“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
Charles Dickens could have been speaking of 2020 when he began ‘The Tale of Two Cities’, a book that remains one of his masterpieces.
It was, no doubt, the worst of times! The world watched, helpless and horrified, as a tiny virus sneaked into its timeline, and wreaked havoc globally. No country was spared, as the whole of humanity went through a series of emotions – bewilderment, disbelief, understanding and finally, the realization that this was the mother of all challenges. Lockdowns creaked into place, masks came into being, sanitizers sold like hot cakes and social distancing became the new mot juste of the times.
Countries closed their doors, flights were stopped, travel became a rarity. The moment a glimmer of hope was seen, it was quickly scotched by the eager beavers who believed that nothing could go wrong, behaving disgracefully till things actually went wrong under their very noses. Often, it was innocent bystanders, who were standing nowhere in the vicinity, who were dragged in, unwittingly. All in all, it was a glum scenario with no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. For the virus, which mutated and rose in potency, could have been hiding in the very same tunnel.
Life had turned turtle for us personally as well. We were all set to go abroad to meet our precious grandchildren when suddenly, all flights were cancelled, and a lockdown imprisoned us within the country. That was heartbreaking, and yet, there was nothing we could do about it. Millions were in the same position.
As a writer, however, this was a particularly fruitful period for me, and for several of my writer friends. Our creative juices bubbled in a cauldron of literary activity, and our publisher, Dipankar Mukherjee, and his talented editor, Indrani Ganguly, made sure that they added on their own potent elements to spur us on. Hence, Readomania brought out seven anthologies on myriad themes, and all of us, literary comrades-on-arms made sure that we burnt the midnight oil and wrote for most of them. I was thrilled to find my stories nestling within five.
2020 will always be the COVID year for all of us. However, it will also remain the landmark year for me personally when I was able to bring out two solo books as well. The first whetted my appetite for thrillers stories and was an anthology titled ‘Where Shadows Follow – Tales that Twist and Turn’. (Readomania)
A fitting finale for the year was working on ten stories adapted from Shakespeare’s plays for children. The stories were done by November and were sent out to various young beta-readers, who perused them and let me know what appealed to them, and what didn’t. A few more readings and hopefully, that will be another piece of my heart out there for public viewing.
As December, my birthday month came around, and Christmas after, it was time to make a gesture of gratitude. As a giveaway, I decided that I would gift copies of my earlier book, 'Shadow in the Mirror' to reader friends and acquaintances.
As the New Year begins in earnest, it is only fit that I offer gratitude to all those who made the year that has gone by bearable.
So, thank you, to my incredible husband, my amazing daughter and son-in love, and my adorable grandchildren for fostering joy within me,
My two wonderful mothers, sisters, brothers-in-love and numerous nephews and nieces for having made me smile through the difficult times,
My intrepid publisher and his team who encouraged me and my never-tiring literary companions and writer friends who wrote and read along with me,
My colleagues at school and my students who constantly wrought magic by doing impossible things,
And, of course, all my friends, online and offline, who have always held my hand, encouraged me whenever I have posted anything, and helped me climb mountains…
Finally, to the Universe for having conspired to make things happen!
You know who you are, and you are all wonderful… thank you!