Indian authors muse over what will influence post-pandemic literary works

Author Tishani Doshi on life post-pandemic

Tishani Doshi   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Throughout this lockdown, I have been veering madly between being pessimistic and optimistic about how we will emerge from this. As a poet, I’m used to holding the light and dark, to taking the bombardments on the chin, but also, to drawing beauty from the world around as an act of resistance.

On my best days, I like to think that we will emerge from this pandemic as a society that’s more tender and equitable. That somehow this reset button will slow things down to make us prioritise what kind of environments we want to live in.

Some of us might begin to grow our own vegetables and become obsessed with soil. Empathy will be manifold. People will get involved in communities in inventive ways. Artists will continue to create. Pets will become paramount company. We may go back to wearing hats and gloves and cover all our skin to create protective sheaths for our bodies. We will be more discreet with touch. Species will recover.

People might not get paid outrageous amounts of money to play with a bat and ball in a stadium that is empty, but instead, it might be decided on the evaluation scale, that healthcare workers, teachers, and transportation workers deserve more. The notion of celebrity might get an overhaul. Carbon footprints will shrink, and once again, when a child sees an aeroplane in the sky, it might be cause for such excitement that they have to run into the street to marvel at this metal bird in the sky. In short, wonder, may be reinstituted.

Most days though, I understand that until there’s a vaccine, there are going to be huge restrictions on movement, privacy and freedom. People will die alone and away from loved ones. There will be increased government surveillance through the use of health apps. There will be a lot of fear. All around the world there will be greater patrolling of borders, an increase in nationalism, economic recession, debt, unemployment, displacement. It will be sad, and the only solace will be our gods and the Internet.

Tishani Doshi is the author of the novel, Small Days and Nights

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 5:45:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/author-tishani-doshi-on-life-post-pandemic/article31685982.ece

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