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The silence of the lockdown

No matter how much we love staying indoors, monotony grabs us at some point. But, sometimes, that boredom is the best opportunity to get acquainted with ourselves, something which we hardly spend time on. Well, that is one aspect of it. Besides introspection, I feel that it is also a chance to perceive differently the surrounding stagnancies, especially if we are quarantined, bonding only to everything inside the four walls.

Just back from campus, I was not yet over the pangs of the sudden pack-up. It was a direct journey from my hostel in Hyderabad to my room in a corner of Kerala, with zero scope for layovers or a welcome hug, since my family had vulnerable elder members. In the beginning, I used to just lean back on my bed all day, with puffed eyes, wistfully ruminating the exciting days and memorable goodbyes I would have gotten and said, had it not been for the virus. However, this cloud also seems to have a silver lining somewhere.

In the last year of college, my friend and I had restructured our hostel room to make it feel at home. We painted our walls in lavender and white and adorned them with dangling, yellow monochrome lights. We used to cherish the delicate dim lights falling gracefully over the snaps of memories framed and chronicled above them. It was a warm and cosy place where our friends often gathered to share food, movies, and woes alike. I could never have imagined then that in a few days, I would be caught in this tight and unfortunate lockdown, falling back on those good old days for solace.

As my musings roved about and around, my mind took a slow backstroke and reposed on something else. And I began to observe, perhaps, for the first time in years, my room here and its silent inmates. I found a unique connection in that spell of mystic quiescence between the room and me. It is not like I was not the one who set it up, it is that I had failed to observe the everyday changes happening to it. Setting up one’s room is very exciting; it’s like bringing a newborn into the world, patting and feeling it cry out of life. Initially, we cater to every need, helping the baby cope with the new circumstances. As the child grows, we automatically stop focusing on the details and spend time only on what we feel is important in their lives.

Now that I think of it, my room has had a rather lonely life, one in which I could not provide enough time and care. Beyond the charm it now selflessly lends me to brighten these hard and lonesome days, I can’t help but notice the small cracks on the window sills, corners with peeled-off wall paint, and the shaky cot head. The blatant testimonies of a life well past its prime. My room must have had its ups and downs, disagreements with the table re-arrangements I often made, the misplaced books on the shelf, the secret quotes I wrote on the wall, the raucous noise we made when my friends came over, and the suppressed tears I covertly shed on my pillows. My room must have wanted to clean it all up, the mess in and outside me. I should have listened to all its written and unwritten stories, and the melancholy we together composed. My room had held close in its heart, everything I had so callously abandoned. All these years, it had harboured in its ordinariness, an abundance large enough to house the different shades of me. Now I hear the clock ticking and the flutter of unturned calendar pages. And I realise with a sigh that all my room had wanted was to let me evolve, and evolve through me.

mellamominnu@gmail.com


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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 5:52:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-silence-of-the-lockdown/article34858467.ece

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