If there was one word to describe the year 2020, it would be “unprecedented”. From rumours of World War III to raging wildfires, from social unrests to hard-hitting deaths, from natural disasters to the dreadful Covid-19 virus tying us down - this year was nothing short of a circus, without the frolic.

But we all managed to push through, together. And despite all the bad stuff, we had moments that we could look back on. Maybe Elon Musk naming his child some random letters brought you joy, or maybe it was the mysterious monoliths which brought out the conspiracy theorists in you. Savouring the small rays of sunshine peeking through the mist, we stayed hopeful and achieved some wonders. Having bid adieu to the gruesome year, here are some highlights of 2020, summarised in 20 points.

  1. The rise of gaming

    Gamers became possibly the most populated tribe of people in 2020. How many times have you said the word ‘imposter’ this year?

  2. The boom of e-commerce and online shopping

    It goes without saying, online business and retailing saw an enormous hike as the pandemic hit, with companies like Amazon leading the way. The news of Jeff Bezos earning $13 billion in a single day made headlines.

  3. Another pandemic

    As we got pushed into our homes this year, our schools, colleges and workspaces did too. The new norm of online education and work from home have taken over the world, just like Covid.

  4. Increase in video-conferencing apps

    Naturally, as the work came home, so did the need for interactions online; video-conferencing apps like Zoom, Webex and Google Meet reigned supreme. The uncanny resemblance of JioMeet to Zoom brought forth a lot of criticism (and a lot of memes).

  5. Summer Olympics postponed

    The biggest sporting event in the world, the Summer Olympics slated to be held in Tokyo, got postponed to 2021, for the first time since World War II.

  6. Stock market crash

    Our mental health wasn’t the only thing in decline this year. Also called “The Coronavirus Crash”, the world economy was falling, leading us all to a state similar to the Great Depression of the 1930s. In fact, for the first time in history, oil prices became negative.

  7. Natural disasters

    From the deadliest virus mankind has ever seen to wildfires and cyclones, 2020 became synonymous with disaster. A moment of silence for the thousands of lives taken from the world during the Beirut explosion, cyclones Nisarg and Amphan, wildfires in California and Australia, the floods in Hyderabad, and all the rest.

  8. Rocket launches

    With talks of human extinction replicating what we see in sci-fi movies, maybe it’s a good thing that SpaceX and ISRO have sent rockets beyond our planet Earth.

  9. Quantum computing

    Sounds fancy, and is pretty fancy too. The third quarter of 2020 saw some significant progress and announcements in quantum computing, beckoning the new age of technology.

  10. 5G Network

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock — which in 2020 actually sounds preferable— you’ve probably heard of this new cell phone technology. After a bumpy start, 5G is slowly taking off. While BSNL struggles to provide the country with 4G network, the rest of the world steps in for the 5G race.

  11. IPL

    Forgot about that, didn’t ya? For many of us, these days were filled with excitement. Match schedules were known better than exam schedules.

  12. Digital content creators

    Art of all forms was at the forefront this year, with writers, illustrators, podcasters, video creators, musicians, chefs and many more making their skills and stories seen and heard.

  13. Parasite sweeps Oscar

    Everyone’s watched it, everyone’s loved it. An eye-opener to how language isn’t a barrier to communicating humanity.

  14. The Nobel Prizes

    Women won big at the Nobel 2020. Four females received recognition, inspiring women across the world to break the glass ceiling.

  15. Fight for social justice and equality

    All over the globe, people continued to fight relentlessly for equal rights and opportunities and to end discrimination. Police brutality, white supremacy and minority rights were just the tip of the iceberg of activism we witnessed in 2020.

  16. The Great Conjunction

    While humans practised social distancing, Saturn and Jupiter appeared closest to each other - an astronomical event that occurs every 20 years.

  17. Twitter bitcoin scam

    A massive hack caused some of the most followed Twitter accounts like those of Apple, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Elon Musk and many more to tweet out puzzling cryptocurrency scams, in now-deleted tweets. As if 2020 couldn’t get stranger!

  18. Record drop in global carbon emission

    2020 might have left us in cages, but it was surely a relief for the planet. The global greenhouse gas emissions plunged by roughly 2.4 billion tons this year owing to the covid restrictions.

  19. Superheroes of 2020

    Nurses and healthcare workers became the heroes of this year as they worked tirelessly on the front lines, risking their lives to fight the unseen villain.

  20. Vaccine

    Will it ever be here? Even though a few countries have started using the Pfizer vaccine, multiple concerns have been raised for the limited testing of its effectiveness and side effects. After all, even Superman has his kryptonite :)

It may have seemed that there were more downs than ups, but one thing we’ve all taken away from 2020 is the many lessons that it has taught us - of hope, of positivity, of self-discovery and of the importance of safeguarding our relationships during dark times. Let us reign in the new year with renewed spirits and hope as we continue to grow together.