2021 – What is in Store for Us?

2020 will definitely go down in history as the year of the COVID pandemic, a year when entire mankind went into isolation and lockdown, threatened by an unknown virus that spelt disease and death. The world literally came to a halt, businesses had to be shut down or carried out from the safety of homes travel, vacation, merrymaking became alien words. People were frightened and pained to see their dear ones suffer and die. All countries started research on the vaccine at frantic pace, hoping to find a way to ward off the deadly pandemic.

As we enter 2021, Odias have different perceptions about what this year holds for them. Some are cautious and worried, others are thoughtful and optimistic.

Sweta Misra, homemaker from Toronto says, We are all eager to put 2020 behind us which definitely felt like a giant tsunami crashing down; however, theres no guarantee we'll have easier days ahead. It won even be until middle of 2021 before a significant portion of the world population gets vaccinated, enough to at least break the chain and slow down the transmission.

Sitima Otta, IT Principal in a top healthcare organization of California shares similar concerns. Getting back to the normal routine will be a big change. As a parent with young kids, I would really like it to be slow. We are all so comfortable in our home setup currently. Staying home, wearing masks, cleaning hands frequently, long walks etc will continue to be the norms of my household.

Manas Padhi, Senior Software Engineer in a leading technology-enabled healthcare solutions provider of Dallas, also thinks along similar lines. We need to be like a bamboo plant in a grove. In this difficult time we need to accept reality, bend our expectations, find and establish our support system while nurturing the best we can. Isolation, fatigue, complacency, curtailed income will challenge our determination and resiliency, but we need to figure it out for our situation and not give up.

Feeling miserable at being away from dear ones in India, Anu Kar, SVP in a top American multinational investment bank says, 2020 and the pandemic has been an eye opener for the fast-running materialistic world. It has taught us the value of simple things, like meeting a friend or visiting a family member at will. Appreciation for life and family values has reached new heights and I am hoping to see it flourish in 2021.

Sharing his views on the vaccine, Sanjay Tripathy, CEO of a top startup studio in Mumbai says, All countries will need to work together in 2021 in order to defeat this virus as vaccinations are being rolled out across the world. I believe the world will come back to normalcy by mid-2021 as vaccines are showing a lot of promise. This is great news for the entire world economy as a whole. Seeing light at the end of the tunnel will help the individuals, industries and corporates to work harder to rebound and reinvent faster.

Regarding the workplace, Prativa Mohapatra, VP (Sales) in a leading American multinational technology and consulting company, based in Gurgaon opines,On workplace front, especially in the IT industry, many of the erstwhile, once in a while ways-of-ways will become the norm. Video calls, use of digital tools for engagement, collaboration, file sharing and decision making will further evolve. Use of AR/VR, AI/ML and other disruptive technologies will change the workers and workplace for ever. How we up-skill ourselves and our employees will be paramount to how we thrive professionally.

Sharing further insights on the business front, Soumyakant Dwivedi, Senior leader in Supply Chain in a Health care MNC in Singapore says, 2021 will be the year of the WISE;a year which will make humanity focus on 4 things (Weather, Innovation, Supply Chains and Education). W(Weather) - Governments and Civil society need to come together to have robust policies and governance on Weather or Climatic changes to build a safe future. I(Innovation) - will not be limited to Science but all areas where we need to do more with less. Data science will be the new oil. S(Supply Chain) - will be the focus and organisations and government will invest in building resilient and sustainable processes to ensure availability till the last mile. E(Education) - delivery and methodology will be redesigned to enable access for larger population with renewed focus on primary education.

Artistes from the art, culture and entertainment sector have also shared their thoughts. Antaryami Panda (Puntu Nana), Radio, TV and Film Artiste from Bhubaneswar says, Nothing is permanent on this Earth; so COVID is bound to leave us soon. Heres hoping that 2021 will not torture us as 2020 had done. I am looking forward to this new year with renewed hope. Let there be progress on the political front in both the national and international arenas, with no fear of the impending Third World War. I hope we continue to have a stable government. I am really looking forward to a safe and auspicious 2021.

Sohini Mishra, versatile singer from Cuttack says, 2020 awoke mankind; we realized that life is too precious to be wasted in hatred and bloodshed. I have become stronger after witnessing the panic and pain that the pandemic has wrought. I have not been able to go on musical world tours this year because of the pandemic threat and lack of vaccine. I am not even sure when the world will be safe enough for us to venture out from our safe havens. I have ambitions to be able to further my music career; sing in different languages, and I really hope that I will be able to fulfill my desires in the upcoming year.

The United Nations has declared 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust. Let us all work towards making our lives healthier, spread happiness and make the world a more sustainable place to live in. Jai Jagannath!

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