Home > Magazine > ChaiTime > Fun Time: DEAR 2020: PLEASE GO AWAY SOON



Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
September 2020

What a year this has been. So many things seem to have gone wrong, mostly because of the coronavirus pandemic. If I were a scientist, I’d be hard at work, seeking a cure of some sort. But as a writer, there’s not much I can do, except write a letter to 2020.

Dear 2020,

I was once excited about you. I had great hopes for you. I thought that “2020” was such a special number. That’s partly because perfect vision is 20/20. But my vision is worse than ever this year. When I go to a store, I can’t even recognize the people I know, because they’re all wearing masks and keeping their distance from me. When I attend meetings, I often see shadows and blurriness, and feel the urge to Zoom out of there.

People say that hindsight is 20/20, which means that we can look back at past events with perfect vision. We can see how stupid we were to make certain choices in the past, whether it’s the choice of which career to pursue, which person to marry, or which adjective to use to describe our mother-in-law’s cooking. But if hindsight is 20/20, all I’m thinking about now is all the great years that preceded you. Every year was great, except perhaps 2012, when I had to endure the song “Call Me Maybe.” My daughter Divya played it a million times that summer.

I thought about the song the other day while watching the Netflix series “Indian Matchmaker.” Reflecting on her date with a potential match, a Houston, Texas-based attorney named Aparna conveyed these lovely words to him: “Call me never.”

Well, 2020, that’s exactly how I feel about you. I thought you might be the “ONE”—the year I would remember fondly for the rest of my life. I thought I’d fall madly in love with you, but instead I’ve just fallen mad.

I’m mad that you brought several unwelcome words and phrases into my life, including COVID-19, social distancing, lockdown, stay-at-home order, and self-quarantine. Until you came along, if a doctor talked to me about the importance of “flattening the curve,” I would immediately go on a diet.

I’m mad— and sad— that so many people have lost their lives to the virus. Millions around the world have also lost their jobs, their income, and their freedom to move around. So many events have been cancelled, so many lives upended.

Can you imagine what aliens would think if they visited Earth?

Alien Leader: “Explorer Q, how was your visit to Planet Z? Did you learn anything about the strange creatures that live there?”

Explorer Q: “Yes, I learned a lot. The most important thing I learned was this: All the creatures on Planet Z have bad breath. They cover their mouths and noses, and keep their distance from each other.”

Leader: “How do they socialize with each other?”

Explorer Q: “From what I could gather, they use these primitive devices called computers and cellphones. They can safely communicate with each other through these devices without sharing their breath.”

Leader: “So they’re all covering their noses and mouths?”

Explorer Q: “Not all of them, sir. A few of them are under the illusion that their breath smells sweet.”

Leader: “Perhaps it does. Did you smell it yourself?”

Explorer Q: “No, of course not. I am an adventurer, dear leader, but I am not suicidal.”

Yes, aliens would get the wrong impression of us, but that’s the least of our worries, considering everything that’s happening to us. All we can do is hope and pray that scientists develop a vaccine soon, so we don’t have to worry about Covid-19 much longer.

Thankfully, 2021 is not far away. I can’t wait until midnight on December 31. Instead of saying, “Happy New Year!” to my friends and family, I’ll be saying, “Good Riddance 2020!”

Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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