I love renovations.
It shows growth, progress, and improvement from the current state.
Since there is always room for growth, it also shows that the present is not yet as good as it could be.
Yet, the final result of renovation is always preceded by the mess during the renovation.
The process is uncomfortable, inconvenient, and sometimes unexpected. The bigger the renovation project, the more extensive and prolonged the mess will be.
The mess is imperative for any renovation to be done. There is no growth or betterment without short-term difficulty and sacrifice.
The mess is partially reflective of the intended goal of the renovation. With a competent craftsman, then, the bigger the mess, the more comprehensive the renovation, and the better the final outcome will be.
One of the biggest renovation projects in recent times was that undertaken by Georges-Eugène Haussmann, the prefect of Sienne. He was chosen by Emperor Napoléon III to perform the task of renovating Paris.
In the mid-1800s, Paris was in a decrepit state. the French social reformer Victor Considerant wrote:
"Paris is an immense workshop of putrefaction, where misery, pestilence and sickness work in concert, where sunlight and air rarely penetrate. Paris is a terrible place where plants shrivel and perish, and where, of seven small infants, four die during the course of the year."
Into this sordid scene, Haussmann stepped in. He started from the base up - renovating the dense labyrinth of pipes, sewers, and tunnels under the streets. His direct work was from 1853 to 1870, but the renovation continued till 1927.
The transformations to Paris improved the quality of life in the capital. Disease epidemics ceased, traffic circulation improved and new buildings were better-built and more functional than their predecessors.
The beauty of Paris today can be directly attributed to the vision and work of Baron Haussmann.
2020 has been an unexpected and difficult project with no end in sight. Some events that happened in 2020:
Protests in Hong Kong against China attract 1 million people
State of emergency declared in Victoria, Australia due to the bushfires that killed 500 million animals.
A U.S. drone strike at Baghdad International Airport kills Iranian general Qasem Soleimani leading to widespread demonstrations and the accidental downing of a Ukrainian plane killing all 176 on board. Iran launches two missiles against American interests in Iraq.
ISIS raises its head again and kills 89 Nigerian soldiers
The Libyan civil war continues with Turkey sending troops to Libya
The Yemeni civil war continues with more than 110 dead
Price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia results in dangerous low prices of crude oil.
The Kivu Ebola epidemic continues in Congo - it has killed more than 2200 people.
Flash floods in Somalia displace more than 1 million people
A cyclone hits India and Bangladesh displacing 4 million people with loss of $13 billion.
Protests caused by the killing of George Floyd break out across hundreds of cities in the US and around the world. Riots result in widespread damage.
Palestine terminates all agreements with Israel and the US.
20,000 tons of oil leaks into the Ambarnaya River in Siberia near the Arctic circle endangering natural animal and plant life.
An explosion in Beirut, Lebanon kills 220 people, injures thousands, leaves 300,000 people homeless, and causes damage estimated at $10–15 billion.
The Japanese carrierWakashio, breaks in half spilling 1,000 tonnes of oil into the ocean, becoming the largest environmental disaster in the history of Mauritius.
Deadly clashes erupt in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.
Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, is assassinated near Tehran.
A virus from a seemingly remote place in China spreads across the world leaving devastation in its wake. The stock market crashes, unemployment and evictions soar. Almost the entire world is in various stages of (repeat) lock-downs. All public events, including music, sports and religious gatherings are banned, including the Olympic Games in Japan. Number of people infected with Covid-19: 80 million (and counting) Number of people that died from Covid-19: 1.7 million (and counting)
Humanly, 2020 has been one of the worst years in recent memory. The renovation mess is painfully real.
However, since the Master Craftsman is infinitely powerful, good and trustworthy, I cannot wait to see the end result of this corporate and personal renovation.
Additionally, since post-renovation is better than pre-renovation, when this project is completed, I look forward to the next one.
Anush A John