The lotus grows in muddy waters but remains spotless. Something about the beauty of the flower amidst suboptimal circumstances appeals to our human spirit.

In 1964 German scientists examined the lotus under a powerful microscope and discovered that the leaf cells had a bumpy surface that made surface rough. Water droplets immediately roll off and also carry away any dirt with them. This is the ‘Lotus Effect.’

2020 was an uncomfortable and difficult year for all of us sparing no one. Each one of us has a personal story and memories of this year. And everyone had to rise above tragedy to find hope and solidarity.

Some moments in 2020 that stood out for me are

1. The superhuman efforts of healthcare workers across the world

Healthcare workers who have been on the frontlines of the war against Covid, dealing with long work hours and high stress, are the real-life superheroes.

In India, healthcare workers had to deal with multiple challenges- lack of sufficient PPE kits, at times ostracization in communities they lived in and despite all that, they served selflessly helping India keep the virus under control and ensuring our mortality rate is a low 1.52%, a laudable feat considering India’s population.

A heartwarming photo, it is almost surreal like a scene from a sci-fi movie. A coronavirus patient pointing to the sky and watching the sunset with his doctor outside a hospital. A twenty-something doctor from Shanghai was taking his 87-year-old patient, who had been hospitalized for a month, for a CT scan. The doctor asked the patient if he wanted to stop to watch the sunset. The patient said yes and they enjoyed the moment together. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

2. The children

Young children had to lead disrupted lives, unable to play as usual, and forgo the routine of going to school. Online classes became the norm instead.

A young student, dressed in her uniform, attends class from her home with a makeshift stand and smartphone, langurs join her from a window sill.

This image showcases the aspiration of families to provide the best education and the plight of young children removed from things that make childhood enjoyable.

3. Logging hours on Zoom

If there is one company that has become a part of the daily routine for all of us during this pandemic, it is Zoom. Also, ‘Zoom fatigue’ has become our daily reality.

Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom acknowledges in an interview in April 2020!

4. Facing adversity — you can’t stop us

Nike’s iconic ad, ‘You can’t Stop Us’ inspires grit and inclusiveness. The ad had some iconic lines, “We know things won’t always go our way…But whatever it is, we’ll find a way. And when things aren’t fair, we’ll come together for change.”

5. Inspirational stories from the Dream11 IPL

“You have to fight for what you are owed.”From struggling at eight runs off 19 balls to smashing five sixes and finishing off the game at 53 runs off 31 balls when no one, not even his own teammates, believed in him, Rahul Tewatia’s performance in Dream11 IPL game was inspiring.

We all have that one moment in our life where we stood our ground despite odds for a chance to win.

6. Kamala Harris’ inspiring speech

Irrespective of your political leanings, you have to admit that Kamala Harris delivered a wonderful speech just after the recently concluded US elections. As the incoming Vice president-elect, she has several firsts to her name: the first woman, the first African-American woman, the first Indian-American and the first Asian-American. But in her speech she acknowledged the work of those that came before her and the pivotal role her family had played in helping her reach for her dreams.

I would encourage everyone to watch her speech for the many learnings.

Looking to 2021…

I am ready for what 2021 has in store for me. Here are some of my wishes…

  1. I hope the vaccine is not the privilege of the wealthy but available in equal measure to everyone in the world. 
  2. I hope startups come out stronger and resurgent in 2021.
  3. I hope solidarity brings us together despite our differences, extending help to others where you can. Sometimes a bit of moral, emotional, or financial support can make all the difference. A little kindness and tolerance go a long way when spirits are broken. 

Amidst the pain, we can find comfort in stories of hope and solidarity. I feel solidarity is just what the world needs right now, allowing our differences to make us think deeper and bring us closer.

Wishing you and everyone in your family and team a new year filled with positivity and hope.