You better be good to me, 2021.

I am surprised, seeing that I am writing my first and last post of 2020 on Medium, and realizing how unproductive I have been this whole year as a writer/blogger. Although I came up with the Hindi translations, Charitranayak Eklavya & Mahanayak Eklavya of my English novels, God of the Sullied and Long Live the Sullied respectively, I believe I could have utilized the lockdown period more efficiently. But I’ll let bygones be bygones.

Well, 2020 had been a tough year for everyone as COVID-19 flipped the world upside down. More than a billion (yes, billion!) jobs were lost, millions died because of the virus, and people were separated from their families due to travel restrictions. My working hours were significantly cut short but I was lucky to be earning enough to pay my bills.

Today, my day started out as usual. I had 13:00 to 17:00 shift at the airport with Veronica. However, CBSA closed the VC room around 15:00 and I was glad they did so as it gives us a legitimate reason to close the office and leave early. While returning home, I read my last write-up of 2019 that brought back some memories from the past, making me realize the importance of a documented piece.

As soon as I entered home, I caught a whiff of lemon loaves being baked inside the oven. Amrita bakes some really tasty stuff. Just after, I saw freshly prepared lasagna and garlic bread for me. What was the wait then, I feasted as if there is going to be no tomorrow. Nani Ma was glued to the TV as usual. She has been religiously following the news related to farmers’ protest going on in India. Nana Ji sat in another room, listening to his radio.

A few good things happened as well in 2020. Things like getting to talk to Tania, a relatively new & cool friend from Delhi, having more time at home to play Call of Duty Modern Warfare on my PS4 Pro (I sold my console now as I have to buy PS5), getting a new MacBook Air M1, an iPhone 12, receiving Christmas gifts ($100 BestBuy gift card, wireless charging lamp, chocolates, cards, sports tumbler from Amrita and a green pair of socks from Hana), giving X-Mas gifts (mostly PKG laptop bags) to friends, cutting down on sugar, getting used to eating one meal a day, consuming blueberry+protein+chia seeds+mango smoothie, getting a part time job at a food factory to supplement my income, investing CAD 500 in crypto (fingers crossed) and publishing a few more books for my venture Think Tank Books.

This year leaves me with a hope for the world to get better and stronger in 2021, recovering from the losses caused by the pandemic. I am also looking forward to visiting my family in India next year around June/July. Mishthi is likely to come to Canada as a student and despite knowing that it is going to be me who would do all the research and hard work for her, I am excited for her future. I also have this hunch that almost all my siblings/cousins would follow my footsteps and immigrate to Canada eventually. More power to them! Lately, I have been helping Simran with her queries about immigrating to Canada as a student. She is an extended family but feels more like a friend. Not to mention, she is so cool.

In 2020, a few of my dear friends (Ranbijay, Somaya, Deepansha) filed their application for permanent residency to Canada. I am certain they would get it. Ranbijay owes me a big time for helping and pushing him to get done with the immigration formalities. And so does Deepansha, and Somaya too ;) Sanauwer is coming for her masters in May 2021. She is going to Victoria initially. Sahil, Manav and Shradha have completed their studies and would eventually apply for their residency. They moved from Victoria to Vancouver this year. One crazy but sweet friend Manveen flew back to India. I have no idea when/if she would be back. Whatever few months I got to spend with her were amazing. Though I guess this feeling isn’t mutual as I used to bug her to the point that she would get (almost) furiously mad at me.

I applied for my citizenship as well. I am guessing I would become a Canadian citizen in 2021. I am also hoping to come up with either a nonfiction or a fiction book (or both?) in 2021. I shall start working on my next project soon.

End of 2020 had me wondering and planning about a few tasks to be completed around mid 2021. Tasks like arranging for a new accommodation (preferably a high rise apartment) for myself and my family/friends coming to visit, study or settle in Vancouver, shopping for home appliances and furniture, buying much awaited PlayStation 5 (out of stock ever since its launch on Nov 12. Damn! Sony), applying and hopefully getting a decent job which could shape up my career (preferably law enforcement), and other tasks that may arise in the future.

So far, I got texts from Dhar Sir, Ritu Ma’am, Ashwarya, Shivakshi, Sukriti, Anmolpreet, Shagun, Ritika, Rashmi Di and Iveth, wishing me a happy new year. I am sure more texts/calls would be received later. I just called home and spoke with Dadi, Mommy, Papa, Chachu, Chhotu and Chunnu. Brother was gone to his friend’s place for new year’s party. He ain’t been taking COVID seriously because he thinks he is Superman. [Update: Devanshi, Yashima & Vidya texted as well. Devanshi’s mom sent her blessings and I could feel aunty’s love and blessings as I read Devanshi’s text. Shriya called but I was asleep, I called her back in the morning but she didn’t pick up. I am sure we’ll speak soon. I am waiting for Lovey’s call/text. Although, aunty (Lovey’s mom) sent her wishes and blessings already. She is one of the coolest moms I have met.]

Overall, I am glad that my family and friends in India, Canada and around the world safely navigated through the pandemic so far.

Now it is almost midnight here in Vancouver, one of the few places that gets to the new year at last. Goodbye! 2020. Welcome! 2021 - you better be good to me and everyone out there. #GoodBye2020 #HappyNewYear2021 #StayStrong

In the kitchen, doing dishes | Author | Publisher @ Think Tank Books | authorgauravsharma.com