It finally happened, India is under a complete lockdown for 21 days. Today happens to be Day 5 and unlike the voluntary Janta Curfew of last Sunday, this is the compulsory kinds.
Stay at home!
China, Italy, Spain, England, the US, practically every country around the globe is doing it or on its way.
So, is this the end of the world?
Somehow I always pictured it to be all fire and brimstone. Instead we have a microscopic bug, therefore invisible, which mimics the symptoms of a common flu. Best of all, none of us turn zombies or go berserk Birdcage style, yet here we are.
Many times I can’t shake off the feeling like I’m trapped in a film. All we need are the Klingons from outer space or better still the Mice from Hitchhiker’s Galaxy to announce that it was their brainchild.
On second thoughts, perhaps I’d just snap awake and find I dreamt it all like Alice. The thoughts that churn when the wheels of the mind spin, astonishing!
What I do know though is that each morning since the lockdown, I wake to zipping noise of scooters and motorcycles, rumbling of cars and tempos and the perpetual honking.
It is a race to the vegetable mandis to stock up on ration and fresh. A few day back, we laughed at the western world’s tales of a doomsday grocery shopping and their toilet roll sagas. Now I can say, we are no different from them.
With all the constant updates, messages, news of COVID nature on phone, telly, papers, even the conversations circling around, it gets to you.
It reminds me of last year’s Venice Biennial, its theme “May you live in interesting times.”
I loved the theme but little did I realise how soon we’d all be living in one.
By the way, Wikipedia has much to say about it. Did you know that it is actually the English translation of a Chinese Curse?
Talk about irony on so many levels!
Yet, amidst all this chaos, when the morning rush calms and the day stretches, a cacophony of trills, chirps and caws interrupt my thoughts. Even the tinkling of the wind chimes sound loud. I register the muezzin’s echoing cry, the whooping laughter of the children next door, snatches of muffled conversations, whispers drifting and just as suddenly silenced by the rustling of the dark green mango and litchi leaves.
I never realised the honking and the rumbling of wheels were such an integral part of my life; they had to fall silent for me to pay attention to any other sound.
Perhaps when all this is over and our lives turn uninteresting again, I’d relish sharing my tales of these times.
My kids are already living it but I’m sure they have their own version of how time slowed or maybe ran faster.
One is at home; socially distant from all but he swears he is sweating over his course PDFs his tutors have mailed. I think it is the Assassin Creed game that has him in a twist.
The other one is far away, quarantined in her college. Luckily, all the kids have tested negative so far but these 21 days of National No Movement means the wait will be longer. Anyway, she has food, her friends, her laptop, cellphone and the wonders of internet at her fingertips. Most importantly, she has her health.
Life in the slow lane is good too.
“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.“
Weekend Challenge: Wheels
Lens artist challenge: Distance