A waiting game?

April 5, 2020

Is it a hide and seek of day and night, a stretch of light and dark to be endured till we start living again? We don’t have the answers to that

In the bat of an eyelid, the world has changed. There has been enough said and written about coronavirus already. There is little left to be said about where it came from and how many lives it has claimed already. On a global level, hunger, need and death have reached unprecedented levels. The idea of this piece is to take a peek into our homes, yours and mine, where life has changed and is testing us in unimaginable ways every day.

I, for one, have been waiting for March to end. As if April would bring new hope and light to the world, as if a new month would suddenly give us our pre-Corona life back. If only.

Is it a waiting game? A hide and seek of day and night, a stretch of light and dark to be endured till we start living again? We don’t have the answers to that. All I know is that at least in my lifetime, life has never been like this before: Monday like every Sunday and a weekend with hours to pass without anybody to meet or visit. Forming a line like ants, we stand a metre apart to enter the supermarket, wish we could swap places with the person first in line, panic if someone comes too close and wish to be out like a bullet as soon the bill is paid. The new world.

Most people thrive on social interaction. Some don’t, because they choose their own company over that of other people. Corona gives you no choice — whether you like social interaction or not, you don’t get any. Having choice taken away from you is, in itself, an invasion of human liberty and freedom. ‘Corona Constitution’ has no room for liberty. It puts you in a box without any other inmates, lets you have the basic necessities for existence (if you are lucky) and takes you back to your basics. You have what you need to survive. Nothing more. Some of us are lucky and have a family to share our homes with. Others are denied even this privilege. These are the ones who are the most isolated. For them, time is almost still as they are told to just stay at home.

All over social media, religion is being celebrated as a way of life. Towering over other ‘new normal’ ideas is that of praying to the Almighty to lessen His wrath, to make Him happy and to ask for forgiveness for our sins. It took a life-changing calamity like corona to remind us of Him, to realise that we are blessed, that having food on the table is not to be taken for granted and that we are not just in this world to please ourselves. All of us, including myself, are wanting to be more charitable, more giving and nobler. We are very scared.

Corona has become an equalising factor in today’s world of social dichotomy, poor and rich, royalty and commoners, masters and servants. The distinction is only on the premise of who ‘has it’ and who ‘doesn’t have it’, all other factors notwithstanding. Locked in our homes, masked outside, all stand equal today in hope and fear. Dresses hang mockingly in closets, new shoes stare askance at wearers to be. Dust piles on handbags bought in happier times with the promise of being arm candy soon. Hairdos are a thing of the past, and makeup is growing older just like ourselves. There is, all of a sudden, no place to go. Fresh air is a luxury, making us think of those in prisons or those who have been in lockdown since years. We feel like we finally know the feeling, the isolation, the fear, the doom.

Media floods us with visions of people who cannot distance from one another since their living quarters are too close to each other, their beds trapped together in a square metre of space giving no room for an extra limb. We watch in horror and offer prayers of gratitude.

It took a loss of tens of thousands of lives and immense human suffering to tell us to attach less importance to ourselves. To realise that our plans are insignificant in comparison to higher plans being etched by a Higher Being. That despite all the progress man has made in terms of technology, he is still just a helpless human being. He is the silent spectator as he watches the show on stage scene by scene.

Observing nature, seeking the meaning of life, meditation, self-reflection. The list goes on. Mankind has had to rewire its coping mechanism to survive corona days, and has had to find positivity in doing so. That is credible in itself. I wish so many of us didn’t have to pay the price for others to become better people and to be thankful for the small things in life which, in effect, are the big things. I wish the jolt had been kinder, the lesson taught to us in a gentler way. Perhaps, we lost our right to ask for that one. Let us hope we get the opportunity to redeem ourselves in a post-Corona world which we desperately await.

A waiting game?