Search This Blog

Saturday, December 26, 2020

New Year 2021


New Year let us unmask the many masks of irrelevance, unreason; sanitize the unclear perceptions and unscientific attitudes and stay safe from pessimism of insuperability and panic. 


Cautions are inevitable and solutions are surging forth


I have set on a relay journey across the globe few insects [friends of humanity] from 2017 on a decade long mission; it started from Cape of Good Hope.


They were merely meant to observe and their observations will be passed on to robots to record for posterity. While this process was going on there were some disturbances felt in the atmosphere from end of December 2019, this disturbance struggled to get a name as if struck in Iceland’s Names Committee a few decades back. However in early February 2020 it got its name as COVID-19 [CO stands for corona, VI is for virus, and D is for disease official name for the disease caused by the novel Corona virus.


The worst part is it managed to enter even the Iceland as COVID19 VEIRAN, had it come a decade ago the Iceland‘s Names Committee would not have allowed it as Icelandic language was not allowed to have the letter, C according to purists.


So, for want of time and the torrid times we have had, I am recording their reports from January 2020 till December 2020 with certain interpretations. These were from some of them from some parts of the world in several languages, still not complete because I could not filter, alter and edit all of them. However, as the New Year approaches I thought I would collect whatever I could and present them. Whenever, any word from any specific language or a term referring to any particular culture is mentioned the meaning is given within brackets.


VIRUS conveyed the importance of


Values vital to individuals and societies;

Interdependence of individuals and societies;

Responsibilities of individuals and societies;

Utility of humane spirit of individuals and societies;

Scientific approaches of individuals and societies.



We enter into a rather peculiar new year where all realms of activities are aspiring to surge ahead with renewed hope and expectations as they slowly saunter in the new atlas that adapts to new normal.


A new normal where the virus spread everywhere, no one could go out anywhere and initially authentic diagnosis and remedial measures were to be found nowhere.


A new normal which made humanity to contemplate where are we heading towards.


A new normal which reminds us of Donald Rumsfeld’s famous verse

The Unknown

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know”, and

And what Phenella writes in The Unwritten Comedy”.

“To be ignorant of many things is expected
To know you are ignorant of many things is the beginning of wisdom.
To know a category of things of which you are ignorant is the beginning of learning.
To know the details of that category of things of which you are ignorant is to no longer be ignorant.”


As Covid-19 spread all over the world acting as an unimaginable leveler impacting everyone everywhere the various actions, reactions and feelings in multiple locations must be preferably conveyed through the words and phrases of every nation as they say in Mayan Yucate language spoken in Belize, ‘Jun t'aan ma'u tsook t'aano'obi’ [ one language is never enough] to express them all].


As Covid-19 started getting identified as a Pandemic and since the regulators had to address the crisis by putting in place certain strict preventive measure they coined the term ‘Social Distancing’ instead of ‘Physical Distancing’.


This reminded me of T.S. Eliot’s words in East Coker, part V:

Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion.


So, a new normal emerged, perhaps, ushering in the most holidayed year of this century for the whole world when suddenly many busy human activities had to come to a halt and help environment to breathe free from all sorts of pollution and allow other species to revisit their space on this planet. The fika moment as the Swedish say arrived [a moment to slow down and appreciate the good things in life] when in Belgium zelfs fietspedalen bewogen niet [even bicycle pedals did not move]. Handshakes shifted to Namasthe [Sanskrit –I bow to you] and gbàdύrà [Yoruba in Benin] and everyone realized idunnu ni ilera to dara [ in Yoruba - happiness is good health].

Tolakar mhoubaeahar now khettasiemrab ka trauv ke baohbngchaol der [Cambodia’s Siem Reap food courts too were deserted].The famous Bulgarian Ailyak or Swahili Hakuna matata became the norm everywhere [the art of doing everything slowly with no rush, while enjoying the process and life in general]. The cosmetic industry missed the beurre de karité non comédogène from Côte D’ivore [Non comedogenic shea butter], the joyous tourists sipping grogue beer on the beaches of Sal island in Cape Verde was also missing. Comoros, the local countrymen call as Masiwa, the word  "Comoro" comes from the Arabic qumr , "the moon" or qamar "whiteness", this nation known for its frequent coups, lost its even meager revenue from its  Ylang-Ylang flowers which are grown on the sides of the Karthala volcano for their oil which is used as a base for perfume.

ακόμη και η Ικαρία της Ελλάδας δεν γλιτώθηκε από το covid-19

akómi kai i Ikaría tis Elládas den glitóthike apó to covid-19  [ Greek- even Ikaria of Greece was not spared from covid-19 because Ikaria-an island of Greece the average age is 90 most people live long and lead a healthy life.


Did Hungarians have premonition several centuries ago to come with a different expression, though being in Europe, Hungarians don’t say “It’s all Greek to me”, they say “It’s Chinese for me” (Ez nekem kínai). It is tough to fix this Rubik cube’s (by Erno Rubik of Hungary].


Iran moved ahead with its proverbial Omid or Umeed [hope] Âsemun be zamin nemiyâd [Persianit is not the end of the world].

Paraguay had to refrain from  its Gurani hospitality Ja’uta la tereré
“Let’s drink tereré
.”  “Tereré” is a yerba mate (loose tea) based beverage. 

