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Notes from an open optimist

Nidheesh Tyagi tells you why the living through difficult times makes us more human and saves the best of us from the worst of us

As the world is talking less about Covid and more about vaccine jabs, it is time to come out of almost a year-long dark depressing tunnel and breathe in the sun.

When we turn back to see the time gone back in an imaginary time lapse video, we find very long patches of slo-mo time and some fast forward moments, punctuated with stories of sickness and death, and the long form grief we were all sentenced to in one way or the other. We were all in caves again for long and though we were all informed, updated and connected, we were also were very alone.


What do human beings do in such a situation. What do artists do?

Make the most of what we have experienced and do what we can. Reach out and connect to the world, not just to return to the normal with all its newness, but also reclaim what has been lost in the prolonged lockdown.

It is also a revelation of who did what in that time-out. So many of us did so many things, worked on the ideas, created some amazing stuff, while others kept holding their breath, waiting for the shadow to pass over our heads. In between, news of loss, pain and suffering. And gradually we began to deal with the blows, find our way through the maze and be grateful our boats sailed through.

We come out and find that the routines are slowly returning. The business of daily lives. The open optimism of walking into exhibitions and meeting people outside Google meet and Zoom apps. Last month, I walked into two very beautifully done art shows and conversed with people I knew and met some new faces. It was not just the time we spent standing before good works that mattered, but also that community feeling, that belonging which infuses a bit of soul and humanity in each of us. Looking at people in the real in masks, talking to them one-on-one and also walking to a table for a coffee or a samosa. Taking selfies and posing for pictures. All of those regular things seem so precious now.

Outside, spring is just about to depart. As trees shed leaves, we begin to celebrate life in all the hues it brings us. It is amazing how smoothly, how fast all this happens. As grass grows back, it fixes the sun to the ground. Times do change faster than you think.

What do we do with the time which has recently passed? We process it, allow it to soak into us, turn experiences into deeper human realisations and value what we have in our hand: life, sun, opening shutters of business and opportunities and invest in the conviction of living through everything which makes us more human. Which saves the best of us from the worst of us. And take it from there.

Our real lives from now will be far more digitally enhanced than ever before. It may not completely replace the real experience but will help us make more informed choices, offer us more freedom, more connects, less hassles about logistics and time. This will offer better a toolkit to live, create, arrange, schedule and, hopefully, carve some space to add quality in everything we are and we do. This is already bringing change in our life and work.

The one big take away from this is the connect. Through ideas, conversations, and creative works. And through all our human imperfections in our mundane daily lives we begin to comprehend and share how we see our own journeys through the covid prism.




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