Social distancing: How coronavirus has changed our daily lives
Everything has changed in the last couple of weeks. There was a time when we only told children how to wash their hands. Today, every screen that sits in front of you would tell you how important it is to wash your hands. Children, who were once fond of their schools being declared holiday, now sit at home, literally bored out of their wits.
There was a time when you sneeze and people would say 'bless you!’ But that belonged to another time. Now, all that goes into one’s mind is ‘what if?’ We live in such a time now. In the wake of the pandemic, our lives have drastically changed. We are being asked to change our most usual habits, and to relearn the most basic things about hygiene. We are asked to stay away, to stay home, to practise social distancing. But now that we are asked to do so, social distancing seems to be the most difficult task for most people.
Even when distancing is something we have long practiced and we were okay with it. Weren’t there numerous times when people sat together in a room, not talking to each other but stayed glued to their phones? And in that sense, haven’t we lived in isolation for many years? In the wake of the pandemic, our lives have drastically changed And we were okay. We have survived.
But suddenly the idea of socialising for many people now seems be the most fascinating thing to do. Catching up with an old friend and talking over coffee in a café, running into familiar faces in a public gathering, watching a show together, going shopping in a buzzing market, taking children out where there are people going about their daily affairs, maybe attending a book launch, listening to an author read, go to a church service or simply a family get together, engaging in usual conversations, talking and laughing over silly things.
These are some of the things we have already started to miss, or hope we can indulge in sooner than later. Weren’t they good days? When you could hug a friend or somebody you know with no second thoughts running inside your mind? When you could comfort a sick by just holding their hands and sitting beside them; when the future was still uncertain but you had no feeling of uneasiness; when you could go places and simply take in the beauty of it.
Right now, perhaps, many of us want nothing more than the freedom to be out there in public places; where villages, towns and cities are bustling and alive; where we can pass by strangers as we go about our daily lives; even brushing shoulders with a fellow co-passenger in a public transport and not minding it. But someday, when this is over, we will get to do all the things we once took for granted. And when that happens, maybe we will give our hearts to it, do things with love, and never take one moment for granted.
If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us so far, then it is that everything is temporary. That the things we do on a daily basis and are so familiar with, could so easily be snatched away from our hands. But most of all it has taught us how fragile human lives are. And that, given a situation like this, we also, hopefully start to realize how precious life is.
The world over seems like it’s closing down. All the places our lives revolved around- from school to work, social gatherings and markets are closing down as every single one of us are trying to rebuild our lives on a different routine, staying home and trying to keep ourselves healthy. Having said that, my heart goes out for those in the health care services. Those who are relentlessly risking their lives every second, so that one precious life somewhere in some corner of the world could be saved. It’s easier for those of us who can work from home, do things at home, we even have that privilege to isolate ourselves in the hope that we could stay healthy and life could still go on. But healthcare workers don’t. They put themselves in the front line everyday, everywhere across the globe, combating a battle for the good of everyone. May blessings unfold in their lives as they continue to work for us!
For those of us who have the luxury to stay home and isolate ourselves, may we find beautiful things to do! Maybe pick those unread books that we have stacked on our shelves for so long and start reading. Perhaps learn to work at home, from home and be productive. May our children not while away their time at home being bored and doing nothing, but may they learn something new. Maybe even the most basic things like making their own beds, washing their own cups and plates, cleaning their rooms, even pick up a new skill- cooking or learn a craft, do some gardening, or learn something new and actually enjoy doing it.
May our stay at home bring us closer with our families and loved ones. May we appreciate all the small things in life and may we never forget that in the end, it is home and family that will go the distance with you. I hope that it will make us pause and reflect, make us grateful and realise even more how precious life is.
I have hope that one day soon, even this pandemic will pass. And we will be able to do all the things we have started to miss. That we will emerge out of it stronger. Be better persons and become people who appreciate life, and everything that comes along with it. I hope that even out of this ugly situation will emerge beautiful stories of humanity. Stories that will live to inspire us. To never take life for granted. To not take another person’s company for granted. And most of all, to be more human, in every sense of the word.
(Vishü Rita Krocha is a poet, author and a journalist by profession with experience in the field for over 10 years. She also runs a home-based publication house called PenThrill Publication House. Views expressed are her own)