“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietszche
The last few months have truly been some of the worst ones in the history of the human civilization and we are all trying to cope with them in our own ways. There are the memes, of course. Nothing ever happens these days that doesn’t get documented on these little nuggets that are mostly used for oversimplifying the truths and the facts, which are then consumed eagerly by people like us. If tomorrow, the whole of humanity as we know it, ceases to exist (which looks like a possibility now), we will leave behind a plethora of memes and a carbon footprint the size of a country, as our legacy.
But there have been other things as well. In addition to the failed attempt of some celebrities trying to inspire their “peeps” by singing John Lennon’s classic “Imagine” on Instagram, to the “Saree challenges” and the “Motherhood dares” on Facebook. Everyone is doing their best, to motivate, to support, to spread warmth and inspiration, conducting online games and quizzes, keeping aside egos and pride and retrieving relationships from the cold storage and back burners, asking the simple question “Are you okay?” and all of these efforts are making a difference.
We are a strange species you see, when we were free to move about and live our lives the way we wanted to, we conveniently forgot or took for granted the importance of simple things like genuine friendship and real companionship. But now that we are all more or less bound to our homes, we are using the social media to actually keep in touch, something that it was intended for in the first place. Relationships are being repaired, friends from across the world and from different time zones are finally meeting each other, to play silly games and catch up in general. And yes I do feel that, even though these are indeed terrifying times that we are living in, we are truly privileged to lead such a comfortable life during a complete lockdown, as I can do all of these and put food on the table for my family and I feel that many people would agree with me that things could be worse.
I also started documenting little things on a daily basis, because of course in the end we are living through an important time in the history of humanity. I will be noting them down here.
Day 2, 14th March 2020:
We watched Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge with Agastya, you know.. to immerse him in all that Bollywood goodness.
While watching the last scene when Kajol is running alongside the moving train to catch Shahrukh’s hand so that he can pull her in, Agastya says:
“Oh my God! There are so many other doors, why doesn’t she just use one of them to climb into the train?”🤦🏻♀️
Me and Rama (looking at each other all wide-eyed bewilderment😳😳): Ummmmmm…… how do we explain the significance of this moment for Simran? And why sometimes Romance (read Bollywood) trumps logic? 😉
Day 5, 17th March 2020:
A post by Mr. Amitabh Bachchan that inspired me that day:
“Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”
Day 6, 18th March 2020:
A poem by Ms. Laura Kelly Fanucci that motivated me:
Day 8, 20th March 2020:
As news of the coronavirus cases crossing 200,000 rattled us, so did the heart wrenching testimonies of people having to face racism in its name. It’s said that it is in the moment of great crisis that the true human nature shows it’s face. You can be either kind and compassionate or a prejudiced degenerate fool. Choose your side knowing that this disease does not discriminate against race, gender or religion.
Day 10, 22nd March 2020:
Life is so fragile. You blink and it’s gone, forever changed. It takes only a moment for your whole world to upend. And then you feel cheated for all that time you wasted. Being angry with one another. Fighting. Holding a grudge. Holding onto your ego, your pride. For what? Until when?
So pick up that phone. We’ve been blessed with the gift of technology. Use it to tell your loved ones that you are thinking of them. Call them. Text them. And if you’re lucky enough to be next to them, tell them you love them right now and hold them close. Life is so short. Let’s not waste it on petty differences and misunderstandings.
Day 14, 26th March 2020:
It’s the 9th day of homeschooling and the following are the various things we have learnt..
– Agastya is so good at emulating my expressions. From the rolling of eyes to the “don’t f*** with me” face. He gets them all absolutely right.
– Among the 3 of us, he is the Alpha.
– He is a sore loser. There are so many tears when he loses at any game that we will never have water shortage.
– He is surprisingly doing well with the whole stay indoors thing. At least better than the both of us.
– Last but not least, when I am teaching him it feels like I am wrestling with an anaconda. True story.
Day 17, 28th March 2020:
We live in a very old building (approximately 200 years old), in Budapest and most of our neighbors are senior citizens. A couple of days ago, while finishing up cooking I could hear that someone had put on their music at a very high volume which was accompanied by some hooting and clapping. Now mostly at that time of the evening we have pin drop silence in our building, the only noise being the occasional bark from one of our next door neighbor Kata’s 10 dogs, or my or Agastya’s scream or shout. So, I who has been on the edge ever since this crisis began started getting agitated, thinking who would have a party at such a difficult time? Then today my very kind neighbor Erika, who is also a senior citizen, translated a message for us from Hungarian to English, wrote it down and brought it to us all the way from her apartment on the 3rd floor, in which she invited us to join them every evening at 8 p.m. to clap and applaud the healthcare professionals for all their hard work on the frontlines of COVID-19. She went to all this trouble to make sure that we are a part of this community and that matters so much in these harrowing times. It was such a pleasant gesture that promotes inclusivity and solidarity, something that is the need of the hour.
Day 20, 31st March 2020:
Last couple of days I have had the pleasure of seeing the most gorgeous pictures of my beautiful friends dressed in colorful sarees and their splendid smiles. It warms my heart and makes me feel so proud to be surrounded by such amazing souls who do not tire of building eachother up, holding out hands, giving eachother virtual hugs and spurring eachother on. 🥰❤️💖
It also makes me wonder about my own inadequate saree draping skills and the lack thereof of any appropriate picture that I could put up of myself.
Day 22, 2nd April 2020:
Day 25, 5th April 2020:
So yesterday I finally decided that it was time to teach Agastya about Harry Potter’s magical world. Don’t get me wrong, over the years I have fed him little details of the story that helped me through some of the most difficult times of my life, but we never really delved into all of it entirely.
Yesterday, I put on the first movie of the series for him and watched as he got utterly mesmerized by Professor McGonagall and her transfiguration skills, Professor Dumblebore’s deluminator that steals light from electric bulbs, Hagrid and his unique umbrella that gives Dudley his spiral piggy tail, the three headed dog (to which Agastya much like Ron exclaimed, “Why is there a giant dog in a school? Don’t they know it is bangerous (he still mixes up his d’s with b’s)?, Hermoine’s bossiness and intelligence and the fast paced nail-biting match of Quidditch. I saw Harry Potter yesterday through the innocent eyes of my son and it was as if I was watching the movie for the first time.