I tied my shoe laces with jittery fingers, because I needed to complete my daily dose of 10000 steps; getting ready to go out for a brisk walk. There was a gnawing urge within to stay put at home and continue with quarantining myself in spite of the softening of Covid-restrictions.
Am I in the grip of the Stockholm syndrome? It is a condition in which hostages develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity. Emotional bonds may be formed, between captor and captives, during intimate time together. I think I had initiated an organic relationship with Covid-19 and the restrictions that followed suit.
Dubai is sanitised, the government is doing a wonderful job of ensuring that people follow social-distancing and other Covid-related regulations. So, lets wear our masks and venture out without stepping out of the car
The beauty salon seemed to be getting impatient and was barging into my inbox with messages, in a desperate gusto, announcing that it had reopened and I could call for an appointment. I continued to ignore them. The quarantine period has taught me the magical effects of kitchen ingredients. They could be used for regular facials.
My hair looks healthier with all the herbal treatment that it has been getting sans the chemicals that the salons usually mete out in the form of hair spas. Fortunately, I am one of those who didn’t mind sporting Frieda Kahlo-style eyebrows and a Bohemian-like raw countenance in the newly fashioned, “slounge” wear (sleep plus lounge).
The pictures of highly spirited, serpentine queues in front of liquor shops in India, scared the daylights out of me! And here I was, resisting the temptation of ordering in the delectable goodies that the restaurant next door specialised in, especially during Ramadan.
I miss the Iftar delicacies and the enthusiasm that wafted in the air mingled with the aroma of all the food cooked by my neighbours. It is as if I have chained myself to the paranoia spiked up by a microorganism, that donned those deadly spikes, latching on to us and then swimming in swiftly into our being.
My husband tried to cajole me into going for a short drive, “Dubai is sanitised, the government is doing a wonderful job of ensuring that people follow social-distancing and other Covid-related regulations. So, lets wear our masks and venture out without stepping out of the car.”
The kid too needed a break from the monotony of his room that doubled up now as his classroom.
So, knowing my love for bridges, I was driven to the Bridge of Tolerance. Ironic it was, as today we could do with oodles of tolerance towards one and all around us, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Aren’t we supposed to feel more than blessed if we are hale and hearty?
Then where is the room to spread hatred, biasedness and phobia towards other human beings around us? We sat there for a while, staring at the bridge and the water below, soaking in the peace exuded by it, the pandemic seemed to disappear from my mind for those fleeting minutes.
I have begun to love this solitude. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to write that book I have always wanted to write, emulating the ways of the great bard- Will Shakespeare, who composed King Lear, Macbeth and Anthony and Cleopatra when in quarantine during the great plague.
When the kid looks at me with a pall of boredom on his face, I remind him about Isaac Newton, who was then a twentysomething college student at Trinity College in London.
The outbreak of the bubonic plague saw the college send everyone home. With a lot of time to think and no Zoom calls from teachers, Newton came up with some outstanding discoveries in the spheres of Mathematics and Science.
He started with some math homework, and that became the basis for early Calculus. Then he played around with light in his room — he shuttered windows and used prisms to split the light coming through. This was the beginning of his theories on optics.
Inspite of the Coronavirus that is trying to put our lives into jeopardy, I am determined to throw my life into perspective as I embrace a few more days of self-quarantine.
Stricken by “tennis elbow” I remain undeterred from my path of remaining “maid less”. By now the husband has become domesticated, one of the blessings of the pandemic. Yes, I still continue to count my blessings, social-distancing myself from all kinds of negativity!
— Navanita Varadpande is a writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @navanitavp.