When from your window you look at other windows, from your balcony you look at other balconies – children dancing, children playing, children doing jumping jacks every single morning, or just sitting with their heads resting on the railing looking bored; mothers teaching their kids, women sweeping, watering the plants, drying the clothes, grandparents offering water to the morning sun, fathers standing by the windows of their rooms talking to their bosses loudly enough to let the entire building know.
Pigeons flying, shitting, breeding, eating, plucking your favorite plants while you curse them under your breath, or out loud. They don’t understand English anyway, and in case they do they still don’t give a fuck. Children coming out in the evening, cycling in the society campus while you gaze from above wondering if it’s safe to step outside, men and women walking and jogging wearing N95 masks, the lone girl sitting on the bench reading a book. Same pinch, you say, as you read yours 8 floors above.
Rushing to get the groceries before 10 AM, careful not to touch anything or anyone, or if you do, sanitize your hands! Sanitize your hands all the time!
Cars running on the distant streets, swiggy delivery boys delivering your food, big basket delivering your groceries albeit two days late, amazon delivering your other needs or addictions, while you are cooped at home taking an active interest in your neighbourhood. Or jumping from one screen to another, the only travelling you do these days – mobile to laptop to TV and back. Online meetings & Netflix TV series while the plants in your balcony keep growing – do you finally know what it feels like to be us? They ask. To be static, to be still, to be grounded to one place. But not quite, says the purple flower that just grew. And wilted a day after.
About outcries on social media; Where’s Remdesivir? Where’s Oxygen? Where are the hospitals? Where are the crematoriums? Where are vaccines? Where is the government? People from across the world reaching out and asking – how are you? I am fine, thank you. Well thank God. Yeah, thank God. Where’s God? Your new hobby is to visit the worldometer website the thousandth time, watch the curve peak and peak, and drop and then peak again. Where’s my life? Coming in a month, or next month or next year. Or never. Mobile on aeroplane mode please.
Wait, there was this meeting you had to attend.
Children forgetting where the schools are, employees forgetting where the offices are, employers forgetting what the increments are but the joy of not commuting though, of waking up 5 minutes before the class, of multitasking – cooking and meeting simultaneously, with formal shirts at the top and shorts at the bottom – let’s login, let’s keep our camera on (or not), am I audible (or not), is my screen visible (or not), is my Wi-Fi working (or not). Is it still March 2020? Or not. Has the time really passed? Or not. How the fuck did China contain this virus? Or not. Where’s my office? Where’s my home? What’s the time? What’s this place? What’s this day? In the middle of space time continuum – Einstein, I think I’ve reached singularity.
Albert stirs in his grave.
Nightmares of stepping outside home without masks, nightmares of not washing your hands enough, nightmares about what does the new variant of virus do? Nightmares about who else died? Do I need to wear one mask or two or three? Fuck it, empty your closet and fill it with PPE suits. Are the vaccines still effective? Or do we need a new one? Who am I? Who are you? Is my mom well? Do people exist out of screens?
My own company is becoming boring. Netflix is boring. Dalgona coffee is out of fashion. I don’t want to build my hobbies anymore. My friend’s grandmother died. Fine. Friend’s father died. Fine. A relative died. Fine. My favourite actor died. Fine. Sometimes, it feels like death is just two steps away. Fine. Sooner or later the virus is coming for you. Fine. You reassure yourself with recovery rates. Good, you should. It’s fine. You are here, in your room, breathing, surviving. Yeah, you are fine. Everything’s fine. Everyone’s fine. The sky is falling. But that’s fine. It will rise up again someday. This is the new normal. This is fine.