When the news of COVID-19’s second wave spread, it didn’t feel new. It was almost as if we had anticipated it's arrival.
Having been used to the announcement of lockdowns every other week, I thought the second wave would be a 'version 2.0' of the first wave. It was only when it struck that I realised how unpredictable it turned out to be. Masking doubled, and so did our anxiety.
Hope took a backseat as the monotony of days started rolling in. I began to feel helpless. Though I was nestled in the safety of my home, the gory scenes of the pandemic stared at me through the screens, demanding to be seen. It was overwhelming, to say the least. With an alarming increase in cases and a never ending demand for oxygen cylinders, every breath we took became a luxury. This situation manifested as guilt for me. While the whole world was battling a crisis, I was sitting in the corner of my room, lying down, exhausted. The 'new normal' did not feel normal at all.
All these days, I’ve longed for the comfort of human presence. I looked forward to mapping distances on foot, meeting people and having conversations. But now, the very thought of the things I longed for, make me anxious. How would the first hug feel? Would I feel wrapped in warmth or the lingering fear of a pandemic? Where would I find the words to fill the gaps left by these waves of the pandemic? Will our smiles be hidden underneath our masks forever?
"Is there an end to the questions pouring in?", I wonder. Maybe that's what this phase is. A carousel of uncertainty, coexisting in a duration of time. I look back at an entry in my journal, and a line I wrote when I went out after six whole months caught my eye.
"I have only two words for the world outside. It was ANXIOUSLY NEW" Do we know the course that this world might take post the cease of the pandemic? Maybe, or maybe not. Until then, we reminisce, reflect, and hang on to each other while we recover.