New Delhi, the city that is in my soul and my blood, the city where it all started for me as a kid and for a lot of others, this city is all about keeping your spirits up and being self-dependent and sometimes selfish, in almost all the ways. In this city nobody is anybody because everyone is somebody, maybe that what makes it the capital of India. I love my country not because I was born here but because it is full of different cultures, languages, rituals and different insights. I belong to this country and Delhi and have accepted it with all its flaws. I mean that’s what love is all about and in return this city has accepted me in lot of ways. It has given me the joy of freedom and liberalization as a woman. Delhi is not only known for its historic events and rulers but also comes in the eye because of its power since independence, with so many people I never really got scared. Of course, with 1.9 crore Delhi is full of people from Delhi and lot of others who are from the different parts of the country came in search for a better life or work, earning bread and butter for their families back home. I cannot ignore some facts here that shows 86 percent of the population is literate in my city which is not bad as a number. I am not being judgmental but still I believe Literacy makes the city alive and independent hence, capable of helping the underprivileged.
As we entered the year 2020, we felt special to encounter another year of our lives, and like everyone else I hoped for a better 12 months, as my last one was not a celebration for sure, the year of grief. Last year – 2019, me and my family lost our gem, my mother and I lost my marriage too… December 31st 2019, someone very close to me said “Oh 2020 is going to be your year”; we generally bless each other that way in India. She told me – no worries, no tough times, just a better future and a better life, better vacations, better thought process, more positivity. I crossed my fingers with a frightened heart as we cannot predict future as human beings. Still just to deal with the anxious me, I decided to be positive and raise the toast to 2020.
Though I am not of a much news reader on everyday basis still the current news is always refreshing on my mobile app, so most of our generation is aware of the headlines and not the detailed story, summers were approaching and once again I renewed my gym membership for my summer body as I love working out, one fine morning which I thought was fine, I woke up to the news that opened my eyes and distressed my mind on 20th of March 2020 the news said “ shopping malls and most of the public places will be closed till 31st March due to some deadly virus“ I thought how these people exaggerate the news and make it a nonsense, apparently the nonsense was the whole truth to my shock.
Exactly a day after this news we were locked in our houses as a part of Janta curfew’. On this day we all needed to lock ourselves inside our houses and prove that we are patriotic enough to follow the government directives. That day I learnt a new word “Lockdown”, when, I researched I came across the most shocking news of all times “corona virus” which is highly contagious has become a pandemic! Even in the past I have heard about viral diseases like swine flu, Ebola back in my college times but this was hinting towards something extremely serious. Day after day places in my country were getting closed. With my anxiety levels touching peak levels, I ran towards Avantika’s & Harpreet’s room my tenants and friends, and banged their door with full force like an idiot with that typical anxious look while they looked much aware than I was. When Shubham said, listen India will be under the strict locked down till 31st of this month [Shubham is my another tenant eventually turning slowing into my friend]. Now It was extremely important for me to learn the proper meaning of lockdown as I have never faced this kind of situation in my 31years of life, so I needed to get prepared and to plan my week in the house, just in the house…
While we all were struggling inside our minds, we got another ghastly shocking news by which we got completely zapped. News said India will be under the complete lockdown for 21 days effective from midnight after which we all went into our own zones and looked more like zombies than human being. As Avantika, Harpreet and Shubham are not from Delhi they work here, they immediately started missing their parents, I could just sense it. Obviously I believe it’s human nature when such things are imposed on us, we all know that we can be home for days, our mothers do, but when it is a compulsion to just stay ‘inside’, we cannot meet people, have to compulsorily work from home, Oh God! it becomes a serious issue, isn’t it ? The next thing we needed to do is wear our masks and gloves to protect ourselves from the deadly virus that can trap us just by a sneeze and worst by even by touching people and things around us, like the door knobs, metal surfaces wait! is this some horror movie we are watching or is it just a bad dream? I asked myself! I knew deep down its neither of this and reality started to sink-in.
