When I heard that CES 2021 is going virtual, it took me a few days to come to terms with that as I could not stomach this piece of news. Firstly, in my mind, 2020 is not to be counted and the start of 2021 without being at CES looked like an extension of 2020. In fact, for the last 9 years, it was nothing short of a religious process to start January submerged with all the tech and meet all my friends and folks who “download” themselves in Las Vegas from all over the world and in between the casinos and the exhibition halls, the year was shaped. But this was inevitable and an expo of that scale in between the pandemic would have been catastrophic. Even if we are at the tail end or in a better situation with vaccines being produced. So just like the virtual launches that we have got used to now with the Hector Plus, Tucson, Kia Seltos, the OnePlus Nord (With its AR launch), Samsung Galaxy unpacked event and the rest, Virtual CES is something that will be painful to swallow but will be in line with the new normal.
This month, launches kept dropping from the tech and auto world and the signs that we are in the midst of a pandemic started to diminish; perhaps signs of the economy opening up. Amidst all, the OnePlus Nord virtual AR launch was something that was a spectacular treat and satisfied the nerds in us. The auto sales this month are also almost neck to neck with July 2019, at 197,523 units. This is also the first issue since lockdown when we went to a studio, had a stylist, pro lensman, hair, makeup, studio and the entire sanitization frills along with the man of the moment Sonu Sood just like we used to do pre-COVID times, nowadays called ‘BC’ (Before COVID).
I have known Sonu for 4 years now and the first time I had met him was when he walked Exhibit -tech fashion tour. I had observed how the media and photographers lap on him. Because of his affable nature, having come from ground zero and made his own niche in south and Hindi film industry, it was hardly surprising when he came forward and has now made a name for himself in the history of “The Great India Migrant Movement’. Sometimes you just need to do your bit and a movement starts. Sonu Sood is that example and when we are in the cusp of celebrating our 74th independence with 74 gadgets that have changed our lives, there can be no better person to dote our cover.
His fearlessness and the decision to go out and meet 1000s of people amidst the COVID proves a point, either he believes in his immunity – the fitness freak that he is or in karma. I think it’s a bit of both. Now as we have learnt to live with the virus, we should never unlearn that it’s only the essentials that matter in life, rest everything is a chase a mirage which engulfs our whole life.