This pandemic has put a question mark on our plans, sureties, certainties and securities.
I distinctly remember hurriedly booking my tickets and packing for the next day to rush home (I was certain just for a week or 10 days) as the panic over Covid-19 started to increase, it was 19th March, 2020. After I reached home leaving most of my belongings in my flat in Delhi, I saw the Prime minister’s speech for lockdown 1.0 and I believed him when he said, “It’ll all be better in 21 days, give these three weeks to me”.
So I decided to work, be productive and study as I was certain that if nothing, my classes would continue and exams would take place because it was just three weeks right? To my dismay, those three weeks have become three months now and coming from a containment zone, where the virus has been spreading like fire, that first lockdown for me has become the 5th.
Now yes, being a final year graduation student I have lost out on graduation parties, farewells, those last moments with my friends but I was certain that I would get to meet them again, there would be jobs for fresh out-of-college students or that I would get in for Master’s programme. As I watched more and more icons like The Obamas, The Gates, Top Bloggers, Celebrities wishing the class of 2020 the best; my certainties began to blur because it was then that I finally realised, we all had a plan, something to look forward to and something to work for and while life has always been full of uncertainties this was different because we didn’t prepare for this or know how to control it and lack of control comes with a deep feeling of helplessness. The whole world has been filled with uncertainties and while mine are really small, we face a million others staring at us, now that the unlock 1.0 has started to show it’s colours.
Even after the country was put on lockdown, India has reached 4,00,000 plus cases becoming the top 4th country where corona has spread and we are more uncertain than we were when the virus had just begun to spread in the country. Even though I constantly hear, “We are all in this together”, I barely believe it because my experience, both emotional and mental, has been different from every individual going through the same as me.
The precariousness arrives firstly, with fear as we have no idea who has the virus and the fright of spread is really high in the country and while it is safer to stay home now that the numbers are ever-increasing, is it okay to let the economy hang like that? If we decide to ‘unlock’, the virus is not just deadly but also expensive, so even if you don’t die from it you might not be able to afford treatment which has been the result of death for many.
Secondly, there has been an ever increasing loop of ‘bad news’ and concerns. I feel like I’ve lived a few years in these past six months. Crashing of Economy, Migrant crisis in the country, Cyclone in Orissa and Kolkata, Domestic violence, Bois Locker Room, Locust attacks, Minor Earthquakes in Delhi, Deaths from hunger, Arrests of Journalists, Mishandling of both covid affected and other patients by hospitals, Accountability of PM Care Fund, Tension at Indo-China Border; to top these are important international issues like Black Lives Matter Protests; the list is long and we have experienced all of these crises in just a span of six months. Everyday, there is a new issue to grieve, big or small. The reason it hits us all-the-more is because while everyone is struggling to keep their mental health in check, these news on top of the virus, seem overwhelming and difficult to handle.
Although some of these issues and questions of national importance have hardly been acknowledged by the Indian media or even the Prime minister because blaming it on Pakistan or simply not addressing the issue at all, respectively, seems to work out just fine.
None of my certainties have proved to be true but there’s one I look forward to, emotional and mental growth. While ‘Stay home, stay safe’ is the last thing some of us wish to hear, it is the only thing slightly saving us from the virus. It has been a very difficult journey and I am sure it’s no where close to being over but there is a new normal waiting on the other side. A new normal that has already begun to infiltrate it’s claws in our lives with Work-from-home, Online classes and creation of a virtual space for almost every activity. A lot awaits us, A new normal with masks and sanitisers, a new normal with social and physical distancing, a new normal filled with uncertainties because none of us have any answers but a million questions to seek.
Sanskriti Falor is a third-year Journalism student at Delhi University