2020 was an unexpected year. No one had ever imagined that the end of the decade would be so tumultuous that it would change the way we think and act. Every one has been affected by the pandemic in some way or the other. Everyone have made changes in their trajectory and are adopting to the new normal. If there has been reasons for anguish, there have been reasons for hope too. Now that it’s 2021, the beginning of a new decade, we hope that it will be an enjoyable and successful year for all.

At KIIT and KISS, we collectively dedicate to achieve a decided cause and ethos for that year in the beginning of the year. In the past, we have had Year of Belongingness, Academics, Research, Value-Addition, Zero Tolerance and so on. This year, I thought to designate it as “Year of Love”. 2020 has been full of disappointment and distress, so 2021 has to be Year of Love to maintain a balance.

Like morning shows the day, love should start at home. One should selflessly love one’s own brother, sister, mother, friends, children, neighbours and so on. We should talk positive, not hurt anyone with our words, and appreciate the good openly. It doesn’t cost us anything. We don’t even lose anything. Love has tremendous power and transformative energy. If love can break hearts, it can heal wounds too. Love can not be earned by giving some material gifts. It can be expressed through affection and humility in daily actions. Love knows no limits and can alter a person’s life forever.

When we align ourselves with loving thoughts, anxiety and worry will start to fade. Decisions that might have preoccupied us before will become easier to make. Difficult events and people will not be drawn to us, because we are learning to release that negative energy. When we begin to consciously surround ourself with the energy of love and acceptance, our natural state of being, our journey in this physical dimension can become much smoother, more purposeful, and more powerful. “When we use the power of love, we become aware of our place in our world and the cosmos beyond. We know our worth, and we value life and the lives of other living beings. We feel connected to one another as the light within us shines on everyone. We become divine messengers of the One Source, recognizing that we are not separate, but rather part of the Oneness of all life.

All religions talk about loving others. I have also experimented it. I have immense amount of work, but I don’t get tensed at all. I face tonnes of challenges everyday, but I don’t get tired. I don’t require pills to sleep. I sleep as soon as I hit the bed. This positivity comes from the fact that I love others. All sorrows, tensions, frustration will go away if you love. No disease can affect one mentally if one is a loving person. Mental health is proper if one expresses love openly. An individual can be fit and fine if he or she is considerate towards other living beings – humans, animals, trees and nature. Negative thoughts will remain miles away and people can stay happy and cheerful.

When a child is born, the family nurtures the baby with love. The elated family members do everything to make the kid smile, handhold them to walk and run, guide and teach. This nurturing happens because of love. As adults, we should try to reciprocate it in the same way to the old people and senior citizens and family members. They just need love and support. As the Odia proverb goes, “Abar Bruddha,” meaning old age is just like childhood one should try to help the old just like the children because both are not independent. They are dependent on love, nurture, care.

Maa always said “Sansaare rahuthiba jete din, ananda karuthiba mann“. It means as long as one is alive one should try and enjoy. One should start living and stop existing and this happens only when one loves others, helps others in times of need without any personal agenda.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more important that we reach out to support, look after, and encourage one another. A lack of social connection can lead to major health issues — it can be as bad for you as smoking. That’s why spending just a few minutes of your day checking in on people in your family, friends, and community can make all the difference for someone else. Through the last year of social distancing we have understood that a small personal gesture can have a tremendous impact.