With 2021 ringing out, it is time everyone took stock of it from his own perspective.

Covid took the lion’s share, this time in the form of Delta, Omicron… Luckily no serious damage. And, as one epidemiologist from Chennai says, each time a disease mutates, its virulence reduces. And given that Omicron is more like a flu, it is on its way out, he says. Aap ki mooh me ghee shakhar, Epidemiologist ji.

One word that got maximum currency this year is bubble: bubble flights, bubble life for cricketers with many matches lined up. Another offshoot is home-delivery. Looks like even after Covid is over, the home delivery pattern will stay back. Good. No need to drive the car to buy vegetables or grocery – an assignment I detest.

Why restrict it to these two? You can order anything under the sun, starting from morning coffee or tea. Yes, they have now a tetra pack where tea stays fresh and hot for three hours. And, like in detergents or cosmetics, the restaurants are also vying with one another: “Order One Masala Dosa; get one free…”, or, ‘order in the next twenty minutes, and you get 60% discount…’ I am no super human, I am just a mortal. I fell a victim to this and ordered once or twice. Just okay. But learnt never to order items like bhature or kulche. You open the box with great hopes, and feel disappointed when find it skin-like. You end up drinking more water to get the stuff down the throat.

All this of course does not rob one the pleasure of being able to order anything at will without having to drive all the way to Jaya Nagar, JP Nagar, or Malleswaram where each shop specializes in or the other. The height of it however is when my friend invited about 25 people for a get-together to welcome his daughter’s vacation from US. He ordered chole bhature from Nataraj (Pahar Ganj wale of Delhi), Biryani from Paradise, Bisibele Bath from Paakashala, Kachori from Anand Sweets, Rosgulla from KC Das, cake from Just Bake… It was a great risk, with so many guests waiting and a few items from some sources not turning up. Luckily, Swiggy and Zomato delivered all items on time, and the guests enjoyed all the best delicacies in town – a fete unimaginable until a couple of years.

These said, for me the one that takes the cake in 2021 is the sale of my son’s house. Announcing its availability a couple of months before Covid-19, it went for a toss during Covid – no takers for fear of having to move out to see the house. Then when the situation eased, Aunty won’t let me show the house to them. ‘You never know if they had just returned from …..State, or ….State where Covid is rampant. Luckily there was one buyer who was willing to wait – a young couple in their thirties, the present owners.

I don’t know how it is with you, but with me nothing ends without a hiccup. The home-loan giving bank to the buyer was keen to issue the cheque and reflect it in their November target. So, till 11.30 pm of 30 November, the three of us – the buyer, the bank, and me were on teleconference clarifying the doubts of the bank.

Come 2 December, an auspicious day for registration. The banker said he was yet to succeed in getting his bank lawyer who could come to the Sub Registrar’s Office with the cheque and collect the collateral documents. It is 2.30 pm, and no one in sight. The buyer asked me if I could pull some strings with the bank. I knew someone. He rang up the Regional Manager who directed the bank guy to personally deliver the cheque at the Sub Registrar’s office in the next thirty minutes. And he arrived with a grumble that he had never set foot in the Sub Registrar’s Office in his life, and there he was with the cheque himself. Then started the registration process, to end at 5.28 pm, just two minutes before the computer system switched off by design. “Thank God,” we said as the buyer and I shook hands and hugged. All is well that ends well, – and so will the year 2021.

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Sundaram Venkatesh

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