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2022 was the year we learned to move on

If there is one thing that even the virus couldn’t stop, it was the politics—over the virus, with the virus, after the virus.

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You thought 88,966 fans rooting for their teams and gods—Messi and Mbappe—on 18 December 2022 was a celebration of the world’s most popular sporting extravaganza. It was more than that. The nerve-jangling epic final in Qatar that the world is unlikely to forget for decades was an indicator of normalcy, and also a reminder of the fragile human memory which has this fantastic ability to forget and move on. What have we moved on from?

It’s the pandemic, stupid.

2022 was the year we came out and got our world back as we knew it, well almost. It’s as if an alien trial had decided three years ago to put us through this agony, making us realise the importance of the mundane. Because the mundane is boring, we take it for granted.

While our muscle-flexing neighbour is still fighting the invisible enemy, most of us on the southern side of the Himalayas have returned to 2019. You read it right. Moving on and embracing the future is the hallmark of the modern human spirit. And a new year is that opportunity when resolutions are made. But when a virus is bent on putting the clock back—from economy to livelihood to the way we breathe—embracing 2019 (the last time the world saw a normal year) isn’t that bad an idea.

So here are five things that we got back as the virus eased its jaws. Some unchanged, some changed forever. Some still evolving under its shadow.


In March 2022, when the gyms reopened after the Omicron variant of the coronavirus subsided, the fitness freaks got their ‘life’ back—you cannot compare a home workout that is full of restrictions with the one at the gym. Performing the muscle-pumping Arnold press while you look into the large mirror or a dumbbell pullover, lying flat on a bench, is hard to replicate at home. And more than equipment, it’s the collective mojo that was missing.

Online fitness coaching did come as a replacement, but that couldn’t give you the experience of brushing your shoulders (pun intended) with local gym veterans—read the ‘Guddu Bhaiyas’ who often show up at the gym on their ‘Bult’ (Bullet motorcycle). Now their gym playlist that includes Kumar Sanu songs from the ’90s can be up for debate, but not their pro grip on fitness that inspires others. They are the ones who often help a newcomer get into the groove. 2022 brought them back. Or else, many would have had to keep peace with their ‘office chair stretches’ or conference room lunges or simply a walk to the washroom—convincing themselves of having burnt an extra calorie.

Also read: Govt, scientists, people — who gets to decide when Covid is over? Answer isn’t obvious


If there is one thing that even the virus couldn’t stop, it was the politics—over the virus, with the virus, after the virus. And elections were its biggest proof.

The virus did not halt democracy. But it changed the way elections were conducted. Curtailed timings for campaigning and extension of the ‘silence period’ before different phases of the election took the voice out of the electoral rumble.

As late as February 2022, when Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab, and Uttarakhand went to polls, the shadow of the virus loomed large on the dance of democracy. It’s with Gujarat and Delhi’s municipal corporation polls that we saw the full range of motion the festival India is used to witnessing—PM Modi addressed 31 rallies in Gujarat and held three roadshows.

With the looming new variant, will we bring back the debate on simultaneous elections in India?

Work from home

How India works and studies changed forever. Pandemic or not, the learning of working/studying remotely is no less than an evolution even if it was a crisis response. Two years is a long enough period to experiment an idea and implement it, fine-tune it to meet the demands of a world that has returned to normalcy. The lockdown gave us that learning capital and we made some gains. But has the unlearning already started? Elon Musk doesn’t like his employees working from home. Quite uncanny of a ‘maverick’ who talks about the future and explores space ideas. He has cancelled Twitter’s work from home option. And Musk isn’t the only one thinking on those lines.

Survey shows that Indian employees prefer a hybrid work model and cite improved productivity and better work-life balance. With fears of Covid surge again, Musk might have to eat his own words. A day might come when governments would force the WFH model to ease traffic. Fancying I am. That’s the future I look forward to but without Musk’s idea of tunnels to nowhere that are also aimed at easing congestion.

Also read: Hotels shut, taxis sold, guides ‘begging’: How Covid devastated tourism in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur


In April 2020, newspapers flashed images of migrants. That India you saw walking in standalone pictures, mostly travels in General compartment bogies for distances both long and short. They cannot afford a reserved ticket like you and me. Labourers with bags, babies and some backbone commute to the metros from far-flung underdeveloped pockets to earn a living. That’s why the national transporter becomes India’s lifeline.

But social distancing made sure India travelled in ‘compartments’—the railways were running only fully reserved trains to avoid crowding, attempting to prevent the virus spread. The railways announced on 1 March the restoration of general seats under unreserved category, facilitating passengers to travel with ‘General Ticket’.

Many have said that the virus is a great equaliser. Not for those who cannot afford a 6X6 feet compartment. But in 2022, they got their crowd back.


There will be a time when governments would declare victories over Covid. But that would be a half-truth. The 2019 novel coronavirus still smiles crookedly inside our bodies that it made its playground. It has left its vestiges inside swathes of the population that experiences extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, loss of smell, muscle aches and conditions that science will take years to understand.

Science calls it long Covid. As if the pandemic itself wasn’t long enough.

Views are personal.

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