When Pandora’s box was re-opened in the year 2019—2020, the entire world was forced to shut down and face some downtime like an overheated computer. Life as we knew it had come to an end. Uncertainty seeped into our well-crafted plans while the fear of death lurked over our heads, nagging us to dare step out of line.
From facing paradoxes like sanitizing the sanitizer bottle with other sanitizers to experiencing borderline OCD when it came to dipping vegetables in non-toxic cleansers before using them, almost giving up on market-produced fruits, and keeping our grocery shopping to a bare minimum lest we bring the infection home, we were afraid of a submicroscopic virus was multiplying exponentially and winning an uncalled-for war against humankind, sparing no race, religion, gender or age. Meanwhile, the healthcare personnel, doctors, public hygiene personnel, the police force, shopkeepers of essential items, and journalists donned the garbs of knights in shining armors.
With the gyms and swimming pools forced to close to contain the spread of the coronavirus, our individual health took a serious hit. Most of us lacked the motivation or zeal to work out in the privacy of our homes with little or no equipment and no peers to join in.
Some of us lost our jobs due to cost-cutting, and others took a pay cut, while the world economies dipped low and stayed in the shadows. But it also led to the invention of new apps to track the number of affected citizens in an area to curb the spread. Oximeters became a common household item, a must-have in one’s first-aid box like the thermometers. Eating herbal mixes and drinking herbal tea, every family followed its own protocol to increase its immunity.
While sports took a backseat, the only scoreboard we checked on an hourly basis was the covid-meter of different nations and watched the news channels anxiously praying to hear the news of an effective vaccine. But our home quarantine made us realize the significance of creativity and the entertainment industry: literature, art, films, and music. For if not for the books and movies, we’d all end up in an asylum. And some of us discovered the creative gems hidden within us and picked up new skills like cooking, baking, painting, playing an instrument, learning a song, twirling to a new dance-form, or penning down our experiences and writing fiction. The remote workplace was sometimes a boon and at other times a bane; we could attend work meetings in our pajamas, but the endless hours we put in turned us into unkempt workaholics. We were physically right next to our loved ones/ families but practically had no time to communicate with them owing to our new flexible hours of work! With the airports locked down for months, the only trip we could take was one down the memory lane as we flipped through the rustic pages of our albums.
On the one hand, most of us learned to help our mothers in their daily chores and recognized the backbreaking effort that goes into it, on the other hand, we had a newfound appreciation for the technology that not only unburdened us but also helped us stay connected. Video calls became the new norm, and so did masks. With not a soul in sight, walking down the lane in the eerie silence of the alleys to buy some essential items felt like walking through the pages of a dystopian novel. And if we made it home safely and did not catch a fever in the next few weeks, we felt like the pawns of a video game that had made it to the next level, alive!
And all we are left with now is unfaltering hope that the can of worms will be closed again.