Perspectives of a pandemic

If the lockdown allowed birds to fly and sing all day, why not share more space?

May 24, 2020 12:15 am | Updated 12:15 am IST

I was looking forward to long, lazy days, luxuriating in reading, clearing book shelves, baking bread, walking, working out, and watching YouTube comedies and films to my heart’s content. Now, with the lockdown extending for so many days, I am rushing to take stock.

Three bookshelves cleared, but the two boxes of “to be dumped stuff ” need a compelling once-over (that’s the old meticulous me). Two cakes got baked, no bread yet, got to see some comedies and half a film. Glad to report that the workout bit surprisingly got off well, only missing a couple of days now and then. The reading did take place, but not the fiction I had planned on. Instead, I had to plod through a lot of dry office papers for a new assignment on my hands.

I am getting panicky now. The list of friends to call is less than half-ticked, gardening was limited to planting micro-greens and eating them too, but precious little else on that score. The pencil shading book is just one page done but it sure makes me an “all thumbs” person, and that poem I had written was praised by good friends and loving sisters. Baked two fancy luncheon pies that had me scream at the weighing scales, while the roast jumbo prawns and that pineapple jam were just “too good” as the saying goes.

A surprise bonus, our spiritual life got a tremendous boost as the two of us faithfully (and out of anxiety for sons and families in the Gulf) participated for an hour each day in prayer services telecast live. But the daily meditation that could have helped me focus and rise a level or two, simply did not happen despite the general quiet and serenity around. Time for that if this situation continues, I tell myself.

Just toying with an idea that sounds bright to me. If huge populations the world over managed to stay indoors for weeks on end, allowing birds to fly and sing all day, if dogs and goats could play on roads like they owned them, why not share more space? We saw clear blue skies, smelt the rain and imbibed cool fresh air, marvelled at clean flowing water, heard old and long-forgotten melodies,and enjoyed the company of near and dear ones even if they sometimes did tire us out! We have learnt how defenceless, how connected and how basically the same, we really are. Humbler and wiser now, grateful for what we have and truly caring for the well-being of others, because every life counts and is part of my own self. Couldn’t we retain all these or repossess them at least now and then, for reasons other than a microscopic virus?

Who then will vote with me for a mini-shutdown at regular intervals of say three months? We could plan ahead, stay at home sans mobile phones, Internet and WiFi for just those allotted days. Let us savour the minutes as they pass, not in fear or trepidation but as warriors fighting Mother Nature’s cause. We will thus be giving the earth, sky, trees and water a splendid time to rejuvenate and to be renewed without our incessant meddling. Just for those few days. Now, wouldn’t that be something good.

lidajacobias@gmail.com

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