Since my niece was born on this day three years ago today, the new year celebrations have been quite unfamiliar for us. The whole world celebrates along with us as she grows a year old, every year. Or so we have convinced her and her parents. This year is no different, albeit a tad muted. But still, the folks all-around plan to celebrate.

Knowing how all my plans for 2020 were mercilessly crushed by the pandemic, I had no expectations from 2021. I knew it was going to be more of the same dreadful cycle of panic, despair, and hope. At the same time, I also wished I and all my dear ones sail through, see the end of the year.

As I sit here today, looking at the year gone by, all I can do is smile. It began with a phase as dark as my family had ever seen. But it brought us all close, gave us the courage to stay strong. We got back on our feet, stronger. We learned to live with the virus, masked whenever outside. Vaccinating ourselves. Slowly, gradually, we wandered, unhesitant, outside our homes. Each one of us established our own new rules, routines, and traditions around travel.

We met our friends, got nostalgic for the days that we had left behind. We got hungry, got drunk and laughed our hearts out. I witness my office welcome my colleagues, the floors, and pantries reverberating with grumbles again.

I am fortunate I could do all of that. And a lot more. That I watch my crazy friends share their plans for celebrations with booze and snacks. That I would watch the skies light up with fireworks one more time. I am fortunate that I am about to get ready and join my family to celebrate my niece growing older by another year.

And if you are reading this, know that, in one way or the other, you are too. Just look back and find out why.

Resilience. And kismet. The two words I would remember 2021 by. Wish you a happy new year, you all!

Artwork by David Wirzba on Unsplash