Iraq , once the Cradle of civilization in Ancient Mesopotamia and Sumer where actual writing and the wheel were invented, but now terribly ruined, leads its life like , ‘What's Left of Me’, by Kat Zhang's a shocking, thought-provoking, and emotionally charged story of two souls sharing one body. People seem to have the same expression to both virus and human beings Wazim lê bêne [in Iraqi Sorani Kurdish means leave me alone]. This is from a population which once had an attitude of,’ ‘Don’t think about what is missing so you won't miss what is existing’. It was sad to see how a civilization can be ruined by dirty politics.

Egypt, whose historical importance is known to the world and who presumably knew that the earth was made of chemicals and the Egyptian word kēme (chem), which stands for earth, was in fact the origin of the word chemistry.

Their chemistry with nature and psychological attitude is well reflected in the ancient Egyptian Arabic proverbs like, ‘illi yshūf balwit ġiruh tihūn ʿlīh balwituh’ [Egyptian Arabic means seeing someone else’s problems makes yours look small]. This attitude saw them through the crisis of 2020 with comparatively less psychological depressions


In Indonesia both business and bis [bus] came to a halt as people started using sepeda [bicycle].


Everywhere everyone seem to experience on the outside almost a sepulchral Stygian silence which made audible even in urban areas Psithurism [Greek-The sound of leaves rustling in the wind ] especially kuru yaprak [Turkey - dry leaves] and inside everyday haunts with eerie episodes, where assumed eternity of life evaporated into ethereal mortality and left some in Lebensmüde [German -Weary of life] ,some in Litost [Chez -A state of anxiety and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery] or silenced into Shouganai [Japanese -Connected to the idea of fate, this word means that something can’t be helped, so why worry about it? Worrying won’t stop the bad things from happening; it will only stop you from enjoying the good ones] as lockdowns, which definitely reduced the spread and casualty, a mokita  [Kirinina-New Guinea -truth everybody knows but no one speaks] and all other well intended measures to control the pandemic, at times proved not so effective when, only whenever, normal or usual activities resumed which manifested to a clueless population subjected to prolonged confinements a Trencaclosques  [Catalan language spoken in Andorra- Puzzle] and to look at most remedial recommendations as Schlimmbesserung [German - A so-called improvement that makes things worse] and felt a sense of Bérézina [ French -More than a serious failure, a defeat] and kicked one back to kurbus [Estonian- sadness] as increasing cases did not give one any sense of Raak m-emin  [Algerian you are safe] feeling.


Phobia pervaded everywhere One heard often in Congo’s Lingala O zali komona lokola o zali kozanga pema? Are you short of breath? If anyone tried to hide it then it became "ilunga" Tshiluba language [spoken in south-eastern DR Congo]"a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time".



All these  ushered in a realization of intrinsic values of human life and respect for all other species and the value of matters of intrinsic importance at all levels - individual, families, society, natural environment and the whole world.


It was also a silent leveler from moneyed to Malang (Pershian origin percolated into many languages in Urdu a 'Malang' is a person who is not aware of himself and not  aware of the world,  intoxicated with the love of another and someone who has forsaken the world. Here used as in Pastho of Afghanithan used for nomadic uncaring POOR) everyone was equally affected.

Ultracrepidarianism was ubiquitous from grandma remedies to conspiracy theories to calibrated cut and paste messages on social media to even stories of Panspermia [The hypothesis that microorganisms may transmit life from outer space to habitable bodies; or the process of such transmission].

Ndiri kuda chiremba ( Shona in Zimbabwe I need a doctor) was heard frequently.  Nothing sweet moved around as even Guatemala, birth place of chocolate could not export its cacao, the word cacao derives from the Mayan “Ka’kau,” and chocolate comes from the Mayan “Chocol’haa.”  

Cyprus known as the 'Jewel of the Mediterranean' and legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, the ancient goddess of love and beauty where even those beautiful beaches bore a deserted look and one hardly heard Pame yia kafe? (Πάμε για καφέ?- Shall we go for a coffee?]

Israel as usual was focused on solutions and remedies starting with Tera Novel’s disinfectant to BATM’s quick saliva based test kits.

"Spice Isle", the nutmeg capital of the world Grenada did not witness its Kalinda, spelled Kalenda and Calenda, navel-to-navel contact between the male and female dancers. 


kama 'anhar alsafar alduwalii walaiqtisad fi khuf eamman , faqad hujiruu aydana bila sayih [ Oman Arabic- as international travel and economy caved in the caves of Oman too were deserted with no tourists]


In Venezuala excess of seguir las reglas para evitar la enfermedad [follow rules to avoid sickness] but los olores fuertes de los desinfectantes de hospital pueden evocar miedo [harsh smells of hospital disinfectants conjured up fear].

Equatorial Guinea known for wearing fancy wooden masks during celebrations, religious events and funerals were surprised to wear cloth ones always.

While in Philippines despite the pahimakas [last farewell of some] and moments of Daga sa dibdib [worry or fear. -"mouse in the chest"], their kinaadman [Filipino – knowledge] and acceptance of tadhanà [destiny; fate] they held to their proverbial trust in saying Bahala na [a Filipino expression of trust that outcomes will unfold within the harmony and natural balance of the Universe].

