In the times of Quarantine
Updated: Apr 23, 2020
While I had a fantastic start to the new year in the form of chilling at home, relishing Indian home-cooked food by my mother and mother-in-law, and attending wedding functions of a cousin, the awake of 2020 has not been particularly pleasant. I landed back in Austin on January 19, 2020, with the news of the wrath of coronavirus in China. January 2020 will forever be etched in my memory as the month of “worse than the worst”. From tensions between USA and Iran, Australia Wilfire, the outbreak of COVID-19, and the loss of the basketball legend Kobe Bryant. It looks like 2020 didn’t even give us a chance to grieve, not at least just yet, or maybe this is the time to reflect!
My knowledge of the outbreak was limited to the articles published in the newspapers and whatever I read off the internet, until a very dear friend of mine, who is a Chinese, painted the true horrid picture of the ongoing events in China. It was through her that I could see people sitting in their balconies out and about with no hope left in their eyes. It was then that I could hear the desperate cries of help for a loved one struggling to breathe. and it was then that I could feel the helplessness, angst, and the frustration of people watching their loved ones withering to a painful end. Its a widely accepted notion that naming something/someone makes them seem more real and more connected. Maybe that’s what the stories told by my friend did. No more were the sick people and their sufferings anonymous, now everyone had a name, a face, and an identity. I could feel a connection even though it stretched through thousands of miles and millions of thoughts. It all became REAL! And so did the virus as it crossed international boundaries locking down Italy, traveling to Iran, Spain, Germany, South Korea, France, Switzerland, USA, and the UK to name a few. With it carried a sense of panic, and painting the skies with gloom and despair.
There is enough information on COVD-19, and how various cities and countries are dealing with it, and that is not something I am interested in discussing here. The current situation in Austin is a partial lock-down with almost all the public places closed except shopping stores. People are trying to work-from-home, and as for me, I have a 2-week long spring break and nowhere to go. The roads are empty, google maps routes are all blue, the sky is clearer, and the view from my balcony quieter. I come from a place where it was not unusual for a city-wide curfew to be enforced every time Dushehra (a Hindu festival) coincided with Eid (a Muslim festival). But never had I experienced a lockdown as major as this. And, that’s what life is. Surprising you, and at times shocking you reshuffling your priorities and resetting all the standards.
The only thing we can do right now is to stay in, stay safe and make others safe. Practice social distancing. Be mindful of where you go and what you touch. Limit your in-person social interactions. Do not panic and stay duly informed. Spread as much awareness as possible. Do not give in to the manic hysteria by sharing Whatsapp forwards and Facebook posts. Read before you React. Eat healthily and do not forget to work-out. Be considerate of the space of the people you are living with.
While nature and the virus take its course, take the time to reflect and invest in yourself. Read that book lying on your shelf for ages. Invest in a hobby that you could not before because of the crazy work hours. Cook for your partner. Water those plants. Clean out your wardrobe. Meditate. Smile. Work. Relax. This too shall pass!