Writings on The Wall #16: New Year Wishes

The few of us fortunate enough to have seen 2020 through can hopefully look forward to a better 2021. As always, this is the time for new year resolutions, and perhaps most people will long to be out once again, meeting their friends, relations and colleagues. Many will also be hoping to travel freely once again.

I am certainly one of them and though I haven’t travelled anywhere in decades, save for relocating from Delhi to Chennai to Goa to my aged parents, back to Delhi and back again to my parents in Goa, bag and baggage, it doesn’t stop me from wishing I can travel. As I have wished, every year, for over a decade.

I have always wanted to travel to Scotland once again, but to the Hebrides, in particular, besides Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness. I also wish to travel to Norway, Sweden and Denmark since I have always marvelled at these countries’ ability to balance economic growth with sustainable policies, and at their egalitarianism.

It’s worth remembering that immediately after the French Revolution, when Mary Wollstonecraft travelled to Sweden and neighbouring countries, she wrote of people living in abject poverty and in squalid conditions even in the main towns in her book, Letters Written During a Short Residence in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. It is not just remarkable that Sweden and Norway have managed to chart a growth path for themselves and are among the most developed and prosperous countries in the world today, but that they choose to innovate their way to long-term sustainable growth for all. Norway has the highest percentage of electric vehicles anywhere in the world today, and Sweden’s cities are among the “smartest”. They also have a very high percentage of immigrants and this has been creating some tensions recently, but one hopes that they will overcome it without any serious conflict.

I also wish to travel to the South of Europe, to countries such as Greece and Spain, besides Italy, where I have only been to Venice and the Tuscan region. Their spontaneity, optimistic spirit and joie de vivre is enough to fill one with hope. I only wish they could find a way out of their economic troubles once and for all. The generous EU economic recovery package of 750 billion Euros should help them plan and implement a long-term recovery, though it might not be adequate, for the problems with these economies are structural and have mainly to do with lack of competitiveness.

I also hope that my country, India, manages to control the Covid pandemic and focuses on sensible and real economic reforms, for we have been in a slowdown much before the pandemic.

With this dandelion, feel free to make your own wishes for this New Year, wherever you are. I have created an editable, shareable, Owl Wish 2021 pdf file, on which you can scribble your own wish and pass it on. And so can your friends. Click on the link below to view and download. Stay safe and well.

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