In El Salvadore  the Salvadoran women stopped  patting with the forearm or shoulder with "buenos dias"(good morning), "buenas tardes" (good afternoon), or "buenas noches" (good evening).


Bauxite and alumina of Guinea could not move and the Archipel de Bolama was deserted by tourists as people got scared of bats [Bolama, part of the Guinea-Bissau Archipelago of 88 islands is a complex recognized as one of UNESCO MAB (Man and Biosphere) Biosphere Reserves].  


Wearing papuče [Bosnian word for slippers at all times to avoid catching cold] was not enough nošenje maski takođe je postalo neophodno [wearing masks has also became necessary]. Il n'y avait aucune forme de performances en direct de crosse et de hockey sur glace au Canada [There was no form of live lacrosse and ice hockey performances in Canada]. In Chile [in Chilian Spanish] it was almost a refrain Qué Fome! [How boring! ] harto De noticias sobre virus  [fed up with  news on virus]. While Cuba known for [besides it cigar, sugar and Son cubano -a genre of music and dance with upbeat rhythm] ,its excellent, vast and well organized health care facilities and faculties at all levels did its part to help those countries which put aside politics for the sake of humanitarian cause.

Yebeshyia bio ochina [in TWI language of GhanaI am coming back tomorrow] has turned people into saying Oh from China, no. 


In Estonia 2020 Kaksteist kuud [Estonian-twelve months] they did not Nad istuvad  ϋmber  lõkke [ sit around closely near fire] as they normally do.

The world also missed ვიდალია ხახვი vidalia khakhvi [in Georgian language- vidalia onionsthe onions that don’t make you shed tears when you cut them, very sweet because of least quantity of Pyruvic acid]

There are two things that made everyone remember Czech one its popular epigram Consider each day of your life to be the best’, another Prozvonit in Czech[ this word means to call a mobile phone only to have it ring once so that the other person would call back, allowing the caller not to spend money on minutes].


In Fiji buying yagona [i Taukei language of FIJI- kava  root] as sevusevu [gift] to give to  turaga ni koro [ headman or local chief] too stopped,i Taukei (itself means"the owners of the land")

Yemen's Red Sea coast too enjoyed some peace with people enjoying Mocha (al-Mukha) –world famous coffee and chewing Qat [a stimulant drug] as bombing came to a halt. 

World gave a miss this year to the best Ornithologists’ delight  the Gambian Junkung Jadama  [ known as JJ] asking tourists Ebata minto le [Mandinka {Gambian native language}–where are you coming  from].

Eritrea which got its name from Red Sea’s ancient Greek name Erythraean Sea, 

ብቤት ውሽጢ ጸንሐ ውሕስነት ተጸበዩ Wondering what is this, it just says, ' stay indoors , stay safe' in Tigrinya language of Eritrea



Voilà a country famous for its wooden masks Gabon, especially from its Bwiti tradition ,the Gabonese had to wear the surgical masks like the rest. Les masques gabonais sont des objets de collection très populaires, en particulier les masques n'goltang ou Fang, et les figurines Kota. En plus d'être utilisés dans les rites traditionnels, ces masques sont également utilisés dans les cérémonies pour les mariages, les funérailles et les naissances. Ils sont souvent fabriqués avec des matériaux précieux et des bois locaux rares [ French- Gabonese masks are very popular collectors' items, especially n'goltang or Fang masks, and Kota figures. In addition to being used in traditional rites, these masks are also used in ceremonies for weddings, funerals and births. They are often made with precious materials and rare local woods].

Papa , well that is the word for potato in Quenchua language of Peru which is then land of not only the origin of potato but almost four thousands [4000] varieties of potatoes. While the whole world ate different kinds of potatoes the natives of Peru had to miss Huayñunakunay [Quechua word  meaning ‘dancing while holding hands’ in the Peruvian Andes]. 

In Ethiopia the elders were heard saying,‘leḥiyiwetiwo waga yisit’u ለሕይወትዎ ዋጋ ይስጡ [ in Amharic language spoken in Etiopia meaning value your life]


In Vietnam Ba chìm bảy nổi [a life filled with trials and tribulations; the ebb and flow] thái độ triết học này của việc tiếp nhận mọi thứ một cách tiến bộ [this philosophical attitude of taking things on the stride] Tránh hoảng sợ nhưng hãy cẩn thận [avoided panic but brought caution].

Guayana, Amerindian word meaning Land of Many Waters’where Georgetown which is almost one meter lower than the sea has been protected by a string of sluices or ‘kokers,’ but nothing could protect it from Covid-19 despite no eco tourism.


In Finland puistot Suomessa olivat tyhjiä[ Finnish-Parks in Finland were empty].

In Honduras the usual smoking laws proved useful to make people follow physical distancing. In Honduras smokers must also be six feet away from non-smokers and stay within designated smoking areas. Honduras is one of the first countries to ban smoking in private homes. The law has also allowed family members to call the authorities if someone smoking inside their homes refuses to stop. Besides, their healthy native immune boosting food helped to a certain extent sopa de caracol, which consists of large conch pieces cooked in coconut milk. Additional conch broth also adds to the dish, as well as other ingredients like cassava, spices, garlic, and chili. But initially, there was scare as bats make up 50% of the mammal species in Honduras.

