23rd June, 2020
Today began by me reminiscing about the recent past and processing the lockdown.
2020 shall remain etched in my memory as – ‘The Year When My Life Changed for Good.’
It began with the last leg of my first overseas trip to the Land Down Under, where I witnessed the bushfires. As I flew back home with a brief transit at Singapore’s Changi Airport towards the end of January, Co-Vid 19 had just started spreading. This was evident from the sight of masks on flights and elsewhere.
I changed my job, my city in the beginning of February as I had bigger plans for my future. From the moment I landed in Bangalore on the 4th, I fell in love with the city. Professionally, I gained exactly what I wanted this year. Personally, I was at peace, chalking out plans to attend the workshops, bookstores and endless options that I always crave for. This is the city of opportunities. This is the city of my closest friends. This is the city where I have wanted to be for a long time.
Reveling in my happiness, I was striking a balance, making peace with the traffic by reading one book after another during my commute. Enjoying the local delicacies. And then, the Coronavirus pandemic made its presence felt.
As a safety measure, we had already started working from home a little before the nationwide-lockdown took place. Moreover, I was already telecommuting for a year and this was not that drastic a change. Having seen the curfew situation in Gujarat circa 2002, the empty streets due to the Coronavirus lockdown seemed oddly familiar.
In the 2020 lockdown, offered with limited options, I started doing what I have always done in times of crisis – rise to the occasion by making the most of what I had. I began with – Gratitude.
Every single day, I wake up being thankful for what my privileges are. These include – living with someone I love dearly (my closest friend from high school), eating nourishing home-cooked food, living in a neighborhood where all amenities are nearby, having a balcony and a terrace to be able to view sunsets and count stars every single day. I am grateful to have access to the internet and stay connected even while practicing social-distancing. I am grateful to have a few extra hours to focus on my personal development, pet projects, writing for myself and lend a helping hand to all those who need me by their side (of course, at a distance). I am grateful to have made new friends and found a mentor.
I exercise positivity every single day without fail. I am selective about who I am surrounded with, what I read, view and speak. Some of my friends and I are exchanging notes and supporting each other through this. We are taking the entire “We Are In This Together” very seriously and have chalked out different tasks to flatten the curve of monotony.
So far, we have created an excel sheet where we assign each other tasks. Sample this – we learnt some foreign phrases, created a comic strip, created a slam poem, journaled, installed and played this amazing game, donated, added to our knowledge, created hilarious video content, wrote in Elvish/Sindarin script, DIYed some rad stuff and read. These tasks made us realize how much creative potential we have. That, anyone can be creative even in times of distress. My task for the day includes donating for a noble cause.
Also, for someone who disliked cooking, I am turning into a master-chef with each passing day. I am following some of the top food bloggers, learning the ropes and improvising. Who knew I had this talent?! The best part is that I don’t get tired anymore post the cooking and well, the cleaning soon after. I look forward to meal planning and preparations and shop for groceries. Today, I cooked Jeera Aloo and Vangi Bhaat, with the rice all intact and not the usual mush I create!
As for my inherent love for dogs, I am happy watching the neighbors play with their furry buddies on the terrace. I am happy feeding some strays on the empty streets on my way to grocery shopping with my friend. I am happy with the dog videos that are doing the round. I am looking forward to spotting some today as I take a break from work and go for a walk on the terrace.
By the time all this is over, I know that I will be someone a bit more well-read and knowledgeable. I have a long list of to-dos ready and am ticking them off at the speed of lightning! For instance, over the years I paid attention to my studies and job and restricted my movie-watching time. I am catching up. My friend/flatmate is introducing me to the best of music and movies and shows (she has a great taste). I have developed a crush on Kelso from the 70’s Show. Which is not too bad right? And finally, after 10 years, I saw The Inception and Interstellar. *drumrolls* Today, I saw an episode of Abstract, a documentary series of design. Recently, I finished Dark – the mind-bending Sci-Fi. My interest in Quantum Physics has piqued up infinitely.
Life is good to be honest.
Do I miss the outdoors? Do I miss hanging out? Do I miss not being able to attend the workshops, events and exhibitions in person? Do I miss my home and family? Maybe a bit, yes. But since I have always been an ambivert, not being able to do so 24*7 doesn’t bother me that much.
To sum up, I have worked on myself way too much to not be anxious and worry about the future. I pay it forward by talking to people who are facing their worst moments and are anxious. Who feel that their wings are clipped. I empathize. I check on them. I offer practical solutions. I assure them that this too shall pass. I remind them of the clear blue skies. The fresh air. Mindfulness. Most importantly, I remind them to live life to the fullest, taking one day at a time.
Sucheta Biswas is a writer, reader and ambivert based out of Bangalore, India. An ardent dog-lover, she likes to learn new languages, soak the sunlight and travel to the mountains once in a while.She is an avid Game of Thrones fan and shamelessly suffers from Tsundoku. https://medium.com/@suchetabiswas