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Dear Covid 19

Dear COVID-19,

 

I used to write “Dear Diary’ entries as a primary school kid. I left that habit, for I was shy and wary of my curious parent’s eyes that yearned to take a peek into their child’s life. It was my own world – my safe abode – where I wanted to document my profound (10-year-old) feelings, framing and remembering things the way I experienced them. 

 

A decade later here I am, picking up the habit of letter writing again. This time, it is for you to read and realise the impact you have had on me – both big and small. The everyday struggles I have endured with you around, and the small successes I have rejoiced at that would have gone unnoticed in your absence. 

 

Tiger, my furry friend

I am not one who was very fond of animals. They felt so different from us humans. So when my brother bought a pet kitten before your grand entrance, I was visibly uncomfortable – how could an animal with no extrasensory perception possibly complement my life? 

 

How wrong I was.

 

They say distance makes the heart fonder but in our case, I guess the lack thereof made us best buddies. All that time I would have otherwise enjoyed in the company of my friends, was now spent cuddling Tiger. There is something about him that is so special – my mum says that he’s the best-looking child of the family – but above that, he could truly comprehend feelings without words. He knows when I am down and he would deliberately curl up in my lap, a silent affirmation that he understands. On another day, he knows I am in a good-enough mood to entertain his toddler-like antics. It is a myth that animals do not possess the 6th sense – they have something more and I am learning that through Tiger.

 

Books, a treasure trove

I was an avid reader back when I was young. That meant finishing all the books in my primary school library and not even leaving the IKEA catalogue idle. Somewhere along the way, the hustle and bustle of life took over, the internet became the new in thing and my interest in books waned. 

 

But thanks to the illusion of endless time that you have given us this circuit breaker, I seem to have rekindled my love for physical books. Oh, and finding out that my mother was an avid reader herself was news for me! All that #coronacleaning led me to find a huge stash of books under our beds – ones my mother had saved since her youth. These days, my time is spent devouring them and reliving the life she had led through her books. :)

 

Home, a public space

Flipping the IKEA catalogues (you would have already realised they are my favourite things!), I often scoffed at the sight of the oxymoronic expression “home offices”. To me, work was all about productivity and home, a safe space to unwind. I used to be displeased when I had to bring work home to the dinner table. But no thanks to you, the lines have blurred and work places have become the huge intruders of privacy. The apertures of webcams have become gateways to our bedrooms, and work commitments our bedfellows. Circuit breaker has surprisingly increased my productivity in terms of the numbers of tasks I complete in a day, but it is at the expense of the precious personal space to recharge and let go. And here I am, wishing for the same.

There is no normal – life is but an organised chaos and the thrill comes in spending a lifetime creatively reacting to it.

Dance, a (not too) long-lost companion

I am mad-crazy about dancing. I am a trained dancer in Bharathanatyam (an Indian classical dance form) and for the longest time, dancing was part and parcel of my life. It had come to a point where I viewed it as a measure of my worth, and that I had to be the best at it at every possible instance for me to feel capable. Hence, I took a well-needed 2-year break from dancing to reflect on my motivations and aspirations. And dear COVID-19, thanks to you, I have had the time and space to begin my dance journey with a clear, focused and rejuvenated mind. I am finding new things about my body and movements, those that were pushed to my periphery because of my undue focus on comparisons. It feels so liberating and guess what, I have even started teaching what I have realised – through online classes!

 

All these experiences are just snippets of my realisations, and I am sure there are many more to come should you stay (please leave before then, please). I used to think of life as an equilibrium system and our daily experiences, merely deviations. We may rise and we may fall, but we ultimately make peace with our pre-destined state. 

 

Having met you, I have realised that there is no normal – life is but an organised chaos and the thrill comes in spending a lifetime creatively reacting to it. 

Mridula

14 May 2020