I am just over a week post-partum. My son was born during what I dare call a modern-day war against the Covid-19 virus. He is so peaceful, a little Buddha. Sleeping, smiling, cooing and feeding all day, he couldn’t be more perfect. A delight amidst this gloomy madness we are living. My 2-year old daughter is a double delight, keeping the house full of lightness and laughter with her developing little personality.
We have just entered a two-week, 24-hour lockdown. We are under a house-arrest of sorts, where we can only leave for essentials — for which too we need a permit.
My trip to the supermarket was with a black N95 mask and gloves. I went to the ATM first, which had hand sanitizer next to it, and a box of gloves to use. The mini-mall where the supermarket is was deserted.
At the supermarket, everyone had a mask and gloves too, going about their business as if nothing was different. Only no one looked at each other and kept a distance in the checkout line. Supermarket shelves no longer hold the variety they used to. We are being encouraged to buy in bulk, or buy online, however delivery times are a week, at least.
Our neighbourhood, usually teaming with activity, is eerily dead. There is a heavy layer of dust on the chairs outside the cafes. Hotels are closed. The pool water at the gym has turned yellowish-green, like a stagnant lake infested with moss and mosquitos.
Everyone is living their life indoors and online. We are working from home, like we are part of this global experiment to assess the viability of remote working. Those on social media are offering their skills online for a fee, or to merely entertain. And people are having virtual beers and Skype dates to maintain some sort of social semblance. This virus does not discriminate and has stripped us of everything outside our home and immediate family. To those on daily wages, it has threatened their very survival.
It’s almost like we are in the movie Ready Player One, where in real life everyone is bunked-up at home, living a parallel life in virtual reality where they make money, do transactions and have relationships. It is so surreal.
How long will this last? Is this the only way to counteract this Armageddon? Is it naïve for us to believe that things can go back to normal? Or will this become our new normal?
Whether this is truly a fight of humanity against a virus, a sick conspiracy theory, or a zombie preparedness drill, it is a harsh reminder that we cannot take anything for granted. That our life can change overnight. And that there is nothing we can do about it. Apart from stocking the fridge.