shruti chowdhary



shruti chowdhary


Life In The Lockdown - Back To Past

Life In The Lockdown - Back To Past

10 mins

As the coronavirus continues to spread and confine people largely to their homes, we are constantly knitting stories and making cocktails of an anxious, claustrophobic world on pause. Every new day of lockdown, I woke up at sunrise and sneaked out to watch the city still sleeping or moving. I guess I just wanted to fool myself into believing everything was normal, Well it isn't, but going out is not the answer. It is critical clear now that we have to stay at home until we make 365 days of historical remembrance. It doesn't matter if I am healthy and young, I have to do my part and not put others to risk, not compromise the weakened healthcare system and free away myself from the nightmares of feeling the need of plasma therapy. Whether our country will overcome and recuperate from this pandemic economically and emotionally. Whether China keeps inviting us to become more and more powerful and increase our military infrastructure and rage every neighboring countries for third world war. Are we moving fast towards a new era, new planet and new generation and new India. Will the missiles and weapons be enough to bring back our country to normalcy. I never knew I shall be divulging my knowledge of political science to such an extent that I would stop watching all soaps, all sales, all fashion, all my cravings, all reality shows, the fantasies I keep on imagining the unexpected uncountable times. I would like to take you four months back on my incredible journey during lock-down, as now I am very much acquainted and fascinated with this genre.

It was 12th March , 2020 ,the day when I boarded a flight from Delhi to Kolkata with my teenage daughter full of excitement and laughter as I was going to meet my parents after five years of waiting and waiting ,I finally succeeded in convincing my husband that it’s the right time now .My daughter also gave her consent to enjoy her freedom for the coming ten days as she will be engrossed after then for her higher secondary examinations .My shining bright eyes couldn’t stop thinking when I will be able to hug my parents though I was told to be little alert as corona has just begun to hit our country with few cases which was not a great concern. My daughter was full of hope to meet his extended relatives and understand what is family bonding all about,the places she will capture in her heart and the amount of fun she will encounter was beyond her imagination. We knew the pre-planning days will be so shocking like a flat tire unable to move at all.

The day I landed on my birthplace I was nostalgic about each and every place I crossed, the spots, the mouth-watering delicacies of street food,the people and everything close to my heart. We were of course given a warm welcome with sanitizers,masks and gloves, and other safety kits. The intensity of our excitement had started fading bit by bit, day by day, things did not happen as pre-planned by my daughter and myself and everywhere was compromises and adjustments, I thought at my hometown I will be just myself and enjoy my short vacation with no worries and no one to interrupt as I had settled my office chore before coming here. Life was coming to stand still as fear and safety were overcoming our minds due to the spread of virus slowly and slowly, the doors to our happiness were gradually shrinking and deteriorating and we have to shut ourselves confined to one place only. I had to take the brickbats of my daughter who was blaming me for choosing these days of vacation, I had nothing to say but to regret as some more catastrophic situation was coming my way. Finally, we had to return to Delhi on 22nd march 2020, to which we regained our excitement of my daughter who was away for the first time without her father shall be able to meet him once again and kill those missing days without him as she was more attached to her father.

Something unexpected happened as we all know when our honorable prime minister announced Janta curfew on 22nd March, we were strictly warned to cancel our flight as not to take any chances. Tears rolled down my daughter's eyes, it took me hours to convince her that we shall be taking another flight on 25th so nothing to worry about as tickets were already made the next day. This was the life-changing day for both of us when the PM announced the first challenging lock-down, this word which is unforgettable by millions and became a familiar liability in our life. We were totally unaware that the lock-down will keep extending and adding to our grievance. I had totally forgotten of being a married woman as from now I was living my unmarried life with no one to bother me. At times I even thought to start dating and making a long-distance phone call to my would-be husband as if I was a stranger to him. I really can’t stop laughing now.