Eswatini former Swaziland has languages called SwaziSwati or siSwati all family of Bantu language of the Swazi people the usual hospitality of Wamkelekile [the Siswati word for "Welcome"] was missing.

Haiti had some tourists who wanted to escape from Europe’s covid grip. Ça n'en finit pas de m'étonner [ It never ceases to amaze me] the spirit of some who prefer [regarder le bon côté des choses –to look at the brighter side of things] especially when they have the attitude of vis pour voyager et voyager pour vivre

[live to travel and travel to live]


Every individual had time and opportunity to notice, to appreciate and to value their overall hidden talents, interests which they could not pursue due to want of time, responsibilities, roles and duties which went unnoticed in the radar of busy routine life of  roti, kapada aur  makaan [Hindi -Food, Clothing and Shelter ] or métro, boulot, dodo [French-Travel,work and sleep as a grueling routine] as even the busiest and crowded regions across the globe were in the knot of kenopsia  [Irish the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that's usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet]. Clubs and pubs closed some coiled into the bed with some book and turned into Librocubicularist [A fancy word for someone who reads in bed]. Tadikas [ Brunei Malay-kintergardens] were closed in Brunei along with tourists inflow for several months. While at home some enjoyed the charms of leisurely ‘family time’. In Colombia even El Paseo de Olla [in Colombian Spanish -The Pot Gathering festival of family reunion or get together] had to be missed.


A country named after its lake, Chad is known as The Babel Tower of the World’ because of its cultural diversity with 200 ethnic groups and 100 languages spoken in the country, though officially French and Arabic are used. Its Toubou tribes [the mountain people] lost even the meager income known for its camel races in Tibesti mountain [ Tibesti literally means ‘the place where mountain people live].

Ecuador, the only country in the world named after a geographical feature and its Mount Chimborazo being the point on Earth closest to the Sun no fue perdonado por el virus corona [was not spared by corona virus].


Two countries for whom Chinese had the nicest words [though attributed to Chinese tonal quality of language which perhaps influenced calling them so turned out to be too angry against China as everyone felt China did not alert the world about the Covid-19 virus. Yes the Chinese would guess it right America (美国 Mei Guo or “Beautiful Country”) and England ( , Ying Guo or “Hero Country”). The adolescents with colleges and hostels closed felt Sevdah [Croation -comes from the Ottoman Turkish word “sevda.” They added that “h” at the end in the Balkans, and the word today exists in the Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian languages, where it means ‘lovesickness or a sense of yearning or longing for love’].

In Papua New Guinea the fragile economy was bagarap olgeta [ in Tok Pisin language ] totally broken.

Life niyolimba, but nisamenaya nayo ( Nyanja in Zambia) Life is hard, but we keep fighting. Pangono Pangono (little by little) optimism displaced pessimism as they thought ​​a remedy was more bitichica (Possible) than sibitichica (impossible). Whereas, the Ticos and Ticas of Costa Rica known for their Pura Vida [Costa Rican Spanish meaning ‘ Pure Life ‘i.e. prioritizing happiness over anything else] where even in the Blue zone of Nicoya, [Blue Zone - meaning that its inhabitants commonly live active lives past the age of 100] comenzó a preocuparse por la muerte [ started worrying about death ]


The Cameroon weddings missedgwedeng, or clown, organised by the Kom people who cracks jokes and does clever stunts. The weddings missed a major ritual  Après s'être nourris l'un l'autre, le couple nourrit à tour de rôle la famille de l'autre pour montrer qu'ils vont aimer et prendre soin d'eux.[ After feeding each other, the couple take turns feeding each other’s family to show they’ll love and take care of them.]

Panamanians were also broke, they said Estar limpios [“clean.”] también en pananma no hay aglomeraciones para fiestas intensas [also in panama no crowding for heavy partying].                                        


This year also passed without two, much talked about big music and dance festivals, the December Classical Music Festival at Chennai, Tamil Nadu India where within a span of 20 days almost twenty thousand 20000 music and dance programs take place and Carnaval do Brasil the famous carnival music and dance  of Brazil carnival like samba-enredo , marchinha (in Rio de Janeiro and Southeast Region), frevo, maracatu and Axé music (in Pernambuco, Bahia and Northeast Region) what to do engolir saposBrazilian Portuguese[ to swallow a bitter pill]. While in Burkina Faso one could hardly hear in their local lingo Mossi M loogda raga, fo data buma bi? I am going to the market, do you want anything. The sounds of ingoma (Kirundi word- drums and the ingendanyi (Kirundi word- drum beating which showed the ijunja ((Kirundi word- physical Strength] in Gishora hills in Burundi too went silent.

While Central African Republic in Sango one could hear kobéla aninga ti fâa zo pepè : this disease does not stop short of killing people, kobéla. so asara mawa mingi :this disease causes much misery and kobéla ni aso ah§ ndô ni : this disease hurts beyond measure


The new normal came about because for many most of the nuances of certain terminologies got blurred as importance of work got prioritized over dispensable dedicated promises for work called ‘office’, as official work, wherever possible, aided by technological advancements,  migrated home and moved around with a new abbreviation WFH along with its Nashgabs[Scottish –archaic- rude gossips].


