Seeking Opportunity & Peace amidst Covid Pandemic
When I first heard about the coronavirus wreaking havoc in China, I assumed it was a problem that will be sorted out soon, just like the other viruses in the past.
We still remember the bird flu and the swine flu that threatened the world a few years ago. But they fizzled out well time and never led to anything big. Then came the WHO warnings about a possible pandemic, which had a potential to change life as we know it.
I brushed aside the warnings and thought the WHO was overreacting. Before long the virus started moving to other countries and I started paying heed to what Tedros Adhanom meant when he said the world could be facing a possible pandemic. Before we could realize the gravity of the situation, coronavirus had spread in many countries across the world and a pandemic was declared.
The World Health Organisation was right in their warnings. The panic was not uncalled for but it was what the world needed to combat the virus. Many countries in the world, the most developed ones with the best medical facilities were struggling to contain the virus and the misery it brought.
Covid-19 Hits India
Early March, India was still far from it and as we started receiving warnings that the virus was cruel and didn’t discriminate, I hoped and prayed it will be not as bad in India. Within a few weeks, India was subject to what was called the world’s largest lockdown. I was in favour of the lockdown, going by the rest of the world’s experience in tackling the deadly virus. It seemed like a sensible decision at that point in time and we went into a complete lockdown, with a hope that we would come out victorious.
Just like everyone else around me, we were anticipating a lockdown and had been filling up our pantry to keep us fed for the next few weeks. A couple of weeks should do the job, I thought and the virus will be crushed. End of March was the cutoff point and most of us deep down in our hearts were hoping for the virus spread to slow down in April or latest by mid April. No letup in the COVID 19 cases and the scourge of the virus continued well into weeks that turned into months. The lockdown was extended and most of us began to adjust to the new normal of living within the confines of our homes. The only way to communicate was the internet and the phone as personal meetings were now considered dangerous.
Adaptability & Opportunity
We are a resilient lot and learnt to adapt to living in the lockdown. No house parties, no family gatherings, no family day outs, no more going to the movies, and many such things that were so normal were now deemed dangerous.
As an artist I saw an opportunity in this and started expressing my feelings on canvas. I was inspired to create and these unprecedented times did bring out the best in me. The artist in me was at her creative best and I was inspired to tap that. I did see many of my friends try their hand at cooking, poetry, writing, singing et al. Many of us discovered facets of our personalities and creativity which we didn’t know existed.
The lockdown taught us to slow down and reflect, it taught us to unravel our hidden traits and have a new perspective on a lot of things that we otherwise took for granted. There was a newfound joy in what we used to do as children in the seventies and eighties. Just being at home with family and doing nothing was not so bad after all. It was an activity most of us were doing during the lockdown and quite enjoying it.
For me there are two key takeaways from this experience. One, human beings deep down are all the same, look at all the lockdown chefs that have emerged. World over, people have unleashed the cooks in them. Two, we don’t live for ourselves, most of the time we keep up with pretences. We do things that are expected of us, and things that will get us others’ acknowledgement.
Many of us will confess that although we miss all the social activities we used to do, living in isolation has been a peaceful and productive period in our lives. However, life has to go on and we have to get up and get going to run the world.
About the Storyteller: Gurugram based artist Shruti Vij is an art enthusiast and a painter with a distinct individual style. Her art is not limited by style or technique since she likes to leave it free-flowing. She has an art studio by the name of Shruti Arts.