Simple, small, conscious: goal words for 2022

In the new year, ‘uncomplicate’ seems to be everyone’s go-to word. The Hindu Weekend speaks to a few newsmaking creatives to see how life’s changed and what they are looking forward to

Some words are losing their charm. Pandemic pivot, for one. But what isn’t are goal words. With the new year, people are trying to put aside memories of the second wave and worry about the Omicron wave to bank on simple words — staying small, being sensitive, living consciously. “Covid has been a leveller in some ways, and I feel it has gently nudged people to being more empathetic,” feels writer Anindita Ghose. This is reflecting in how many want to live the next 364 days. We speak with creatives, from actors and authors to interior designers, to understand their takeaway from last year and what they hope will be important in 2022.

Anindita Ghose | Photo Credit: Preeti Verma

Anindita Ghose, 37

Journalist and debut novelist, Mumbai — currently making notes for her next novel

Recap 2021: It was the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. My debut novel, The Illuminated, which I worked on for six years, was published and I’m grateful for the reception it has had. But I also lost the person dearest to me, my grandmother. The book was always dedicated to her and coming to terms with The Gift of the Magi-like situation has been difficult.

Some good, some bad: Better work-life balance for many people I know, including myself, is simply quitting their full-time jobs to attend to other things! (Laughs.) One thing that a Covid-induced 2021 has catalysed is deeper sensitivity in interpersonal relationships; being there for your friends coping with loss or illness, going through a divorce or struggling with lockdown parenting.

Looking ahead: Let’s uncomplicate. 2022 will be about prioritising people, projects and ideas that matter. I think we have all come to the realisation that time is precious. There is a limit to how much we can stretch our bodies, hearts and brains and so it’s best to devote ourselves wholly to things that deeply matter.

Priyanshu Painyuli, 33

Actor, Delhi — catch him in Extraction and the hit Amazon Prime series, Mirzapur 2

Recap 2021: For me, it was a year of recovery [from 2020], but also one where I was constantly scared of another lockdown pausing life and work. But, by God’s grace, I kept filming back-to-back — interesting web series and films.

Good with the bad: I made sure to bring some balance between work and family, spending time with my family and giving time to myself, too. 2020 had got us addicted to connecting with people online; we have lost the ability to make connections offline. Let us not complicate our lives by adding the pressure of keeping up appearances online.

Goals 2022: I hope we stick to what we are good at. I want us all to be uncomplicated and be as real online as offline. I am also looking forward to the release of Pippa, a period war drama based on the 1971 Bangladesh war. The journey of this film has been mentally and physically the most tricky and challenging for me as an actor, and I’m really looking forward to bringing it to the people.

Rohini Raghavan, 32

Principal architect, studio r+r, Chennai — incorporating better design and infrastructure in corporation schools

Recap 2021: It’s shown us the strength in staying small. In the backdrop of the pandemic, we didn’t have to make the office leaner. Though business didn’t pick up much [people are wary about starting big projects], residential projects are picking up.

Learning to be better: We expected a lot of things to change [better work-life balance, push for inclusivity, etc], but it will take time. Not everything can be resolved with the pandemic. People are glad to be going back to work though; they’ll have more of a social life now [laughs]. On the positive side, I see many people being more conscious — they are giving attention to spaces, learning from traditional practices and adapting it to changing lifestyles. This will lead to sustainability in the larger sense.

Looking at 2022: Simplify, reduce, declutter — in all aspects of life. That should be a lesson we take away from the last two years. Professionally, I think it’s time to experiment. We want to look into furniture design [using alternate materials such as indigenous woods, 3D printing, waste material, etc].

Shruti Jaipuria, 38

Founder-creative director, MAIA Design Studio, Bengaluru — working towards sustainability and craft revival

Recap 2021: It was a great year for us as a design studio, with a lot more enquiries and sign ups. People understand the importance of space now, and I’m seeing more of them moving away from the city and picking up houses with gardens.

Sustainability check: While the pandemic made us slow down and think, I believe many are forgetting any lessons learnt. I hope 2022 will see more people live a conscious life. I’m seeing more clients now receptive to sustainability and supporting local craft, which ties in with our practice as well. At the moment, we are working with terracotta artisans in Kutch, and integrating work from tikri artists from Udaipur.

The new year plan: Travel, and lots of it! Aren’t we all missing it? I’m researching a trip to Spiti Valley to see the snow leopard. And at some point during the year, I will go to an ashram for vipasana.

Priya Kuriyan, 40

Children’s book writer and illustrator, Bengaluru-Idukki — having fun sketching everyday life in Kerala

Recap 2021: It was productive. Though my mental health [and everyone else’s] took a hit during the second wave, work didn’t stop. I finished two picture books that I wrote and illustrated. Beauty is Missing, a collab with Pratham Books and the Humane Society International India, is about a buffalo that goes missing [I set the story around Karimannur village in Kerala, where I was during the pandemic, but fictionalised it]. And Sweet Memories of Gutar Goo, a photo album-cum-biography of a pigeon. Set in the ’80s, tapped into the nostalgia we all felt over the last couple of years.

Need more of: In-person interactions. Yes, people are renewing old connections, but the digital fatigue can’t be ignored. We can’t function as an online community; you can’t make real connections. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I want the whole exchange of energies that one can’t get online.

Wish for 2022: I hope we can live life between these waves. And keep things, and life, simple.

Rima Kallingal, 37

Multi-hyphenate artist, Kochi — first Malayalam actor to mint an NFT

Recap 2021: I never thought I would do a single-shot movie, shot completely inside a car, and actually win an award [best actor at the Diorama International Festival for Santhoshathinte Onnam Rahasyam] in the middle of Covid-19. I even minted an NFT, The Insurgent Bloom.

Finding balance: I was ready to take it slow; to realise that life was so much more than your ambitions and what you want to get. There were people dying. I lost a 24-year-old colleague at my dance troupe, Mamangam. But, in the middle of this pandemic, I have also found hope and light.

Looking ahead: 2022 is going to be about getting back on your feet, to make use of all the energy that you have saved to come back and put all those lessons you have learnt into action. I am recharged — the new year looks brilliant for me as of now.

Joseph Chakola, 41

Artist and entrepreneur, Kochi — staying positive and embracing change

Recap 2021: The year was about new beginnings. I launched my business Crackling & Ko (pork crackling), and dabbled in the NFT space.

2022 wins: I am looking forward to letting go of the old and gaining new ground. Perhaps explore the NFT space more and, on the personal front, lose some weight!

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