By Malih Rehman
Cover stories, wrapping up the year, tend to be predictable, sweeping through the many highlights that made waves, the achievements and the groundbreaking events.
Usually, I go through the archives of the stories written over the course of the year, or spend a quiet half an hour thinking back to the most memorable moments experienced. Never has it been more difficult to write a year-ender than in 2020.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, here’s a quick run-through of the facts that we are all very well aware of but which need to be placed here just in case, several decades later, this article gets Googled and the reader is not quite acquainted with the cataclysmic events that we have had to endure over the past many months.
So, 2020 was the year when the world was hit by a lethal pandemic. Death tolls rose and economies crumbled and people, all over the globe, withdrew into their homes. With an unseen fatal virus at large, life as we knew it came to a halt: there were no cinemas, concerts, festivals, fashion weeks or grandiose awards ceremonies. For a while there, there weren’t even any trips to the mall or dinner on the weekend at a restaurant.
Then again, a year-ender simply rehashing all that went wrong this year would be a depressing story — and a boring one. We’ve read about it so many times already, written about it, scrutinised it through scores of WhatsApp messages and dissected it with the aid of over-excited garrulous TV talk show hosts. With 2020 finally crawling towards its end and the hope that a heroic vaccine will swoop in and make the next year a much better one, it would be far more interesting to sign off the year on an optimistic note.
And, believe it or not, once you sift past the terror, the tragic loss of loved ones, the budgetary cuts, the endless struggle to remain emotionally strong with death looming right over your head, the hypochondriac urge to constantly get yourself tested for the coronavirus, the cancellation of travel plans, weddings, birthday parties and Eid dinners, the mind-numbing effort to operate through online conferences and the pressure to make constructive use of all the free time and not being able to do so — am I being repetitive? — there were actually quite a few silver linings hidden within the apocalyptic, lumbering clouds shrouding 2020.
With 2020 finally crawling towards its end and the hope that a heroic Covid-19 vaccine will swoop in and make the next year a much better one, Icon takes a look back at the rays of light in a dismal year. ( Images )
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