Much like the ground squirrel of the American mid-west who – during the colder months – embarks on a sleep of a lifetime; come monsoon I prepare for a similar trajectory. Only instead of regulating my blood concentration and stacking up bodily glucose elsewhere as my pre-hibernation ritual, I start stacking up on my book reading recommendations.
Because honestly there is no other time in the whole year when I yearn for good books to read, like I do during the rains.
When the lockdown period began, I noticed that social media was flooded with posts about ‘staying positive’and‘being productive’ while staying at home. From a word here, to a post there – before I knew it – this concept of ‘positivity and productivity during a pandemic‘ snowballed into entire pages, campaigns and challenges! It spread through Instagram and Facebook like wildfire.
When I saw this, my first thought was: sure, this approach could lead to a temporary spike in motivation and optimism, but in other words – it could also be a distraction from allowing us to completely acknowledge and process how immensely challenging this period truly is. And on the days that we potentially struggle to cope with these ‘socially acceptable’ methods, we can end up feeling either guilt or shame – if not both.
I woke up one day to a WhatsApp video sent by my dad about a sighting of Hornbills in Altamount Road. I don’t remember last when I jumped out of bed with such rapid enthusiasm to watch a video. But when I did play it, my first thought was HORNBILLS IN THE CITY? Could this be real??!
When I finished watching the video – the realization then sunk in, I had been in a self imposed quarantine for nearly 23 days; 30 days counting today. And the fact that those hornbills could stray into the city so freely was – in a way – a reminder, nay, a result of it: this new way of living; humans retreating into the indoors.
Ever since China reported to the WHO of a mysterious pneumonia-like illness spreading amongst its vast population on Dec 31st, 2019 – the world has been in a constant state of upheaval. Then, on Jan 7th, 2020 – this lung jarring illness was finally identified with a name: SARS-CoV-2 medically referred to as Covid-19.
In close to three months of its existence – asCovid-19 made its way around the globe– it has caused widespread chaos and fear in its wake, with thousands of lives hanging in the balance. And as the world retreated into a 2-week lockdown, the news of this deadly virus has syndicated its way into our lives through a number dedicated channels. Be it those unending WhatsApp forwards, un-muted Google alerts, social media, phone calls or your next door neighbor who can’t stop talking about it.
While this has resulted in a ‘man-vs-virus’ war-like scenario, with man on the constant defense, always looking for our next hopeful victory – there is one primal question we forget to ask our fellow comrades: How are YOU personally dealing with it?
Many many years ago when I was much younger and much more trusting an old family friend gifted my parents a piece of art he called ‘a work of genius’. It was a 15” by 12” printed frame with the exact same pattern of coloured dots and petal shapes spread across its surface.
At first we assumed it was the detailing that was the genius part about it. But then, some weeks later that same friend called up to inquire about the artwork. When our answers – revolved around similar phrases of praise, he finally revealed to us that hidden within those dots and shapes was a figure of a dancing Krishna. And that the genius part was to spot that hidden figure within its incredible detailing.