June 13th, 2020, Saturday
How do you breathe? I really seem to have forgotten off late how to do it. And really why shouldn’t I? How do you remember to breathe when you’re being suffocated? Lockdown and COVID. Two words that will haunt me for the rest of my life (if I live that is). It’s been two weeks since they took papa and mum away, apparently, their swab test had reported COVID positive. They talk to me at least once a day, when they can get themselves heard over the ruckus that is going on 24/7 at those relief centers. Or, as I prefer to call them, asylums. But they say that they’ve got a relatively good deal, their relief center isn’t too crowded and at least they get food worth eating. I didn’t dare ask how much worse it could possibly get. Gran and Grampa are watching over me very anxiously. I know what’s on their minds, even though they don’t tell me. They think I could get infected. Well, I could, and no mistake. Sometimes I think I’d like it. At least I’d be with my parents. But at other times I’m scared. One of our neighbors told Gran that she might as well give up on mum and pops because nobody who’s taken away to those ‘madhouses’ can possibly come back alive. Now that would have been a romantic, sad, tragic story in a book but in real life, it’s just pitiable and nasty. Now that would have been a romantic, sad, tragic story in a book but in real life, it’s just pitiable and nasty. I don’t like to cry, it vexes Gran so, and Grampa walks about with a face like a thundercloud. But sometimes I miss them so much and it hurts even to think what it would be like if I had to live with that for the rest of my life. It’s unbelievable how much pain can hurt. And how ignorant people can be about that. I can’t believe I just wrote that. It sounds like a piece out of a sermon and I hate sermons. But right now, well I can appreciate the intent behind those words.
My parents tell me stories about the people they live with. Some people are just pathetic; they moan and groan and complain they should die since they are of no further use, some are in denial, still can’t believe that they are about to die (or that they have contracted the disease for that matter), some think that the world belongs to them and are constantly complaining about why they are not getting the best of services in such a critical time and some are just resigned to their fate and are trying to fight the infection. And the rest is the extraordinarily brave people who are still so cheerful, kind and considerate, who try to lift people’s spirits through jokes and stories. Mum says you get that kind of people everywhere, people who are ever so ready to help and those who always put other’s needs before their own. I wish I could be like that. Then I’d check my tears for my grandparents’ sake and be brave like my parents tell me to be.
The other day my friend, Vidisha was saying that these times actually teach us the meaning of pain and tragedy and fear – all of those things that seem so exciting in stories. She said that this was going to be our chance to make our own stories. It might be something we can talk about calmly some distant day, but right now it seems impossibly bleak, and nothing seems to make sense. There, I’m crying again. It’s infuriating to feel so miserable and so hopelessly helpless. If only I could do something, anything to help, at least I wouldn’t have so much time to think. I hate crying. I hate feeling like this all the time. Gran’s coming. I gotta go wash my face or she’ll see that I’ve been crying.