“[E]very generation must know its own suffering….I curse the price I have to pay. But I’m making my peace with it, now you make yours.”
Boris Shcherbina (From the HBO series “Chernobyl”)
By Niket Nishant
The claustrophobic “new normal” of the real world jumps me every time I wake up in the morning (or, these days, in the afternoon). And there have been days when staying cooped up inside the house has seemed too huge a burden to carry along. But the resolute obstinacy of the optimist within is impressive beyond words! It continues to look for and dwell on the silver lining, despite everything.
For people like us privileged enough to be at home, the lockdown is an opportunity to take a step back and realign. Often, in the hustle and bustle of every day, it is possible to work mindlessly, with no sense of direction. Too much time and effort are spent on the unimportant. But when there is a break from that life, one can breathe and work on what really matters in the long run.
Consequently, I have been trying to expand the range of books that I read. While otherwise, I would only pick up novels, either with a lot of action and adventure or the light-hearted comedies, these days I am in a budding relationship with poetry. Yes, poetry! And having already devoured Gibran’s esoteric, ‘The Prophet’, I am now either soaring with the lofty emotions of Keats or brooding in the dark with Poe and Emily Dickinson.
Reading poetry has been good for my vanity. At times, I feel like wearing a pince-nez and a bowler hat myself and click my tongue at the “rustic, unrefined methods” of everybody else in the house. A few episodes of The Walking Dead (Yeah, yours truly is the kind of guy to watch an apocalyptic show about a viral outbreak in the midst of a viral outbreak!) and it is almost like a vacation.
I can almost see the more sensitive among the readers wincing. Yes, the lockdown is not a vacation. But to keep heads sane, it has to be treated as one when possible, without becoming blind to the distress of the less fortunate, of course.
And as far as news consumption goes, I have limited it to once a day, when I read an assortment of the most important events that happened throughout. This is essential to avoid panic and keep calm. The idea that one needs to know about every event and every development around the coronavirus as and when it happens, is an absurd media construct. Instead, reading richer content like opinions, editorials, explainers and analyses will deliver a more comprehensive picture.
I am also hoping we develop a little more appreciation for nature and our other co-inhabitants of nature when all of this ends. This harrowing experience shouldn’t end in us not learning anything. The human race should emerge from the storm not just victorious, but better than before.
I am waiting for that day.