Thus the following differences got blurred and overlapped i.e. salaried employment, paid work, sundry tasks, family chores etc.


To a generation used to outsourcing most activities self help was the only option (a revival of a great virtue) for many jobs including strenuous menial ones, along with it certain usually evaded responsibilities (personal, familial, social) were also ushered in.


Unearned hours of work rendered routinely by some people got noticed and its importance valued as many had abundant leisure to notice them.


For some Danes it was Arbejdsglæde [ Danish - when your work is the source of your happiness!] because they enjoy staying at home with their family and benefitting from all the ‘hyggelige moments’ [the simple moments that life has to offer] and this combined with tillid til regeringen [trust in the government] made life comparatively easy for the Danes.


Status quo addicts and comfort zone cocoons crumbled and exposed the Tima [Icelandic-Not being ready to spend time or money on a specific thing, despite being able to afford it].



Classes on internet had parents watching poor children doing Pana Po’o [Hawaiian -The act of scratching your head in order to help you remember something]


Talking of leisure the wise observations of Bertrand Russell well explained in his work 'In Praise of Idleness' flashed past many.


The charms of leisure and relaxation need not necessarily mean calendared leave from routine and outing to resorts in some publicized travel destination, but it dwells in the inclination of one's own mind and heart.


However, surprisingly some felt Fernweh [German- Feeling homesick for a place you have never been to] and entertained Won [Korean-The reluctance on a person’s part to let go of an illusion] to picnic, perhaps because some living in high raise buildings viewed from the roof tops the crepuscular calm beautiful spectacle of sunset as if viewing from Shirley heights of Antigua. Even as the Tour en Calèche à Bruxells came to a halt [horse drawn coach ride for tourist]. Fortunately, imagination was not a girov [Azerbaijani- hostage] to the virus, only consolation to the hodophiles [those who love to travel]. Even in Taktsang Palphug Monastery (Paro) in Bhutan in their language  Dzongkha  usually full of tourists one heard greetings of  Chhoey ga te lay mo? [Where are you from?], but it was replaced by Menkhang ga tey in na? [ Where is the hospital?]


Of course, there were those, who are not used to savor leisure or who could not usually afford leisure, had overlapping emotions of boredom, solitude, sturmfrei [freedom of being alone], meditational modes, Dadirri  [Australian aboriginal word-   inner deep listening and quiet still awareness and waiting], got into trance like situation because they were away from the bustle of routine life and grasped certain sense of Rasāsvāda [Sanskrit–the taste of bliss without impediments of  thoughts going deep into aesthetic consciousness], laziness, loneliness seeking Iktsuarpok [in Inuit-Eskimo language spoken in some parts of Artic region- The feeling of anticipation that leads you to keep looking outside to see if someone is coming] and visits to the door in Dor[Romanian -The feeling of longing/craving/yearning for someone or something, combined with sadness], though there was no Dobrodošli [ Croatian-  welcome sign] on door. One realized the wisdom of saying in Angola Seja a sua melhor comanhia’  [Portuguese- be your best companion] and indulge in Mroja [ Belarusian- means airy dreams and pleasant fantasies, or daydreaming].


Extended lockdowns lodged formal attires inside the cupboards so much so the tight Karelu [Tulu -The mark left on the skin by wearing something tight] of belt wearing disappeared but tummies expanded due to Shemomedjam [Georgian-the act of eating something or finishing a meal simply because it is delicious, not because one is hungry] and  torpidity and Toska [Russian- Misery, boredom, yearning, and anguish] turned up . Even Aymara babies chubby faces peeping out of  aguayos [ Bolivia- back bag like strong woven cloth in which Aymara women carried their babies] were also covered.

In Djibouti even Wagar, the magical wand was not trusted to fight the Covid-19. They realized they had to fight it [scientifically] to win over as they are supposed to do literally on the first night of their marriage [According to some senior members in the Afar community, it used to be fairly common for newlyweds to fight on their first night of their marriage].



Expert professional at work experienced fisselig  [German flustered to the point of incompetence and sloppiness that is due to nagging from someone] at domestic chores. Házisárkány [Hungarian- Literally indoor dragon, a nagging restless spouse of either sex] reactions were  initially feebly audible through Zhaghzhagh [ Persian -The chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage] and gradually became muttering of expletives which had enough decibels to penetrate through the madh [Albanian-the bushy mustache] and varur  [Albanian-the droopy mustache] as even , after all, at best many are Ilungas  [Tshiluba (Congo)-  persons who are ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time]. Well some children feigned /expressed discomforts and difficulties in online tasks which immediately made their parents comfort them as what they say  in Botswana [in Setswana language] parents say, Go baya pelo [take it easy] after all Pelo tshwaana boela mannong,mmatla sa gagwe o se bone [The heart is like a man that returns to his house].

As many present generation parents are used to outsourcing child care and education exclusively to schools found it difficult to handle the tirade of curiosity generated questions from children , those pochemuchkas  [Russian-child who asks many questions; an overly curious child] and so they now outsourced those activities to internet search engine.



Even when some health care worker arrived it was Mamihlapinatapei  [Yagan spoken in Tierra del Fuego an archipelago between Chile and Argentina-A wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start].


In Dominica mascarilla / cubrebocas [ mask in Spanish] became a daily affair rather than a Carnaval de La Vega or Carnaval Vegano spectacle of scary masks like diablo cojuelo or limping devil.

