Anxiety, Anger, and Alienation

In the month of December, when the first case of Covid19 was detected in China, I was in Europe, enjoying canal rides, eating waffles, laughing with my Italian colleagues Natalia, Serena, Loredana and flirting with the Dutch-Italian fellow Roberto at the hotel’s reception desk. He resembled the Indian actor Arjun Rampal and was no less than a human encyclopedia who knew about every hotel, pub, and bar in the town. I almost had a tiny crush on him.

Back then, we had no idea that a couple of months down the line, all that would seem surreal. Today, Italians are struggling for their lives and I am amidst a lockdown.


The memory of a beautiful European trip

In January, many of us were thinking of Covid19 as something that affected only China. In February, my cousin came to India from Singapore. He had to go through thermal screening at the airport. We joked in our family WhatsApp group that we wouldn’t meet him, as he would spread the virus. Covid19 was still more of a joke for us.

Gradually, things started getting a bit closer when a friend had to cancel his Japan trip and was quarantined on his return from the USA. Then, Italian tourists were diagnosed in Rajasthan and Covid19 became a real thing for us because we were scheduled to travel to Rajasthan. Husband asked me to cancel all tickets and hotel bookings. All of us were looking forward to this family trip and were naturally upset. To be honest, both I and my son thought he was overreacting.  Now, when I think in retrospect, I do give credit to my man’s farsight. Had we gone ahead then we wouldn’t have been able to return as the Lockdown would have started.

Things got scary when the son’s school sent an email writing ‘indefinite closure’, his swimming classes also got shut down by the government. Then one fine morning we came to know that an elderly couple from our neighborhood who had returned from Dubai were infected. Suddenly the only dining table discussion we had was ‘coronavirus’. Offices started asking employees to work from home. One afternoon my house help was not allowed to enter our housing society. Soon after we got a message that the society was banning all house-helps and delivery people to enter the society. Many residents even got angry and started abusing the secretary of our society for taking such a drastic step.

In the meantime, we had almost developed OCD of washing hands. I started getting suspicious of every touch and every person. We started using toothpicks and tissue papers to press the elevator buttons. Husband went a step ahead and started climbing the stairs to avoid any touch. I started washing everything in the house with Dettol like a maniac. We kept a big bottle of sanitizer at the entrance. Son was still rebellious and I was losing my mind trying to keep him indoors and make him wash hands.

In between all this, one day, a friend came to visit, she had come back from Hongkong in January. I almost went crazy after she left and literally cursed her in my mind. I washed the sofa where she sat and cleaned the cup and saucer with Dettol. I don’t know if I should feel proud or ashamed of what I did. Then finally the government declared a total lockdown. And the alienation aka #socialdistancing began.

All of a sudden in 2020, people all over the world entered a new ‘world’, a place where staying away from each other is the only mantra to stay safe.






29 thoughts on “Anxiety, Anger, and Alienation

  1. Matheikal says:

    Though I don’t believe in theological teleology, I believe the cosmos has its own ways of giving us back what we gave to it. Corona belongs to that vindictive streak of the cosmos. We need to mend our ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shweta Suresh says:

    I know how you’re feeling. No, you aren’t wrong to have a grudge against your visitor. She shouldn’t have done that. In Kerala, corona cases spread like wildfire all thanks to a few idiots who violated their quarantine. I’ve given fully paid leave to my maid. I’ve deep cleaned my house more times than I can think. Dettol is everywhere. I haven’t left my house in 10 days and I’m procrastinating the moment when I’ll eventually have to go out to buy groceries. I’m rationing things as it is. It’s a very different time. But that being said, I can’t help but wonder if the coronavirus is actually helping to heal nature. Stay safe, dear. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anagha Yatin says:

    We all did travel the entire circumference with Corona, I suppose and with every passing day , the circumferance is growing without reaching the finishing point, is what scares me more.
    You summed up the initial days so well Balaka, I could revisit instances in my life related to this nasty scare through your words.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shilpa Garg says:

    Who would have thought that we would have to stay locked up at home to stay safe and our world would change all around us!! While our anger and anxiety is natural, but we need to really alienate ourselves and stay safe, not only for ourselves but for everyone around us. Take care and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anita says:

    This is the reality of our times. No longer does it just concern only China or them…
    Our world is so interconnected that we cannot stay away.
    Who could have imagines about- Social Distancing & Lockdown in this age?
    Stay Safe. Take care.


  6. pythoroshan says:

    Think about it. When will people ever be confident again to travel… especially to the worst affected places which includes so many big names like New York, Spain, France, Italy… we are scared to move across state borders.


  7. Dr. Surbhi Prapanna says:

    Ya, it is really sad and disturbing for all of us and I could understand and co relate with your sentiments. hope it subsides soon and we get back to our normal lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Moon says:

    You have described our situation so perfectly, Balaka! We have to do everything we can to socially distance ourselves from others. That’s our only option, given the potency and the newness of the virus. I would say, you were kind to host your friend, visiting from Hong Kong. Most in your situation would not have shied away from being rude.
    Best wishes for the rest of the A-Z challenge, dear friend. I will try peeping in, every now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Modern Gypsy says:

    This is such a dystopian time! Who would have known that social distancing and self isolation would become the new normal at least for a time. Hope this too passes soon, and we can limp back to life as normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Shalzmojo says:

    All of this sounds so real and exact. We all felt like this initially and kept assuming its never going to touch our lives. I was traveling in Uttarakhand in Feb-March and its only in first week March that this started to sink in. By the time I came in, life was heading towards alienation and self isolation. Praying we all get through it with all of our sanity and humanity intact.


  11. Parul Thakur says:

    If I were you, I would have done and thought the same things. These are uncertain times and true that when a bit of news was rolling in from China, I also thought it’s something in China and not here.
    Gosh – how things have changed! Take care, Balaka and hope you all stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

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