The days these days

The days these days

Representative image. (Credit: AFP Photo)

The start of my second semester at college, a blossoming love for walks, exposure to new ideas and a year of rapid change contextualises the lockdown for me. 

College did not open after the mid-semester break. On March 15, came the first drip before a deluge of work. WhatsApp groups were created, work divided, Google classrooms, documents deployed—new systems were developed. 

I am one of two representatives of my class. With few solutions for classmates struggling to follow the course comes helplessness. Issues like lack of access to e-resources and expensive data packs remain overlooked. These gaps are increasingly visible within college, as they are everywhere. 

Classroom interactions now suffer turned-off cameras, muted microphones (necessary to prevent lagging) and poor internet. Conversations got the cogs whirring, silence leaves them creaking. Online work has brought in workdays without fixed ends. I try alternating between screen and paper when possible and between studies and chores. Not neglecting work at home is a precarious balance.  I have slipped up several times. 

While sweeping and mopping, learning the contours of the house, I have grown more aware than ever of the mess, triggering a slow but steady cleaning and dumping operation. I have also started paying conscious attention to my body, stretching to reach under shelves and sofas, moving on haunches. This has come with dancing every day. 

On the roof every evening, my parents and I watch the birds— oriental white-eyes, sunbirds, doves, eagles, lapwings, parrots— against the reddening sky, rushing indoors when the massive hive near our house spills its bees.  Our time together is also spent on preparing meals, housework, conversations, and movies. Despite rare fights and some frustration, we get along well, and as always, joke around.

Washing dishes is a time for introspection, which borders on edge of overthinking sometimes. There are things that are worrying. I am beginning to grasp the dimensions of balance and responsibility I had not anticipated. Gratefully I am inching towards being an avid reader again. 

Part of the lockdown has been unlearning my definition of daily life. I have stopped waiting for ordinary life to resume, knowing I have the fortune and privilege to do that in an extraordinary time. 

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