Multiple social media shares of various arts brought out the Duende  [Spanish-The mysterious power that a work of art can have over a person, deeply affecting him/her] even in impassive persons. Among artists the fights of jealously fostered Fargin [Yiddish- To wholeheartedly appreciate the success of others], perhaps, even Argentine Tango too went on web. Some artists, leaders, scientists, self-help gurus became zavodilas [Russian- заводила -someone  who often starts up something ] who injected certain positivity in the atmosphere which was stifling some of senior citizens who were feeling agowilt [unnecessary fear] and torschlusspanik [fear that time is running out to achieve life goals] and made them participate and engage online.

Many realized that from food to leisure to work to time with family, in everything there will be a logjam when there is no Lagom [Swedish-Not too much and not too little, but just the right amount of anything.].

However, there were at least observations, if not acceptance, of activities, approaches and attitudes of different age groups and generations. Some lead to communication, some to better understanding and some to irritations.

Siblings had quarrels, fights as well as engaged in Gigil  [Filipino- The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute],  Mencolek  [Indonesian- the trick when you tap someone lightly on the opposite shoulder from behind to fool them] Cafuné [ Brazilian Portuguese term- The act of running your fingers through someone’s hair in a loving way] Involvement into many activities swung between Aaasha [Hindi-hope or desire] to Jaksaa  [Finnish-A lack of enthusiasm to do something].

Bistros [French-small, informal restaurant] , Utepils  [ Norwegian-To sit outside on a sunny day enjoying a beer] and Hygge [Danish Relaxing with a few friends and loved ones while having a meal or some drinks went into long hibernation] as even Uitwaaien [Dutch- Going out for a walk or to the countryside in order to clear one’s mind] got wound up much less friluftsliv [Scandinavian- the feeling of being outside, exploring and appreciating nature] as Kuleana [ Hawaiin- personal responsibility and accountability for behavior in society ] required one to stay indoors.

No city offered any opportunity for the emacity [desire or fondness for buying things] of shopaholics.

Even the Middle East rueat muemariat haditha [Arabic- Modern architectural splendors] were less photographed in the past few months, and cox beach was empty and Kuakat was deserted and the Golpata Goor was missed  [Kuakat in Bengladesh is the single point to watch both the sun rise and the sun set. It is also famous for “Golpata Goor" a kind of fragmented molasses only available in this area] and the date palm tree jaggery made from palm juice a delicacy. Brams [bajan a dialect of Barbados- dancing party] barely happened. When even neighbors became like appaz rando  [Australian slang abbreviation- apparently random person], though very few could play Irusu [ Japanese-pretending to be out when someone knocks at the door] especially many wanted to do when health care officials came daily to check if anyone had symptoms. Nowhere in the world may we see in near future Kaapshljmurslis  [Lithuanian  Being cramped in public transportation during rush hour].

No hoping on any ‘Jitney ’  [Bahama slang for bus] for any journey.

Pakistan too lost its tourism revenue from tourists to Biafo glacier longest glacial system outside polar regions ; Deosai is often referred to as the ‘roof of the world’ at 4,117 metres (13,497 feet), the massive plateau is the second-highest on the planet. Sprawling emerald-green meadows, snow-capped peaks and glistening blue lakes is home to Himalayan Brown and second largest salt mines, the Khewra Mines.

Kenya had to give up its kumbatia [Embracing someone and holding them close is known as kumbatia] as no one was considered a Jabali who could fight against covid [Jabali literally means ‘rock’. The word is used to describe a strong and sturdy person].


Hakuna mtu mwenye nguvu ya kutosha kupambana na virusi vya aginst covid-19 [no one is strong enough to fight the aginst covid-19 virus] among its 13 ethnic groups with an additional 27 smaller groups be they ‘Bantu’ tribes such as the Kikuyu, Luhya and Kamba or  the ‘Nilotic’ tribes such as the Luo, Kalenjin, Maasai and Turkana. The ‘Hamitic’ people include the Turkana, Rendille and Samburu or more than 10% of the population are of non-African descent, i.e. Indian, Arab and European.

In Dominican Republic this was another dar una vaina [ Dominican Spanish suffer an ailment one does not know or want to mention]

Even in Jordon where everybody cleans up everything, everywhere, when there is a visitor. The few stranded tourists asked Wayn al-mustash-fa ? ( where is the hospital?)  Instead of Wayn Al-otel?


In Vanuatu the elders kept saying putum mask ova long nus mo maot blong yu[in Bislama language -place the mask over your nose and mouth]

Even ordinary folks walking with masks scarred the world that there seem to be no need for ‘Perchtenlaufen’ or ‘Krampuslauf’  [Austrian - Scary mask processions]

The usual Patois language greeting in Jamaica 'Mi Deh Yah, Yuh Know' and ' Mi Irie( everything is ok] were missing.


In Palestinian artists Dergham Qraiqea  and Samar Saad painted protective masks and drew patterns on medical masks in Gaza City in order to encourage people to wear them as protective measure amid the COVID-19.

Kazakhstan-The nation with one third of steppe and the origin of modern day apple [алма] known to its native people as an alma managed to export them from May [national geographic DNA analysis indicates that apples originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan, where the wild Malus sieversii—the many-times great-grandparent of Malus domestica, the modern domesticated apple—still flourishes.] .

