To call this year strange would be an understatement. It has been a year headlined by distance, disease and dismay. But while we would all like to forget 2020 as a bad dream, and wake up to a world where the pandemic never took place, like every dark cloud, this one too has had its silver linings. From getting to spend more time with our families and loved ones, to being able to work in PJs and shorts without a care in the world, the transition that the pandemic brought upon us has had its upsides too (:P).
As we prepared ourselves for the ‘new normal’ in our lives, we found solace and happiness from unique places. We have all found a small glimmer of joy, a reason to smile, each day even when we are reminded of the terrible sadness in which the pandemic has engulfed us. We have each found our alcove, our silver lining.
For us, our beloved readers, it has been writing for you. Each new idea about the next essay, every book that made us go “I want to write my next essay on this”, every message we sent to each other discussing the themes, the characters, the works that we would base our next essay on brought a smile to our face. In a day where we would be burdened with law school submissions, or errands to run at home, we would fall back on our alcove.
And it was our hope, that through our endeavours, we could repay some of the joy that writing for you brought us. We started Alcove with the expectation that you will become an invaluable part of this little experiment of ours. That relationship, dear readers, needs to be made stronger. After putting an essay up, the child inside of us always appears, eagerly awaiting the first view, blushing over the first like, and being overwhelmed with emotion over a token of appreciation! However, Alcove is not for us to garner just appreciation, what we truly want is further engagement. So, challenge us, write lengthy e-mails responding to us, bring your own ideas for new essays, and we shall have had more satisfaction than we could have hoped for.
For one of us (Arti), the reading has also shown a kind of literary gynocentrism. There has been a conscious seeking of female essayists, deliberate inclusion of female writers in the Trove, and then sheepishly (brazenly?) asking Sumit to do the same.
Through our essays, we haven’t just written about specific books or authors, but have also written about ideas. Ideas on the place of the sidekick, ideas on places itself in literature, ideas on what it means to write and read an essay, ideas on art. It is only fitting that we pen this letter as the year draws to a close, a year that started with us appreciating the art of letter-writing; from which we had Great Expectations, and a year which we end with exploring how profound unrequited love can be, and how journeys can be elusive.
Our essays on Alcove have often marveled at the brilliance of the written word. But when it comes to expressing our gratitude, we can’t help but feel that even the written word would fall short. As we bid au revoir to 2020, which will go down in history as the mother of all unforgettable years, we can’t help but feel a bit sentimental, for it gave us something that we hope to cherish for a long time to come. It gave us your company, dear readers, in our very own Alcove.
Arti and Sumit.