFH', 'flatten the curve', 'social distancing' and 'new normal' became...well, the new normal.
But despite the fear and anxiety, the pandemic brought with it several silver linings. We were forced to slow down and be grateful for the things that truly mattered--like our loved ones, being able to feed ourselves and being of healthy mind and body. To end the year on a positive note, we're looking at all the things that happened in 2020 that truly restored our faith in humanity.
Remember when the pandemic began and the idea of a vaccine seemed like a distant dream? Well, who would have thought that not one, but multiple vaccines would have been ready before the year even ended? On December 2, the United Kingdom became the first Western nation to approve a vaccine for emergency use and the first nation in the world to approve Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Several other countries have followed suit, and India isn't far behind. Of course, we're still not sure about how long the vaccine roll out would take to immunise the entire world, but at least we know that the end of the pandemic is in sight!
We might blame coronavirus for all our problems, but let's admit it, our world was far from perfect pre-pandemic. Wildfires, floods, pollution, climate change--that was our normal. But when COVID-19 hit and human beings went into lockdown, something wonderful happened. The air quality in Delhi, one of the world's most polluted cities, dropped to double digits. Dolphins were spotted near the shore of Mumbai's Marine Drive. Deer were seen walking around in a town in Poland. Paris saw some wild pigs on its streets. Turns out the problem has been us all along--and hopefully we'll take cues from this when the pandemic is finally over.
In a tragic accident in Auguest, an Air India flight with 190 people on board skidded off the runway in Kozhikode in Kerala. While relief effort began at the earliest, some heartwarming stories about the humanitarian spirit emerged from the tragedy. Before the authorities could reach the site, a number of locals rushed to assist on the site of the crash. Helping the injured passengers out in the heavy rains, the first responders had already initiated relief efforts by the time ambulances arrived, putting their own safety and the risk of COVID-19 aside. From arranging food for diverted flights to queueing up outside blood banks in the middle of the night to make donations hours after the plane crash, Kerala rose up in the face of this tragedy, the people of 'God's own country' demonstrating their humanitarian spirit.
In August 2020, the continent of Africa was declared free of polio by the Africa Regional Certification Commission. Polio is a virus that spreads from person to person, usually through contaminated water, and can lead to paralysis by attacking the nervous system. It mostly affects children under the age of five, and can also result in death. India was declared polio-free in 2014, and the entire continent of Africa becoming polio-free is a big public health milestone. Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only remaining countries in the world that are yet to defeat the deadly virus.
We've all read about social media being bad for our mental health. But what if we told you about a story where social media truly made a difference? A few months ago, a video of an elderly couple running a tiny dhaba in Delhi went viral. In the video, the couple was seen tearfully talking about how they were unable to make ends meet. The result? The very next day, crowds gathered at the tiny south Delhi stall to eat their wholesome food, and people could be seen queued up outside it for several days. The video was shared by several politicians and celebrities, and AAP MLA Somnath Bharati even visited it a few days later. Today, Baba ka Dhaba is on Zomato!
In 2020, farmers around the country made history by holding the largest (still ongoing) protest in history! Farmers from predominantly the regions of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan have been protesting the three farm laws passed by the Indian parliament earlier this year. Far from being violent, farmers protesting at the national capital have displayed an immense sense of brotherhood and humanity by cooking meals together, feeding large crowds and praying together irrespective of their religious faith. More than anything, this protest is symbolic of the power of Indian democracy!
A baby girl in Tennesse, United States broke records after she was born from an embryo frozen for 27 years. According to news reports, her embryo was frozen in the year 1992, and was adopted by Tina and Ben Gibson, a couple who struggled with infertility. They connected with the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC), a non-profit in that stores frozen embryos that in vitro fertilisation patients decided not to use and chose to donate instead. The best part? This miracle baby's elder sister was also adopted as an embryo, and they are genetic siblings!
In 2014, Mr Muggles, a three-year-old "chunky" cat disappeared from his UK home at the age of three. His owner, Eloise Renyard, spent several desperate months trying to look for him--attaching 'missing cat' flyers wherever she went. And just when she gave up hope of ever finding him again, something truly heartwarming happened. Last month, Renyard stumbled across photos of a "skin and bones" stray cat shared on a "lost and found pets" Facebook page. One look at the pictures and she knew it was him. When she finally went to pick him up, Mr Muggles "came straight to me, curled up on my lap, purring and then fell asleep," she said. Okay, we're not crying, you are!
These stories just reinstated our belief in the power of hope. We hope 2021 has many such stories in store for us!
Featured Image: Twitter