When the coronavirus lockdown started in March-end in our country, I did not think that it would continue till my birthday, four months away. It felt like its a one or two month thing and soon our lives as we know it will be back. But now if anyone asks me , I take a far right position (pun unintended) and say I feel this is going to last till March 2021 and we will begin new year from April 2021 in a new way. This whole year is a washout.
We always used to think even as young adults, ‘hope for the best but prepare for the worst’. My mind has already gone into that zone where I have steeled myself for an entire year of lockdown. Is it being pessimistic or cynical? I think not. Preparing for such a scenario has some benefits.
Consider this lockdown as a forest fire. As a cleansing. For new ideas to take hold, the brain needs some free space. If the jungle in your head is already full grown, where will new little plants get the sunlight from?
The main thing to do while this lasts is to A) Stay alive and hopefully free from the virus B) Don’t go bankrupt/ hold on to your job.
Last week my mother had high fever and high pulse. The times are such that all of us went into a frenzy, afraid that this covid is at our doorstep now. Her oxygen was below 95. Never in my life before have I known how much oxygen our blood has in normal times and what happens to it when we are sick. But now we are all experts. With this additional information coming from the pulse oxymeter I started knitting thick webs of apocalyptic situations in my head. The husband is much calmer in such situations, we arranged to see a doctor, got a Covid test for my mum and then I sat biting my nails for one whole day till the results came out. Negative. That was the coolest negative I have seen in my life.
But while this whole situation was unfolding over 3-4 days, I realised how sweet it is to stay locked in at home. The possibility of getting the virus and falling into the clutches of an already overburdened medical system or be at the mercy of government covid centres was far worse than the pain of having to put life on hold and stay at home.
Businesses all over the country and the the world are down, most public expenditure will have to be spent on medical exigencies and to help the lowest economic class survive the pandemic. These kind of things happen once in a lifetime for everyone. When I was living in Paris with my host Danielle, she would often tell tales of how it was growing up in France right after World War II, extreme poverty, lack of food, loss of beloved family and friends. It was grim. But they survived. We are hard wired to survive and we will. So for our generation, it’s the pandemic. If you consider that all of us have to survive a couple of bad deals in a lifetime, this one’s not so bad. An average middle class person in India has more or less a decent amount of savings to tide through such situations. We have to stay low, conserve capital and postpone any growth plans for the next year.
In the last 4 months, I have read more books that I have been able to read in the last 2 years. I am not much of a movie/series person, I imagine vividly and if I see a murder mystery then in my dreams I keep seeing someone trying to kill me or me trying to kill someone. So I only restrict to rom-coms. The good part of romantic movies is that even in my dreams, the husband is doing sweet things to me and I wake up feeling more lovey-dovey towards him for no amount of work from his side. Win-win situation. But there’s a limit to how many many movies of one genre you can really see, so I just let it go. Books are my thing. Making a mandala, baking with my kiddo, writing at least 700 words each day is my thing. This lockdown has also introduced me to the wonderful world of strength training and for the first time in 10 years, my back, neck are not aching from constant use of laptop. So all in all you see, it’s not the situation but only how we look at it that matters.
So hang in there my friends, look at the brighter side and keep your eyes on the prize.
I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring