HINDSIGHT 20/20 [ The COV(eted)ID-19 Year ]

Never had we ever thought in the wildest of dreams that our joke about ‘6 months break twice a year’ would actually come out to be true, right? The sudden bombshell the earth has received, none other than the COVID-19 hasn’t only made our lives horrendous in terms of the scare involved but also quite challenging. With the nationwide lockdown getting extended after each previous deadline, we all know that we’re doomed to be in it for God knows how long.

They say your conscience forces you to do that very thing you’re warned not to, for example if someone tells you not to turn your head and look back , it becomes an annoying obligation for you to look back to get over that restlessness, the same is happening now. With the personal quarantine that we are all expected to be performing at our homes, it’s just bugging us to get out there and be a hell of a wanderer in the streets. Not that our lives were quite lit before we were ill-omened by the virus, it was pretty much spent indoors, wasn’t it? Rather I’ve seen all my workaholic relatives and acquaintances always complain about how it’s been so long since they had a heart to heart conversation with their loved ones in person and how their jobs have turned so demanding that family has started to take a backseat in their list of priorities. Now is the golden time we all have, the time wherein we just can’t use the excuse of ‘arrey yaar time hi nahi hai yeh karne ke liye’ (Where is the time to do this?), the clock is all yours, we can either waste it all by letting go off it or simply embrace it for the good. 

The American Cartoonist Bill Waterson had rightly said We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are 

The lockdown has given us one thing, be it by force. We’re all getting to experience the larger meaning of life which has way more than just work, work and work. We’ve started to understand how important it is to find happiness in life’s most trivial of things, be it the joy coming from the cupboard you ended up decluttering, or the cake batter you were successful in making or the photograph albums you revisited after years that brought a smile on your face. From family groups flooding with ‘Kitchen experiments’ to Face-timing long lost cousins and playing housie and Pictionary on the Houseparty app , people have found ways to warm the cockles of their hearts. The web is over-brimming with free online courses by Harvard, meme competitions, poetry recitation sessions, crazy challenge nominations and what not. People are living life just like the good old days by enjoying Ramayana & Mahabharata on Doordarshan. The sleep cycles have come to track and so have other ‘good habits’ which often go astray with the hectic work schedules.

People have started to realise that it isn’t tough to run a home without domestic help if we all divide duties. This reminds me how much fun it is to see dad do the dishes and get scolded by mom for not rinsing them properly. Not that I’m not at the receiving end of Mom’s anger. Jokes apart, bonding amongst the family has surely gotten stronger and no one can thank the lockdown enough for it. People have started to devote time to their kitchen gardens and that reminds me of our terrace garden and how we’ve been quite self-sufficient for quite a lot of veggies. 

Mothers are born super talented, coz mom has proven to me that she can do anything under the sun, from giving me a ‘funky haircut’ to making face masks from old fabrics using her cute little sewing machine that’s been there since the coon’s age. Our balcony culture is back and isn’t just being used to dry the laundry; interaction with neighbours across the balconies is a new thing that we’re experiencing. My parents for whom ‘Tata Sky’ was pretty much all they needed for entertainment are now glued to ‘web series’ on Netflix and have beaten all records of binge-watching. Grandparents out there are finally living their dream and having a swell time with their grandkids by getting to share their anecdotes.

The second line of thought that Life with COVID-19 holds is the very question that ‘Is the lockdown the perfect practical solution in keeping the virus at bay’?  What about people who don’t have a home, the migrant workers who rely on daily wages and don’t have savings to thrive on. They’re the most disadvantaged group and are worst hit with the lockdown decision. The global economy can take the pressure only for a few days, not months. The life amid this crisis is like being a part of a quandary, there’s no ‘right solution’ , we have to keep trying without losing hope and have each other’s’ back through it all. The think tank of world leaders have all agreed that both scientific research and economic revival will have to go hand in hand as a global economic shutdown is frightening

Sometimes we are taken into troubled waters not to drown, but to be cleansed

Nature is ameliorating itself with the holy Ganges getting rejuvenated that no ‘Ganga Action Plan’ could do, the Olive Ridley turtles have revisited the shores of Odisha after a long time. Listening to our avian friends in the evening chirp around has made us a part of the ecosystem once again. The earth is clearly breathing afresh. Though it took this deadly virus to create havoc in our lives to stop everything for once but it’s taught us so much in the whole bargain. Sometimes we are taken into troubled waters not to drown, but to be cleansed’, this statement by Kathryn Lane holds so much meaning in times we’re a part of. 

Rather than spending three fourths of the day procrastinating about how life will be after the ‘Global Depression’ , we should all feel happy and positive as to how well accustomed will we all become to face anything in future, god forbid another catastrophe. 

 To end on a very positive note I have to share this beautiful line in Hindi

ज़िन्दगीगुज़ररहीहै, जीनेकीतैयारीमें (Life is passing, in preparation to live in future)

MADHAV BANSAL

First Year Student

IMS & SUM Hospital, 

Bhubaneswar

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