Fast forward 100 years:
Location: Someplace in the world
Time: 11 o clock
A mother is telling her child a bedtime story
Mother: Once upon a time, in Southern Asia, a man thought that bats would be a good thing to eat. Needless to say, he acted on this stupid idea and started eating bats. The bats felt threatened and helpless as their family members were hunted down and cooked. So the bat king summoned his magician to his court and asked for his help. He magically created a weapon named SARS-CoV-2. With this weapon, he promised to punish mankind for killing his fellow bats and most importantly teach them a lesson to not eat everything they see.
Child: What happened then?
Mother: From the end of 2019, people started falling ill. Doctors finally named the disease COVID-19. The magician s bat's magical disease was so strong it could spread through touch, sneeze, cough, and in what not ways. So people were told to stay at home and wear masks whenever they go out. Thus as promised by the bat, mankind s punishment began.
Rewind a 100 years: Back to present
This is really a punishment. It's been March since I am stuck at home due to the covid 19 pandemic. Almost 8 months have gone by. Everyone enjoys vacations but not this long. Especially when you can't do anything fun in it. The fact that you have to wear masks whenever you go out or meet someone just adds to the misery. Moreover, the one word that comes to mind when one asks me how the day has been being "boring".
"WHERE IT ALL STARTED"
It's been a week since the mid-semester exams have ended and already the pressure of the end semester exam was mounting. I was in my hostel room struggling with my assignments when suddenly my mom called. Usually, my mom called me at night after dinner so needless to say I was a bit surprised to get her to call early in the evening. The daily conversations included, how the day has been, how many classes did I attend, and most parent's favourite questions after the exam "have the results come out?". But that day over the call she said something rather unexpected. According to her, the government has declared holidays in all schools and colleges till the 31st of April due to the spread of covid-19. Covid-19 by then is not something unheard of. The disease that has consumed nearly the whole of China and is spreading throughout Europe and America has become a major concern for all the leaders worldwide. But little did I care about it back then. Finally, there will be no classes and I can go home. I was so happy that I rushed to the next room to tell all my friends about it. They also seemed to share the same feeling. The following day, the college issued a notice, and the holidays began. We all took packed our bags, took some selfies, and went home. Little did we know then that a day would come when we would nearly beg to go back to college.
"LOCKDOWN HAS BEGUN"
On 24th the nationwide lockdown began followed by the state government's declaration of lockdown on 26th. The morning rush for schools, offices was no longer there. The streets were quiet, with no sound of cars or people. The news channel Rations were being stockpiled in houses. Most people were clueless about what was going to happen. All that prevailed around was a sense of confusion and fear.
During such trying times people try to find ways to cheer up themselves and others around them. And with so much time in hand, it helps to do something productive. So like most other people, I also started pursuing my hobbies. The rest of the time usually went away talking with friends, helping mom with daily chores.
"IT IS JUST UNBEARABLE"
The lockdown was extended for the third time. The number of covid cases had spiked up and is currently 5,200+. All the doctors are working relentlessly to bring this situation under control. The threat of them catching the coronavirus and infecting their own families also loomed large, due to which most of the doctors gave up going home and shifted to solitary accommodations. The people who were worst affected during this time were the migrant workers. The entire nation watched in unison as a group of jobless, helpless people struggled to get back home. And all the debates regarding whether the migrant worker crisis was a result of the government's mistake neither helped them reach their home nor helped them survive the pandemic. Some of them died on the way and the ones who managed to reach the home were tested covid-19 positive.
Life by then had become extremely monotonous. Sparking a conversation with someone became difficult because no one has anything new to talk about. All the outings with friends, long family trips during the semester break period were canceled. The decisions of UGC and state government made life even more difficult. Their ongoing struggle to decide the best way of taking exams provided memers with new ideas and parents with new reasons to worry about. But the one thing that all college students were even sadder about was the fact that we had to spend nearly a whole semester stuck in our home. Meanwhile, the pollution levels had gone down and the clear air brought with it some new surprises. One morning. a sudden chirping sound attracted my attention towards the window. To my surprise, I saw a sparrow sitting on the window seal. Due to the rising pollution levels, these small creatures disappeared a long time ago. So it reminded me that with all the bad things comes some good as well.
"FINALLY I CAN GO OUT!!!"
So the lockdown had finally ended. The unlock began on 1st June. Shops have reopened, there are cars on the street, the lost normalcy had been partially restored. Although the number of COVID cases rose sharply, still people cared less about that.
It was relieving to finally go out of the house. Even going to a local grocery shop to buy some eggs felt like going to the cinema hall. The only bad thing was wearing a mask. Those small pieces of cloth or whatever is essential now. But walking, with the mask on is difficult. Breathing is constrained, and if you are wearing specs, even seeing is difficult.
"IT IS WHAT IT IS"
It's quite a late entry because there wasn't anything significant to write about in the previous months. The number of COVID cases is going up and down. After all this time people have stopped caring about the numbers. They have stopped living in fear of the disease and have become accustomed to the new normal.
So, the Durga Puja just ended. It was less than half the fun it used to be. The friend's reunion was done over Google Meet or over Among Us. The joy of pandal hopping was experienced over news channels though it was hardly equivalent. The food was enjoyed from the comfort of home for which I would forever be grateful to the founder of Swiggy and Zomato.
Moreover, the year is coming to an end, only two more months to go. A year with no classes in classrooms, fun in the hostel, and countless other things inexperienced. But looking back I realised that for me these 8 months had still been better than a lot of people. Some lost their lives, some became penniless, some lost their loved ones. Now all I can hope that a vaccine or any other ways to will be discovered soon.