March 15th was the first day I truly understood the impact of Coronavirus on the world. My final three exams were cancelled, I was stuck staring at the same four walls for an indefinite amount of time. I didn't have violin class anymore, nor did I have piano, or drawing. Everything stopped.
But the lockdown still didn't affect me.
I didn't feel any different. I still had to practice violin for at least an hour a day, and I enjoyed that. I enjoyed hearing the melodies resonate in the small room I call my home. I read for half an hour a day before bed, still travelling to worlds I dream of; and made snacks in the evening for my brother and me. Everything was the same.
Well, almost the same.
Some things changed. The biggest; no school. Usually, we would have two weeks of school after out final exams, when we would start the next grade's syllabus. This year, we didn't have that. But before I moved to India, I never had it. So, nothing actually felt different.
Life was still in order.
The lockdown really didn't get to me.
I felt happy.The lockdown gave me time to actually wind down, it gave me time to start a YouTube channel, to do so much I couldn't do when I went to school. I felt more in control.
Family traditions changed too. We all sat– still sit– together at the dining table during lunch and dinner. We play a round of fish before going to bed every night. We talk about our day sitting in the living room every evening.
I started taking more care of myself in the lockdown. Daily jogging became a constant, from the occasional jogging I did during school days. I started eating healthier, because my mother now had time to cook fresh meals every day, and I didn't have to rely on Maggi every afternoon, because there was always dosabatter ready to be made into dosa or idly, depending on my mood. I started doing sets of elbow planks and sit-ups every morning before I sat for school. I started going outside for half an hour with a book or a notepad while sitting underneath a tree, writing or reading, to give my eyes a break from the screen. I was more conscious of my body and mind.
The lockdown also gave me time to write. So much time.
I wrote, and wrote and wrote. I painted pictures with words I never knew existed inside of me, and I continue to do so.
The lockdown made me realise that writing is something I badly wanted to do, it made me realise that writing wasn't just my hobby, it was my passion.
The lockdown was supposed to make my life hell, but I felt like I was in heaven.
And because I wasn't affected, I always questioned, "Why is it affecting others?"
"Why are they miserable?"
Because I wasn't miserable. In fact, I was quite the opposite. I was happier and more carefree than I had been in years.
I know the problems that went on during the lockdown. Food shortages, migrants travelling back to their own countries, so many people losing their jobs, and I empathised with them. The lockdown did affect them.
What I didn't understand was why my best friend was complaining about the lockdown. She wasn't suffering from the virus, she had plenty of food to eat, she didn't have to travel hundreds of kilometres on foot, so then why was she so depressed? Weren't we in the same situation?
What I didn't realise was that:
The lockdown did affect me.
Just not in the way I expected.
Many might say they miss their weekend trips to the mall. Many might say they miss going to their after school club. Maybe they'll say they miss going to MacDonalds.
I can't say all this.
I don't enjoy going to the mall. I don't do anything after school that I can't do at home. I do like eating outside, but I don't mind not doing so. I had no reason to complain.
But I did miss out on things. Things I never realised I was missing until I missed them.
This year was my first year of high school. In India, although we don't have significant divisions, people say the transition from grade eight to nine, or from middle to high school makes a big difference. I believe it does, no matter where you live.
Because of this pandemic, I never formally graduated grade eight, nor did I formally enter grade nine.
The Saturday before the lockdown, we were informed that there would be no exams held. Like other teenagers, I was ecstatic.
A few weeks ago, I realised I did miss exams. I missed, not the exams alone, but the chatter in the corridors the moment the exams were done. I missed the class party we held at the end of each year, with everyone contributing food, drinks, music and decorations. I missed– and dare I say it– calming down that girl who took a wrong answer in her exam to heart and started crying in front of the girls restroom. I missed it all.
Looking back, I realised– none of us, neither me nor my friends were affected due to the lockdown in any drastic way. We still talked to each other online, still got to do what we love.
But it was the sound of laughter I missed.
The joy of going to school on your birthday wearing casual clothing, while everyone else wore the same old white button down shirt and chocolate brown skirt.
The feeling when you hugged your friend after the long weekend.
The last walk to the bus stop, when we would say goodbye to those not returning the next year, and collecting their email ID's.
It's the small things that we missed the most.
Draft 3. I wanted to know, how do you insert superscript in your piece? Brielle P. Chor did it in her playwriting competition speech (Which, may I say, was beautifully written!), and I wanted to do it for this... If anyone knows, please tell me!!!!
What did you feel when you read this? What was the first thought that went through your mind?