Nothing in 2020 was immune to the pandemic. Even my hard drive crashed by June, shelved for months before a fix could be found.
Well before my laptop’s demise, the year had already presented its share of challenges.
Travel to Bhopal in January to support American blues performers at an international music festival.
February dedicated to centennial birthday travel and the U.S. President’s visit to Ahmedabad, managing logistics involving 100,000 people crammed into the world’s largest cricket stadium.
March and April, adjusting to a sudden, restrictive lockdown, then overwhelmed by efforts to repatriate thousands of Americans stranded in India. We established a rhythm to keep active: soccer, kickball, a walk every evening.
By May it became clear we’d miss annual leave in the U.S. We modified our routine for the long summer, adapting our outings around the torrents of monsoon.
The household in disarray after weeks of virtual learning, quarantined staff, unsteady access to routine consumables, we entertained ourselves with homespun camps: Space Camp in June; Cooking Camp in July.
School restarted and the local holiday season opened in August, no end in sight to limited gatherings. Poor old Ganpati, the elephant god, submerged without fanfare in tiny pools around Mumbai.
We liberated ourselves for a short trip in September, relieved by the green countryside of Karjat, but feeling like interolopers as we passed through small villages: did locals fear us as COVID vectors?
October, the RPMs notched upward. My hard drive was replaced. We decorated for Navratri and dressed up for Halloween.
This month, we voted. More Americans than ever before voted in presidential elections. Diwali lit up the city with lamps down below and fireworks overhead. Next week: Thanksgiving.
In December, finally, we will travel home. We hope. The raging pandemic remains a national humiliation. “Home” is under siege, gripped by sickness and uncertainty.
So much energy this year has gone to keeping afloat. So little remains for reflection. The events that marked the passage of time leave little space for creativity.
The year feels lost, keeps us circling, hikers at a trailhead in search of the route to a mirage in the distance.