The picture you see is where my feet take me most mornings. It’s quiet here at this time, hardly any creature – big or small – about. Trees stand tall as if on guard, a brave sun tries its best to break through stubborn clouds that insist on blocking its path. As I walk, I might see a squirrel or two, and sometimes even birds appear to quickly disappear into the unknown. I walk, run, breathe deep, then make for home. I am thankful for this.

A year of isolation and silence; fear and confusion; grief and sense of hopelessness. A bleak picture but that has been the year of 2020 – the year of the pandemic, the year when the Corona virus spread its malignant wings over the world and is still holding us all hostage. The good news is that vaccines from various pharmaceutical companies have started rolling in and are being administered to front line workers, seniors at long term care homes, then hopefully to the rest of us.

This was also the year to spend time with family, make a bubble of people who we see regularly. We stayed indoors during the lockdown, found comfort in the simpler things in life, tried to get a glimpse of a smile reflected in eyes barely visible above the confines of a mask. We prayed and looked out for neighbours, supported essential workers and local businesses. In all of this what stood out for me is we never let hope slip away. Under strict health regulations weddings, birthdays, festivals became virtual events. We carried on. We survived. Teachers and students faced the daunting task of teaching and being taught in virtual classrooms. I have special respect for teachers who not only were thrown into this situation earlier in the year with very limited resources and training, but in a lot of cases had to monitor their own kids’ virtual learning at the same time.

As the months marched with no respite from the pandemic, I discovered free resources offered to writers and began to take advantage of them. Perhaps this is what steered me to finally publish on amazon an e-book of my personal essays What will It Be This Time under my author name Purabi Sinha Das. Was it the utter desolation of a lockdown, a sense of deep loss, a time when every waking moment was filled with fear and uncertainty, was it then I shouted – enough, I must break out of this world turned upside down? Yes, I believe, it was the lockdown that finally imbued me with courage to have my work published. The book is small, filled with my observations and recollections of life growing up in India then migrating to Canada. So, I am thankful I could and did turn my fears about an uncertain future and used it to turn a dream into reality. Looking back, I can say this has been a period of reflection, and long hours spent at the computer generating stories, poems and essays. My first novel will launch in the spring of 2021.

Going through my travel albums made me realize our last destination was Grand Cayman we visited in January 2020. Digging deeper into the albums I came across a picture of me taken at the very last in-person writer’s conference I had been to way back in October 2019 – BIPOC writers connect presented by the Writers Union of Canada. Since then, it has been virtual Zoom meetings. Our church has had to adopt on-line prayer service which has been a lifeline for me, personally. I will attend Christmas service also in this fashion. Christmas this year will be very quiet, just the two of us, but we are thankful for this. This time of pandemic has taught us to be nimble and embrace any kind of change that comes our way, to work together for the common good; it has invoked feelings of generosity and kindness, taught us to appreciate our family and life in general and never to take anything for granted.

We are on this road together and my prayers are with you and your family, now and always. Blessings and joy from our family to yours. Stay safe. Be well.

Shalom.

Happy Christmas.

Purabi

#christmas2020 #amwriting #seasonofhope #hoepisheretostay #pandemic2020diary #virtualchristmas2020

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