Few months back, I was enjoying my vacation with people from different countries. I was having a blast experiencing different cultures and food. On the first day of 2020, I was on a flight and was feeling truly ecstatic because this was the first time I was flying on 1st of January. I thought – what a crazy year this will be? I was already planning for my next vacation.
I joined back office with my tan and beautiful memories of my holiday. I just couldn’t stop smiling with the days I just lived and the days I was planning to live. I was enjoying my work and my life. In the next few days, I learnt about a virus that the entire world was talking about. I first heard something about China, then a few days later, it was Iran, then Italy. It was sprawling like wildfire globally and soon it hit India.
The idea of Corona virus hitting India was as scary as Tsunami hitting Japan (Tsunami hitting anywhere else is equally scary). India was not prepared, people were not prepared, government was not prepared.
We all were going to experience something unseen in the last 100 years. Everyone was going to get affected. There were no exceptions. Our worlds were taking a one-eighty degree turn. India a country with an unending hustle-bustle was going to get used to being quiet. I know the entire world was experiencing this, but for India, being India, this was a challenge. We are the noise makers, we don’t know what quiet is. We are deeply tied up with our families, our friends, our neighborhood, how were we going to survive this? This India would have to understand social distancing and most importantly, follow it.
We all learnt about social distancing. By the way, this should be Oxford’s word of 2020. The virus and the word made us stay at home. No malls, no fun places to go to, no dinners outside, no vacation plans and no social gatherings. Stay where you are – is the message. A lockdown. I understand the message. We all do. We have to stay at home. Homebound only. Which means I’m working from home, just like most of the us.
Working from home has always been a dream. It’s convenient – I always thought. Well, initially it was fun. It was so good to be in my space and delivering work. I realised I was more focused at home than office. I was so focused, just like my husband who was also working from home, that our line of personal and work space blurred. It wasn’t clear anymore whether it was time to work or to stop work. There were no breaks, no early morning chitchat with friends at work and no snack time. My husband got up every morning in a hurry to get ready for his early morning zoom meeting. Our lunches were also in a haste mostly. By the time we both were off our laptops, it was mostly eight in the evening. Then, we would prepare our dinner and it would be ten already. What was happening? We were spending twenty four hours together in the same house and not spending much time with each other. And me being the selfish one that I am, I was also worried about not having enough time to spend with myself. I am a firm believer of spending some quality time with oneself first and then with someone else.
That evening, I started making a mental note of things that I wanted to do. I understood that the lockdown was not going to go away anytime soon. I had to do something. I had to.
First thing I did the next morning was – I picked my Nikon DSLR that I bought five years back. Yes, five years back! I could count the number of times I used it earlier and I’m not proud of myself to say that. I was so excited when I had bought it but in the daily grind of life, it was kept someplace, where I wouldn’t see it often. I cleared my mind of my past excitement and filled my heart with the freshness of early morning. In next few seconds, I was in my balcony. Now this is no ordinary balcony. This balcony gives me a view of endless greenery, hills and open sky. I’m always thankful to God whenever I’m in my balcony, this is my favourite space in my space. As I stood outside, I noticed a bird – I had never seen this bird before. I was elated to see it. The bird was Coppersmith Barbet. I clicked. Next day, it was a Bulbul, the next, a Superb Fairy Wren, the next, a Magpie Robin and the next, a Kingfisher. What was happening? Was this because of lockdown? Maybe? I wondered how I never noticed a single bird apart from the pestersome Pigeons. Now this is my hope of my every morning. This makes me happy and this gives me hope.
In these times, we need to find our own hope. We need to create new strengths and new happinesses. While we all need to work. We all need to have fun as well. We need to connect with ourselves, or else how will we connect with our families, our partners.
Find something that will make you feel alive, I’m trying to find more. Gym is shut, so I’m trying sun salutations at home. Have no Starbucks or a Durga coffee house open, so I’m trying Dalgona at home. I’m learning about focus, aperture and white balance, things that I should have learnt five years back. Writing this article is also about me finding happiness. I hope there’s something that each one of us is able find for ourselves – finding our happiness in the times of Corona. The gloom will get defeated by each drop of happiness that we create in our lives.