Now we were dealing with all grief, trauma, and loss due to the beginning of series of lock-downs whenever we had scheduled our upcoming tickets, we had to cancel and only mourn. I was more towards comfort zone as I was close to my parents, was able to lend them my helping hand, my childhood days were back and I had so much time for relaxation which did not happened anytime in Delhi. Every single relative use to inspire me that be thankful to GOD who has lock-down you with your parents who were missing you badly for the last five years just to see your face, who knew that my prayers will be answered so soon when I too was longing to make up the loss where I will spend every moment happily with them .I was really grateful and beyond imagination that I was with my parents for such a long period for the first time after my twenty years of marriage and will be able to do as much I can do for them .It was the other way for my daughter , she became more furious, more stubborn, more arrogant and isolated herself completely, I felt sad for her, who had come to Kolkata after such a long time to fulfill her small dreams and desires but destiny had something else in store for her.She missed her studies badly as she had planned to become CBSE topper in 2021.But gradually she was able to overtake her anger, regained her calm composure but sometimes we have to digest her shock-waves. In the company of her grandfather, she could cover her studies a bit and the extra knowledge which she accumulated will be helpful to her for a lifetime. The lock-down days taught us so many valuable lessons that we had all forgotten to implement in our daily lives. The values of truth, trust, honesty, empathy, respect, care for elders, being human, sharing, giving, and most important the value of TIME which we had left far behind.On one side, the national and international news on the corona pandemic was buzzing around, on the other side people were making a stay at home more useful by pursuing things they haven’t done in past or wanted to inculcate a change in their lives. On a positive note, for some it was a healthy start, to lift one's self-esteem and for some who like to see the only negative side of life, doesn’t believe in the mantra of change which is a constant thing.

Whenever my parents underwent mood swings, I tried to make a difference in their living. It is not an easy time, uncertainty may keep you up longer than usual at night, but it is useful to meet yourself for real, to understand you are lonely but not alone. And to be sure that when everything is over, we will take care of the things that matter with greater consciousness. I not only taught the basics of phone usage, making it more user-friendly but also alleviated their feelings to match the modern age. The happiest moment was that I got the opportunity to be present at the time of their golden jubilee when no guests could be entertained during lock-down ,so we four partied,I gifted them a small memento and homemade bouquet and ordered a utility item for them . What a great feeling that I could do something for them made me so proud. I added ten years of golden days in their lives to make them feel young and happy. It was a precious and captive moment for me.

The patriotic mood was set when the whole nation was seen clapping hands, banging thalis, ringing bells, lighting mud-diyas, and candles was an eye-catching scene indicating a sense of one nation that breathes together. My daughter enjoyed this sight as if never seen before. We were lucky to watch and click every beauty of nature morning or evening from the 20th floor of the building. The cool breeze, the sound of chirping birds, the freshness of oxygen, the greenery all around, the clear blue sky, the dawn, and the dusk were so mesmerizing and amazing to watch which was lost from our sight for so many years. That was nothing less than magical and miraculous.

And one of the days was most horrifying and terrific when Mother Nature engulfed the whole city with the non-stop thunderstorm called Amphan continuously for six or seven hours along-with heavy showers, uprooting trees, breaking down of electric poles, old buildings, huts, floods. It was a huge loss of life and property to a great extent that the prime minister has to shell out a huge amount of monetary help to recover from the damage. This was something an eye witness for us as if it’s an unending war with mother nature. Watching mythological series of the ’90s The Ramayana and Mahabharata acted as saviors in times when everyone is lock-down at home, every time the fear of losing near and dear ones was hovering like dark clouds, the words of dharma still echoing in my ears gave me a fresh start to rethink to live your life in a new way, it was time Mother Nature was teaching us to recycle, renew, rewind and reuse our good olden times and change the bodily cover and let the new leaf sprout inside you. Read inspirational and philosophical books by renowned authors taught us the real meaning of life, your existence, your health, your mind, and your soul.

My daughter no matter whether she was lagging behind in her studies or cursing me for bringing her along in the city of Kolkata was developing her inner self on the other side. She learned new lessons of actually how hard it is to live with the pros and cons and how life shapes and carves oneself unpredictably.

When the world was busy in quarantine, isolation, statistics, policies, donations, lawbreakers, scams and scandals, politicians fights, COVID hospitals, earthquakes, phone calls, online classes, etc., it was time to grab the opportunity to finally be able to fly to Delhi after four cancellations and my three months of a long stay at my parent’s house was going to end at last. Though I was habituated to relive my childhood days, my other side of brain was calling and making me remind of my duties and responsibilities which I had to restart in Delhi. I shall miss the warmth and tenderness of my parents. Their unconditional love made me richer at heart. 

We manage to reach safely in Delhi after following strict norms of flying with only thirty co-passengers by Air India. During my two and a half - hour flight I was just replaying the new experience we had undergone, the challenges we have to face was totally going to be a new consumption of looking at life. Despite the grim atmosphere around, I refuse to forget that this is probably the most time we are all going to be blessed with to focus on things that make life worth living. My Daughter gave a soft smile on seeing her father, she was no more excited to hug him but was sounding sensible and grownup. She had started preparing and grooming herself to a new self with the aim of becoming topper, not only in her boards but in real life too.

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