By Anshika Shukla

‘When I look in the future, it is so bright, it burns my eyes’- Oprah Winfrey. My version would be, ‘When I look in the future, it is so dark, it ruins my vision’. I can restfully bet, most of us these days discern the same. When I travel backwards through time (3 months, just), I see a peculiar tale of the world, veracities, and myself.

I was in my happy place like most of you when I received notification from my college for delaying of exams due to COVID-19. And this impelled me to comprehend the upcoming crisis (when NM gives you delay, its miracle), for which I was napping. Shortly, I came back home taking the first possible flight from Mumbai.

By the time Janta Curfew happened, I was home. My family was overwhelmed to have me back. Talking about myself, lockdown instigated with the spurt of emotional insecurities. I was fortunate enough to have spent these arduous times with my family but there were (and still are) millions not sure of their next meals. Sometimes, situations get really nasty and surprisingly we have zero control over them.

For me, lockdown began with a relief. Relief of being reunited with my family, relief of sitting in confined four walls where I have a full supply of essentials and luxuries. It all felt like a joyride that isn’t ending soon. Having my family of five, under one roof for this long period was a pleasant dream. As a child, I have always requested my mother to skip office to spend more time with me but it was an obvious foolish request. This lockdown felt like a treasure I was looking for since childhood. I felt complete, glad but also apprehensive. I was anxious about the unknown!

This lockdown has, of course, brought people closer and stuff but also provided the utmost alleviation to nature, which we humans hysterically failed to. The air of Delhi is cleaner than I ever breathed. The sky was indeed bluer than it was. I behold to the new colors of the sky that were concealed under wraps of black air. The past memory of sparrows and other little creatures chirping in my balcony was of my childhood. The voices of these littles created the echo that will confine in my head forever. Flamingos paid visits to beaches and kangaroos to the households. These were never imagined snapshots of nature that millennials witnessed. Despite the nature tried being the seamless reliever of the ugly crisis, it failed to mollify my unknown anguish. I am an avid admirer of stars and believe in every notion related to them! Guess what, these stars were just a look away. The only relief to my anxiety were these tiny orbs of light and hope.

The lockdown ensured that hundreds of millions of people were well confined to home. While this may have been only answering to wider spread cycles, it has not, perhaps, been conducive to the emotional and mental health of humans. With such jarring shifts in lifestyles and routines, it may come as no surprise that psychological whiplash would trail.

My joyride ended when truths hit, mine, and of world. My anxiety grew stronger with the onset of May. My individual goals seem devastated. It was time for the preplanned occurring’s to take place. My summer internship was a distant dream. A major setback for any MBA grandaunt! Everything seemed to be on a long pause. I see internships offers were revoked, either delayed. My angst glazed in. I nearly sank in fear and guilt of my insecurities. It felt like a personal fright, all I could envision for myself was jobless and zero dexterity. It’s the hefty horror for an MBA pursuant. The situations were too desperate. The job hunt felt like the only goal. It gave my anxiety a brawl. Practically thinking, my unease bred stronger.

My heart got engrossed to my sorrows ignoring what the outside world is facing. My problems felt most important to me. My vision struck just on myself and indeed this is a potent terror to humanity. I failed to retrospect my blessings, yet again.

I failed to witness the pain of the mightiest group of migrants. They were bearing the brunt of the crisis. They were unplaced, unsecured, homeless, and voiceless. They weren’t anxious about their situations instead are strong-willed and still coping. They walked hundreds of miles back to their homes. Some were dying during the journey and some were potential influencers. The virus has clawed away nearly everything that India’s migrant workers and daily-wage earners had.

I am scared of the crisis that we are going to enter once corona subsides. The notion of altruistic responsibility as a response to anxiety, is true, a curious one, and it is perhaps, something the country may benefit a great deal from at this moment in its brawl with the outbreak. Amid the gloom and uncertainty, there have been thin rays of hope that have emerged through ordinary people banding together to assume collective responsibility. We are living in a world that is beyond imagination. Feelings of hopelessness that previously prevailed, are replaced with those of altruism, individuals define their goals and jobs around protecting their loved ones, families, and communities.

Sooner or later, we all accept the new normal. Masked faces are now evidently masked. Some habits formed and some damaged. Few things I got control over and others I lost. Its fade of time but nothing seems to be alright, the near-term remains muddied.

But I gained a perspective. The perspective of looking beyond my sorrows and griefs. I graved how even little efforts of humanity counts. It’s an awakening, on how to embrace the little things I have in life. Celebrate the satisfying abundances. I am thankful to have a home filled with love, the security of life, food, and shelter. I pray we land up in a better place, confined together. I hope all this passes soon, and we can still be as altruistic and humble we are today. May we all, stick to humanity, a cleaner environment, and gratitude for our blessings. We all are together in this. Love and hope are the only harnesses I see for our upcoming days!