13 Ways To A Better 2022
Last week I wrote about finding hope, but let’s face it, in the third year of the pandemic and in the 75th year of our nation—a dark, divisive period in our history—we need every little trick to stay nourished and continue fighting injustice. I asked a few people what they planned to do to feel better in the new year.
Don’t Think Too Hard
Travel professional and one of my favourite inspirational women Dilshad Master, who lost her husband Akshay in 2020 and whom I wrote about here, believes in taking risks. Now she has a new motto for 2022: Soch jab gehri ho jaaye toh faisle kamzor ho jaate hain. Loosely translated: Don’t waste too much time thinking. Master recently decided to move from Gurgaon to Goa with her daughter Saira. “I took a day to take the call,” she says, adding that she loved and signed up for the first school and rental she saw. “It was all wrapped up in three days. I guess I was just lucky…or Akshay’s looking out for us.”
Don’t Make This Common Mistake
Don’t think the hate and Islamophobia you see around you are merely a tool to divide voters in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, which goes to the polls this year. Hate is here to stay, it’s eating through mainstream discourse, and the first step to fight it is to acknowledge it.
Seriously consider the question Time magazine asked in October 2021: Is India headed for an anti-Muslim genocide?
Fight The Good Fight
“Engage more with what the State does to the citizenry in India. Especially the minorities and the poor,” says author Aakar Patel, who has written a book every year on Modi’s India since 2020. “A poorly informed citizenry is one reason governments get away with what they do.” His next book—The Anarchist Cookbook: A Toolkit To Protest And Peaceful Resistance—will be out in the first half of the year.
Hang On To Your Pandemic Lessons
Last year Padma Priya, founder of the popular podcast Suno India, found herself in an ICU ward with Covid-19. Nine people died in that ward during her time there. After her recovery, she embraced art (see @artistat34 on Instagram) and found joy in small things. Going into the new year, she’s carrying a key lesson from that time.
Recall The Glory Days Of Useless Ambitions
Everyone needs a time out from the unrelenting cruelty around us. Read more fiction (I love recommendations from @booktreats and @mraozing on Instagram); go on a quest for the perfect martini; or watch five seasons of two-decade-old show The Wire, recently rated the greatest TV series of the 21st century. And then let’s discuss your favourite character. Mine was Omar Little, of course.
Be Your Own Boss
After 30 years of working in media organisations, sportswriter Sharda Ugra went independent last year. Here’s her break-free strategy for loyal cubicle-ers and WFH-meeting attendees: “Parallel plan your exit strategy as the path to liberation. Set aside artistic ambitions and pay respect to numbers. Ensure you have both a corpus and medical insurance (that includes no room charge limit and robotic surgery),” she says.
“The long road to freedom is not built by iPhones and electric sedans.”
Tell Uncle, Please Sit
“It is critical to create cadres of fact-checkers and, more importantly, misinformation busters in each home, in each gated community and in each colony, hamlet, village, panchayat, chowk, block, tehsil, district, schools, self-help group, and association,” believes Osama Manzar, the founder of Digital Empowerment Foundation. Manzar sees the menace of misinformation as a “national security threat” and wants everyone to do their bit to halt fake news at its source.
Consume Independent Media, Support Independent Media
As mainstream media (especially television) go over to the dark side, a new crop of independent media organisations are trying to fill the gap. I won’t list them here but you know who they are. Make them your primary news source, donate generously.
Use Your Skills Far And Wide
“In the new year, I want to be useful to a broader section of society. I have realised that I need to reflect on my values as an artist/designer (and as a person coming from privilege) and reposition myself to work on what truly gives me motivation and satisfaction,” says the artist Smish Designs on Instagram. “So the plan is to work with NGOs and independent organisations each month pro-bono because I feel that this sector is the most ignored even while it does some of the most important work in the country.”
Editor and writer Sumana Mukherjee has always been doubtful about the power of positivity but last year, when she was extremely low, her therapist nudged her to give it a shot. Through December, she posted every day on Instagram about things/people she was grateful for.
Hunker Down, Mask Up
As we ready for the third wave, less than 60% of Indians are wearing masks. “It is likely that India will see a period of explosive growth in daily cases and that the intense growth phase will be relatively short,” Paul Kattuman, professor at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge said recently. See https://covid19bharat.org/, a volunteer-driven tracker for Covid trends in your city. And wear your mask.
Give, Give, Give
In recent years, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government rewrote a key foreign-contributions law that changed the way non-governmental organisations could receive foreign money and shut down funding access for thousands of organisations on various grounds (see here and here). Post the pandemic, as Indian poverty skyrocketed, this key safety net was no longer available to large swathes of people. You can see unemployment and poverty everywhere you go. Do your bit to help communities in distress.
Priya Ramani is a Bengaluru-based journalist and is on the editorial board of Article-14.com.
The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of BloombergQuint or its editorial team.