In Italy the words resounding all around in April were Cruccio [worry], magone[ sadness] because preoccupazione e tristezza hanno iniziato a mettere in discussione lo scopo della vita dopo troppe morti troppo presto inizialmente in Italia [worry and sadness started questioning the purpose of life after too many deaths too soon initially in Italy].


International travel restrictions and virus everywhere people started valuing the beauty of their homeland like the proverbial Armenian saying, “The stones of my native country are warmer than the ovens of Babylon”. Frequent visits to the mirror turned even those who loved clean shaven faces to become pogonophiles     [lovers of beards]

Of course there were those Nefelibatas [Portuguese-A creative person who lives in the clouds of one’s own imagination or dreams] who were oblivious to their surroundings and were engrossed in their creativity  

Even indifferent dozy parents deliberated on Dozywocie  [Polish-Parental contract with children guaranteeing lifelong support].

In Palauan language of Palau there was a refrain of these

Lak be mtobed.[ Don't come outside] Lak be mtuu [Don't come inside.] Msisichau e a tutau a kmedang[Be strong, morning is nigh]


Covid-19’s Agathokakological [Composed of both good and evil] emodiversity was universal.


It ranged from paranoia to pronoia with too many prescriptions and pastimes.  For some persons every dawn was a matutolypea [morning depression] and for some others it was unending extensions of  Dolce far niente [pleasant idleness].



The lockdown of COVID-19 not only took many away from various busy activities and grueling routines which ranged from extremely vital, useful, entertaining and meaningful to the band wagon of boondoggles.


It also took in many to look farther using Bayesian reasoning and be ready to make reasonable adjustment in terms of priorities, post covid-19 possibilities, personal life of pleasant and leisurely time with family, parleys into proverbial Russell’s In Praise of Idleness [a] pronouncements which were prevalent all over social media with everyone displaying and sharing their hidden talents, new skills, creativity etc.



However, it also pushed some into deep worry about, at least their near future livelihood, worries about shattering disruption with cascading effects on the lives of many dependents of these people. Though most governments and organizations have pitched into help them tide over the difficulties to some extent possible.     



There were two stark realities: -


1. The nature of the pandemic and its impact which took the entire medical fraternity by surprise and Paul Romer’s concept of conditional optimism was the only probable answer without any concrete cause or remedy in site for some time.


2. Its impact was near universal wherein it gave an important message that evolution [especially evolutionary biology -either with zoonotic adaptations or otherwise- is a very important subject to be studied and human race has to primarily know at least a bit of  evolution [of  everything à la Matt Ridley’s way- his book Evolution of Everythingmoves on unmindful of any of our definitions and explanations and the best tools to deal with the emerging world are rational, scientific [ be extension all advanced technologies], humanitarian and environmental friendly approaches to encounter  life à la Steven Pinker [ his work Enlightenment Now].


The beauty of life consists in the unknowns and the unending searches and researches –the unending process of evolutionary trends in everything.


Growing up and growing out of certain things are natural process of evolutionary metamorphosis both biologically and psychologically.


The ideology peddlers [ from religious and political outfits] and media sprayed some of the following negative attitudes like dystopian rhetoric zeal, immature emotional doomsday resignations, advocacy of outdated, unscientific (by which I mean not empirically tested documented, proven and universally accessible methods of remedy) methods hovering around in the name of much accepted conventional wisdom, preening of one-upmanship in crisis, radical responses, fanatical fights and many other irrelevant or irresponsible outbursts.


However, pandemic taught that there is no panacea and we cannot deny or defy the importance of anything and everything has to be prioritized according to contextual relevance.


Universe was vociferous in its sentimental outpourings and also whispered some sane perspective for everyone to involve in at least some amount of self introspection.


Talk of value of art, science, literature, philosophy, compassion, family values and health care, all resurfaced, in some cases merely as an academic outlook and in some others it gushed forth suddenly from a pipe burst.


If  ‘Death was a leveller’ as per James Shirley, Pandemic was a silent universal philosopher who made everyone to relook into many subjects and activities and what they must be viz à viz one’s life.


It revealed the lust for life, longing for relationships and value of togetherness [ironically when the wrong word was coined as ‘Social Distancing’ instead of mere ‘Physical distancing’].


Universe is UNI+VERSE


The romance of this verse manifests through many broad subjects of study and multitudes of activities. Ultimately, this VERSE teaches us that there are no more ‘this versus that’ demarcation or divisions but ' this and that' or ' these and those' interconnectedness, interdependence and interrelationships.


We must realize that the following versions have become too redundant i.e.​​


Science versus religion; Materialism versus spirituality; Tradition versus Modernity; Technology versus Humanity;  


Most of us are ambivalent and ambiverts, now, with Covid-19 we are also ambi-digital using palm and phalanx as well as knuckles and opisthenar.


From young students to successful professionals were reconnecting with fundamental subjects, debating about their importance, relevance and so on. I drafted a few sentences to convey to all how every subject is or can always be of importance and be part of our life.


