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Lockdown Musings

- By Annika Gwalani

"Bahar se koyi andar na aa sake

Andar se koi bahar na ja sake

Socho kabhi aisa ho to kya ho

Hum tum ek kamre mein bandh ho" 

One of Bollywood's most cherished songs, which was initially taken with a pinch of salt, is now patently coming true, isn't it?

Although the lockdown has shunned us from the joys of the exterior world, has forbidden us to step out of our doors and meet our friends, has denied us the musings of eating out and shopping in malls, we still have discovered a lot in these few days. 

The initial reaction to the declaration of the pandemic was the same from all children - disappointment. We felt that we were being chained to our houses, forced to do household chores like prisoners, moreover, the satyagraha for baksheesh in return was dismissed at once. However, the feeling of bonded labor soon faded away and was replaced by enthusiasms like board games, cooking, musical nights and more. 

It started with finding activities to do when we had ample time but little did we know that what we were searching for was right in front of us. 

I began by memorizing the uncanny names of spices that were strategically organized in my mother's kitchen.

On the other side of the house, my courageous father took it upon himself to categorize the shoe rack that was falling apart.

For days, my family struggled with my disfigured rotis- sometimes boat-shaped and burnt, but did not once complain.

A ladder that dwarfed my father by two feet and a modest broom, were chosen as weapons to evict the stubborn spiders in the lost corners of our house. 

As time passed, our daily routine became quite engaging- waking up followed by a few minutes of light exercise, cooking the three meals, washing clothes together (which was an amusing activity we always looked forward to), doing the past day's dishes, playing Ludo and Monopoly after lunch, watching television to catch up on the bulletin, teaching Leo how to fetch and to not shred every lone slipper he saw, getting dinner ready and watching one old Bollywood classic every day only to find my mother in tears by the time the 'the end' sign popped up. 

As much as I was disheartened in the beginning, I am thankful now since it has provided me with an opportunity to come closer to my loved ones. 

This period has brought about in me several changes. 

To quote an example that ran through my mind right now, at the beginning of the lockdown, our Prime Minister urged us to bang vessels, I perceived it as entirely senseless. My parents believe that although it wouldn't do any scientific good, it would perhaps bring the country together. That day, I didn't accompany them; rather I mocked this practice on a call with my friends. 

Few more days of lockdown, the Prime Minister urged us to light diyas and I stood shoulder to shoulder with my parents. Although I still do not believe that diyas could do any scientific good, I respect their ideology, and it delighted me to see the content on their faces. 

This change was only possible because of the affection we have amongst us now. 

The moment I try to put this attachment in words, it loses meaning. 

I assumed that this lock-down would take away much of my precious time and that I would lose many good things and experiences in life, I was wrong. 

Perhaps, the best memories I've made are during this time only. 

I wouldn't trade the water fight my mother and I had while watering our plants, for an expensive party with my friends. I wouldn't trade the joy I got when I defeated my father in a game of cards thrice in a row, for shopping even during the biggest sale in a mall. I wouldn't trade those moments I woke up my snoring dog by blowing air into his ears, for even a full day in the arcade. 

Signing off, I would like to share a Whatsapp Message my mother read aloud to me one evening, "I think that when the dust settles, we will realize how little we need, how very much we have, and the true value of human connection."

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