Out of everything this pandemic has offered, there is one thing that I find myself failing to deal with – the alarming presence of uncertainty. I have never been so unsure of everything at once. The inability to decide whether I am feeling too much or just numb, if I am too scared of death or too restless to live a normal life again – this erratic behaviour of life has become another obstacle to overcome these days.
Every morning around 6, I sit morosely contemplating life exactly how I was doing the previous morning, telling myself how all my days are exactly the same as if the only thing changing is the date on my phone screen. I finish a film by 8 am, make a cup of coffee and sit in the balcony, and this has been my routine for the past twenty-three days now (since the lockdown).
Despite the exact same routine for almost a month now, I find myself caught up in contradictory thoughts through the day. I ask myself, what if I get infected with the virus and it is the last time I am able to help my mother with the dishes and cleaning. The most heartbreaking ‘what if’ among the countless ‘what ifs’ I battle with is, asking myself “what if the elders in my family get infected and their weak immune systems fails to defeat the virus.” This for me is the peak point of the day where I realise – despite all days feeling the same as other days – life yet doesn’t let humans predict it.
The uncertainty even in the times where we are locked in our houses, knowing the only places we’ll visit in the day will be the kitchen or the bedroom, we are still unaware what life has to offer, will it be a leap in the number of positive cases or will the news read “vaccination for the coronavirus is ready”, will the prime minister call off the lockdown or will it go on for several months, will the news bulletin read “2,000 new deaths due to the coronavirus” or will there be “no new deaths”.
Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined being petrified of a tickle in my throat or a petty sneeze. Daily body temperature checks have become a ritual. While watching a movie or a TV show during the lockdown, I often find myself distracted from the plot and reminiscing about busy roads and packed restaurants in the background, people hugging each other and travelling in a metro without gloves and sanitisers. And that’s when I confront my desires – all I want is to roam about my city without having to use any safety gear and meet people, hug them and tell them that the world is nothing without them.
And in these absolutely stressful times, I often think to myself what Ed Helms’ character Andrew Bernard from The Office says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them,” so that I would have driven my car a little more, stayed with my friends for a little longer, asked the pani puri wala: “Bhaiya, ek plate aur (one more please)”, would’ve ditched sleeping for the early morning class, never would have cancelled that trip to the mountains, would’ve attended more weddings.
And last but not the least, I wish I could turn back time to the good old days and make myself understand how fortunate I am and to not forget to cherish every single moment.
Verda Subzwari is a journalism student at AJK Mass Communication and Research Center, Jamia Millia Islamia.
Featured image credit: Verda Subzwari