There is fear on one side and extreme nonchalance on the other. Both devastating in their own different ways
What you are about to read you must have read somewhere else as well. This, or some eerily similar version of this — part of a perpetual case of deja vu that you just cannot escape. There is an inexplicable feeling of helplessness that we’re collectively experiencing right now. Anxiety, paranoia; it all culminates in a mental state so dark that one cannot see past it. This downward slope into the unknown and the absolute uncertainty surrounding us do not make sense. How can they?
In Lahore, we anxiously look forward to the few weeks of March when the temperature is just about right. March for us in Lahore is the only time to revel in serenity before the mayhem of summer must begin.
March this year, however, was different. We deprived ourselves of these simple pleasures of life because we wanted to be able to have a chance at life. It was the onset of spring when the world around us began crumbling, we became confined to our homes, and the paranoia began. At the start of this year, could we even imagine that March would be so ruthlessly snatched away from us?
Spring is long gone now. The cruel months of summer are here. Outside, the world continues to march towards disaster, whereas inside us life stays still and in immeasurable fear.
I don’t know about the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ normal. I just want to be able to go back to the time when whining about suffering from a perpetual writer’s block was one of the top-most things I had to worry about. It is still there, but it’s no longer the only thing I worry about.
I sit in my room with my cup of tea and my dying computer, attempting to type away something fit for a mood piece; but what exactly do you write when the only emotion you feel is crushing gloom? Especially, when all that can be said about it has been said already.
Those who know me know that writing about writing (or not writing) is perhaps what I like best. These days, however, it has become even more of a chore to put a few words together. Mostly because of the anxiety that arises from the fact that no one really knows when everything will get back to normal. And what is normal anyway? I don’t know about the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ normal. I just want to be able to go back to the time when whining about suffering from a perpetual writer’s block was one of the topmost things I had to worry about. It is still there, but it’s no longer the only thing I worry about.
I want to write but somehow I cannot. I pick a book, but after reading hardly two pages, I put it back. It’s like I have all the time in the world, but none at all. It is a conundrum I never thought I’d come across. Maybe that is why I just don’t know what to do with it.
I’m sure you must have read something like this piece somewhere. But maybe read this one too? Others will follow. There is something surreal about an emotion of doom felt simultaneously by so many around the world and the individual need for it to be expressed, and to be heard.
The Lahore that I witnessed in February this year was full of life and hope. Like February normally feels in Lahore, perhaps the only dread being the impending arrival of the summer months ahead. However, the city I love is no longer the city I remember. There is paranoia everywhere; fear on one side and extreme nonchalance on the other: both devastating in their own different ways.
Everyone is looking for solace right now; waiting, hoping, wishing for a better day while knowing full well that it might take a while for it to arrive. We are in June already. Soon it shall descend into July and so forth. Time won’t stop, for that is what time is supposed to do. But to me, Lahore is still stuck in February.
The writer is a staff member