Quarantine: A Tale of Dichotomy

Forlorn nights and untimed days
Have pushed the mind to the edge,
Often asking questions of discomfort,
Only to find bleak, blunt replies.

In an uncertain sea that is a pandemic,
I see people sailing on a boat of resilience;
A world of people who refuse to give up,
Hope being the rudder that’s pushing us forward.

Quarantine has opened up new pathways
For people to cope up with COVID-19,
To keep themselves distant from others,
And from the demons in their own minds.
Plating new recipes day after day,
Playing new tunes on a roll,
Painting an army of landscapes,
Planting new babies in the summer sun.

People have castled their safe spaces,
Away from the ruthless reality of a rampant disease.
Thus, the unabashed, unmasked escapades of people,
In the dire attempts to breathe in freely
And, live a little more, with certainty.

On other days, the mind seems to be bereft
Of sense and sensibility, hope and resilience,
Weighed down by the thoughts of stark divisions and indifferences,
Of the social and political wheels paddling civilisation to this existence-
propelling into an unforeseeable future of uncertainty.

Discomfort dawns at the explicit display of class divisions,
At the overt violation of bodies,
At the mindless slaughter of the voiceless by negligence,
At the crumbling down of livelihoods.
Through it all, the tick of privilege persists to suck on us,
Until there’s a hollow in us that can never be filled,
Leaving us with only untimely escapades from reality,
Where, again, denial is the only sanity check.

All of which is in turn channeled
By the permits of one’s privilege.
Can we but keep aloof of this privilege the humanly virtues-
Of compassion for the homeless, the hungry and the lonely,
Of kindness towards the thousands walking for a distant home,
Of anger against a system of dividing people,
Of the humility of acknowledging the roof over your head and the food on your plates?

Let not these escapades mask us to
The harsh realities of an unjust setting;
Just like the System cannot take away from us,
The comfort we derive in our novel ways of coping up.

Thus, this quarantine has been a tale of dichotomy for my mind,
Of untimely escapades within the permits of privilege,
Clinging on to hope and warmth from my loved ones,
Against a reality of pent up resentment and anger at a system, and a disease,
That celebrates a life at the expense of another’s.

Sampriti Rajkhowa is a student at University of Delhi and can reached on Instagram @sampriti._

Featured image credit: Amaury Salas/Unsplash