Girish Joshi

and then we were quarantine

3 min read

For how many days could I go like that, sleeping late, spending all day talking to my friends on the phone, playing online games, watching the tv shows that never seem to end, and occasionally when I’m tired of everything else, picking up the book from where I left. Reading the story of that idealist Architect, Howard Roark, and everything that was going wrong in his life, and mine. Every night I’d promise myself, not tomorrow, I’ll sleep on time from tomorrow, I’ll build a routine tomorrow. I’ll do things which you can call work from tomorrow. But tomorrow came and it was today, and today was yesterday, but I was all the same. It was late at night and I still felt sleepless. I knew I’d be cursing myself tomorrow, again, and the cycle would continue. For how many days could I live a purposeless life? I thought to myself, as long as this quarantine lasts.

The entire world stood at a standstill because of a novel coronavirus that first infected someone in Wuhan, China who drank bat soup and then went on the world tour to all the countries in the world. The only places where it was not found were the place where they were not looking for it. Coronavirus spread worse than a wildfire, and it would engulf 5-10% of humans that came in contact with it. Nobody knew how to treat it, nobody had a vaccine. The governments around the world closed their universities and offices, and asked their citizens to lock down themselves in homes, and hope that this virus stays away from them. And that’s what everyone did that year. They slept on Monday mornings since there was no work to do. They spent all the days talking to their friends on the phone since their friends had nothing better to do either. They played online games because they couldn’t go out anyway. They watched tv shows when no one was around to give them company. And a few decided to attack their pending reading list. But there was one thing that everybody did, everybody grew closer to their families. Even if they were apart, in two distant cities, with no way to go back home, they called back home four times a day to ask what did you eat? Did you make your bed? How is everyone at home? To share news of hope, that the increase in the number of cases is coming down, that probably someone, far, far away has discovered the cure. News channels mongered fear among masses, yet not all feared some of them knew that what has to end will end anyway. Some of them knew that no amount of worry could predict the future like they knew that no amount of shame could undo the past.

If you read history, you’ll start to believe that humans can endure all kinds of hardships. If you read about the pandemics that prevailed before you and I were born, or the wars that man fought for a few inches of land, or about the norms of society that kept lovers away from each other. You’d know, come what may, humans will endure. This time, the hardships were different. This time there were no great wars to be one, there was no one to blame, there was no enemy that we could find. This time all that the warriors were supposed to do was sit on the sofa and serve the time. Now there are many things humans are good at, and more than that there are things in which humans suck. Staying closed in a room with nothing much to do is one of them. And that’s what happened that year. People just kept asking each other, how many days could I go like that.

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