We wore our masks as we needed to go out to buy raw food, daily essentials. Although we knew that the essentials would be available, whatsoever the situation would be, but again we are humans, we panic! As we stepped out we all were shocked to see the situation on the roads and inside the grocery stores people were on to each other, fighting to buy daily needs. Social distancing norms set by the government had gone for a toss. People were in panic buying spree. The saving grace – atleast most were wearing the masks, oh! few of them even have gloves on. I just hoped they don’t go back and wash them to reuse. People knew through the news channels that the virus has become pandemic and human beings are dying and falling like ninepins almost all over the world. Looking at the people, shopkeepers, people with luxury cars and also few with their cycles who were waiting in the same queue, for the very first time I observed that nature has the power to put all of us on the same plate as nature knows no caste, creed, religion or colour.
Anyway, coming back to my super horrified buddies asking each other their travel histories even though we have been living together. Oh lord! still its better be safe than sorry. They all were acting as if world is going to end and no groceries would be available etc. etc. Honestly I cannot really take that much stress. The only thing I was bothered about was about my pet dog Alfie. I had to do something for his dog food and my cigarettes of course.
My quarantine story is just between the grocery store and my house like everyone else. The same evening when I came back home, I was surprised to see my boyfriend as it had been days since we had last met. I mean we are kind of great followers of social distancing…nah! Actually we are not allowed to travel even to each other’s houses and that meeting seemed quite satisfying. I hadn’t seen him in 30 days, and in this last one month me and my buddies had become completely mechanical, mastering the art of cleaning, mopping, and understanding the art of eye contact like when we see each other we exactly know the scoundrel wants something from the kitchen. Hahahaha…! no really its rather funny and I am sure going to be historic, but surely, we never wanted to be a part of this historic pandemic.
As a lecturer I have learnt that one must have a daily task to feel complete end of the day. So I assigned equal work to each one of them in the house and I hope they’re enjoying doing something what their mothers have been doing as their job all their lives of course without pay.
Meanwhile going through the news every other second it feels sick that people are dying every day and everywhere. We can only pray but can’t share their sorrows so all of us planned to pray and meditate as one of our quarantine ritual. We also prayed for those who have to go to go out of their houses to treat our loved ones in the hospitals, cleaning the roads, or manage city administration during lockdown, risking their own lives. So yes we have humanity left and I am glad and blessed for that.
As the 21st day of quarantine was approaching we got another news in our kitty that the lockdown has been extended for almost two more weeks…
Depression is something that does not need a reason to happen but this time we all have a reason, and also an opportunity to prove to our own selves that we can survive through the crisis. We have two choices in this situation either we turn our backs and fall, or stand up and work on those areas we always wanted to, relive the old times, where people use to sit together have their meals together, share their lives, their thoughts, where parents had time to peep into their teenaged children, and children cherish the homemade food and mother’s love; we have chance to purify our souls and the environment outside, or else we can say that we are giving some space to mother earth and giving her the much-needed “ME TIME”. This is the time we need to prove that we can survive by our own selves; yes monotony is a part of the process but even that needs to be handled by us,
To beat the monotony, I set some goals for myself. One such goal is to lose weight.Trust me in past 8 years I haven’t reached my goal weight because I was just doing it as a part of my routine but not as my priority. However during this lockdown time have already achieved half of it and there are still few days left to this quarantine, I had another goal to start writing my second book and guess what ? I started it, maybe it’s all about using our own energies in the right direction and not using Prozac to calm myrself down.
One major realization from this quarantine has been, it did not turn me into a tech addict and I am glad to still feel like a human infant I feel like 6 again just like that little girl who is dying to go out wanting to see the stars, eat that unhealthy ice candy, walk through the pavements and feel my city again. In this world of materialism nothing can replace the sky, moon, air, ocean, and lives are more important than money; its high time we realize that we make money, but money can’t make us.
About the Author
Sonal Soma Bharija born on. 31st October of 1988, she is an author to a book called the Iridescent life. She is a management lecturer by profession. She has been raised in Delhi, India and completed her post-graduation from Bangalore. She loves spring time with her family. Her life’s mission is to connect with people through her writings and books, help people grow and contribute her bit towards the society and the world. She sees her future not only in herself but in the world and the people around.