Estimated read time : 5 minutes
The largest lockdown in the history of humanity. Over a billion humans will be isolated in their homes for 21 days, all because of the coronavirus. Everyone have to follow social distancing, no socializing, no unnecessary shopping trips- and for me, no school.
My personal coronavirus lockdown started way earlier- here in Trivandrum, all schools were officially closed on March 10th due to coronavirus outbreak in India. March 11th was supposed to be the first day of my last year of high school. Of course, I can’t say I was disappointed that classes had been cancelled, but the announcement did cause a tiny prickle of fear in my belly. Until then, I had been a mere observer of the COVID-19 crisis. Now, I was abruptly in the midst of it. The crisis had arrived home.
The next couple of weeks were a blur of growing numbers coronavirus cases in India- one hundred, two hundred, over five hundred cases in India- over fifteen thousand deaths worldwide- 70 districts under curfew. I noticed that my mother had bought ten bottles of hand sanitizer, and several bags of flour. Meet-ups with friends and family were cancelled. All of India braced itself for what was to come. And on March 24th, what had been a rumour became reality: we were going into a 21-day lockdown.
For me, the initial euphoria of missing school quickly wore off. Not having tests and homework was fun, but after three days of watching T.V, I was bored. Life seemed to have turned into a list of things I couldn’t do anymore. I couldn’t go to the mall; I couldn’t visit friends; I couldn’t go to restaurants and theatres just because of coronavirus. During this self-quarantine, I found myself paying attention to my breathing – was I wheezing? Did I have body pain? How long had it been since I’d last washed my hands? I wasn’t paranoid, but I did feel anxious any time I coughed or sneezed.
To stop myself from staring at a screen endlessly, I turned to writing and reading. I tried my hand at poetry, I wrote stories, and I re-read some of my favourite books. I’m proud to say I even looked over (okay, glanced at ) my textbooks. I reached out to friends I hadn’t messaged in a while. I spent more time with my family, since my parents were home as well. It was impossible to forget why we had a curfew, but nevertheless, there were some pretty good moments while coronavirus lockdown.
What has really amazed me is the world’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Humans all around the world have joined hands to fight this pandemic. Italians are singing from their balconies, trying to keep their spirits up. Hundreds of Indians took part in the March 22nd 5:00 p.m. salute to the corona warriors. The only bells in my house are the ones from my sister’s souvenir collection, and so I rang one from Washington DC . But it wasn’t the bells that mattered- it was the fact that, for five minutes, I was one of thousands of well-wishers. One of a billion Indians, hoping for good luck and an end to the disease and death that has ravaged us for the past three months.
Yes, being in lockdown is frustrating. Social distancing is frustrating. The real fighters of this disease are the doctors and nurses and patients themselves, but the public have a huge role to play too. Right now, we have the ability to change the situation and make it better- by staying at home. Thousands of doctors and nurses and scientists all around the globe are putting their lives at risk by combatting this virus. The least we can do is honour their commitment, and make a small sacrifice by isolating ourselves. It doesn’t take a lot of effort. It would certainly help in escalating the situation. We’re not doing this for ourselves- we are doing this for our country, our world. Let’s remember that we’re all in this together.