Art must be part of our life so that we look at things with sensitivity to grasp their aesthetic aspects;

Science must be interred in our sub- conscience to guide our perspectives;

Compassion must be in our emotion to guide our attitude with humanitarian values;

Philosophy must be in the trenches of our psychology so that we have rational approaches towards most things;


Environment must be felt as part of our tissue and not an issue apart and away from us;

History must carry the story of our pride of ancestry and bring us maturity to bury the blunders;

Geography must sketch the photographic sketch of the splendors of topography of our wonderful planet;

Mathematics must reveal the tricks of underlying patterns of everything and enable us to revel in wonder;

Literature must capture the inner nature and intrinsic features of anything that it touches on;

Language must engage in eternal romance with increasing:- number of users, geographical areas, the wide range and variegated vocabulary to communicate and express as many ideas or events as possible in as many fields of human activity. It must have the syntactic plasticity; flamboyant flexibility suited to both simple and complex modes of expression, and an enormously evolved derivational morphology and also must entice people involved in various domains of activities to use that language. It must visit the harem of other languages add variety and spice;

Sports must bring out all sorts of human enthusiasm;

Music must bring out the intrinsic vibrations of as many nice frequencies and create memorable melodies and hubristic harmonies;

Religions and cultures must nurture ventures to enhance a heuristic syncretism bringing out the interrelationships even if they want to keep intact individual identities;

Professions of all hues must be combinations of passions and/or trade off involving compensations useful for life/one wants and some freedom in terms of individual space and time;

Social life of all hues preferably imbues with values of humanitarianism starting from firm foundation of family to further extended inhabitants all around and everywhere without any superficial and unreasonable discrimination;


Life is formed out of all these and not merely funded by the world of commerce and trade or engineered by social engineering of political ideologies or doctored to perfection through any doctrines, though they too play their part in our life.


When we become aware that everything is/was/will be within usthen, we enjoy the world around us without any inhibition but with a sense of belonging, sense of balance with sensible attitude without hurting the sensitivities of others and thus we can become better person with less ego but willingness to learn more.


Life's journey when it sails with awareness in the oceans of all the above then it is a journey of synergy between the composed inner self and comprehensive outer world.


If at all any important lesson that humanity has to take from this most disruptive last few months of Covid -19, though one may dismiss this as a one of rare occurrence of pandemic, still we cannot ignore, on the whole as a general outcome, all the following were evident and exposed, besides the fact that no one or nothing is omnipotent or omniscient:-


The unreliability of many of the past templates to encounter present new problems;

The vulnerability of human physique

The fragility of human psyche and emotions;

The naivety of human innocence was exploited;

The brevity of lockdown extended into eternity of boredom;

The torpidity troubled the busy bodies;

The temerity tucked into timidity;

The morbidity muted delusions of eternity of life;

The timidity tunneled in uneasy thoughts of human mortality;

The inutility of many of the claims of various institutions (political, religious, academic) of importance;

The indispensability of interdependence of nations;

The un-sustainability of many activities which were supporting the economies;

The paucity of crisis response mechanisms;

The velocity of conspiracy theories gushed forth through various media platforms    without bothering to back them up with verifying the veracity;

The levity of gossips and phobias pervaded;

The reality of multitude of capabilities crumbled into illusions of humanity;


The calamity along with all the above casualties also threw the following encouraging signs:-


The sanity of positivity of human hope continued amid all these chaos;

The diversity of dexterity of human beings inundated the social media as more people sought attention;

The alacrity of science and technology driven attempts were in place to find real remedies including possibility of an effective vaccine in vicinity;

The generosity of help heaped beyond all hindrances of identities;

The utility of relevance of reciprocity in every relationship got manifested.


The unity of humane spirit organically evolved in many places, undirected by any instructions from institutions of social engineering (political parties, religious institutions etc);


The ingenuity of human spirit to bounce back along with its adaptability to the new normal is a certainty.


Pandemic also taught us, perhaps, there may be no panacea.

Circumstances or crisis like everything else evolve, I repeat evolve or emerge. First we need to accept the fact and then we need to respond.

However, how we respond will create a template of attitude, even if it does not offer a total remedy.

In general, not necessarily about health, even all other realms, like economy, education etc we must face and accept facts and act with maturity, rationally with scientific, humanitarian and environmental concerns. 

As Ayn Rand says, "We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.”

We must put aside all or at least most of the following approaches and attitudes.

All types dystopian rhetoric zeal, immature emotional doomsday resignations, advocacy of outdated, unscientific ( by which I mean not empirically tested documented, proven and universally accessible methods of remedy) methods hovering around in the name of much accepted conventional wisdom, preening of one-upmanship in crisis, radical responses, fanatical fights and many other irrelevant or irresponsible outbursts.



[a] Above all, there will be happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia. The work exacted will be enough to make leisure delightful, but not enough to produce exhaustion. Since men will not be tired in their spare time, they will not demand only such amusements as are passive and vapid. At least one percent will probably devote the time not spent in professional work to pursuits of some public importance, and, since they will not depend upon these pursuits for their livelihood, their originality will be unhampered, and there will be no need to conform to the standards set by elderly pundits. But it is not only in these exceptional cases that the advantages of leisure will appear. Ordinary men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life, will become more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others with suspicion. The taste for war will die out, partly for this reason, and partly because it will involve long and severe work for all. Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle. Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish forever.





No comments: