It was last winter, we heard about this deadly virus named Covid -19 or Corona. As I am a postgraduate in Botany and my special subject during my postgraduation was Microbiology, microbes like bacteria, virus or fungi were the common subjects of my study. But since marriage, I have been living my life as a home maker and a stay at home mom of two daughters, I start forgetting even these creatures exist except while helping my younger daughter in washing her hands, who is only 4 years old. The virus and bacteria are the terms I always say to convince my daughter for washing her hands before eating.
It was the last week of December, I was busy shopping online for my brother’s marriage; buying clothes for my daughters for different occasions of the marriage and then returning when that didn’t meet my expectation. I was taking the full advantage of the facility these online stores offered. Moreover, I am always choosy when it comes to clothes. I was very excited for his marriage and perhaps, for visiting my parents, my in -laws and all the relatives I didn’t meet for more than 4 years.
Due to living as a nuclear family in Gurgaon, thousands of miles far from home, my parents visited only once in a decade and my in-laws twice. Then, taking care of the two kids and household chores alone without helpers was not an easy job. I hardly found time to watch news on TV. And when I had little time, either I wanted to watch my favorite TV series or spend some time in writing poetry. My sisters often called me to discuss about the marriage those days and whenever they called me, they talked about people of China having infected by a virus called Corona. I didn’t pay much attention to that talk because all my attention was in planning the journey and things I would like to do after reaching Assam, my home state. I was in a little stress too, thinking about 3 hours journey by flight. I had a bad experience during my last visit due to the rainy season and having severe turbulence on the flight.
The marriage ceremony went well and after staying almost a month, we came back to Gurgaon on 14th February, the Valentine’s day, the day lovers of the world celebrate their love, but after 12th years of love marriage, it was like just another day except the fact that I was tired and exhausted due to the long 3 hours car journey to Kumbhirgram Airport, Silchar, then 3 hours flight to Delhi and almost one hour from airport to our residence in Gurgaon.
After a few weeks the news and fear of Covid- 19 became contagious like Covid -19 itself. The news said, Italy was the most affected country. Suddenly I started having interest on news channel, unlike before, perhaps due to the fear of corona. I turned on the TV news as soon as I woke up and read news on internet before sleeping every night. Seemed like a slight change in my daily routine and monotonous life. Sometimes, I was worried for my kids and sometimes for my parents and in-laws as the information was saying the elder ones and kids were more prone to the infection.
I heard many countries around the world were locked down due to the Corona virus infection. So, I started gathering groceries and essential items at home at least to survive for 3 months, if the situation got worst. Then the first lockdown in India was announced by the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi for 21 days, starting from 24th March 2020. I could feel the panic situation people of my country were having. Facebook, Instagram and the twitters were full of updates of lockdown stories. Friends started calling on phone even those who had not called even once in the last 5 years. Either they started caring for me or simply they had enough time to talk to old friends as their workplaces were locked down. Anyway, I felt good to talk to them. Among my class friends of postgraduation, I am the only one who chose to be a stay at home mom due to my concern about my daughters and not able to leave them at home with babysitter or even at day care. Since I became mother, I am a mother first than anything else. All my choices had to be approved by the mother inside me before me. Its not like that I never felt upset on my decision and felt low about myself watching all my friends having good jobs, some even became professors in Botany. But no matter what, the mother inside me was stronger than all other me. She always wins.
Seemed like my friends, my relatives, my neighbors and almost all the men of this country were more concerned about living 21 days at home than the deadly viruses except those of daily workers, for them the concern was of living without earning more than the pandemic. But for me nothing was changed. I woke up, had a morning tea like every other day and then made breakfast for kids and husband then, went through my poetry page on Facebook before starting with cleaning, laundry and cooking. In the evening I walked with my kids in my terrace garden. That was the only time I enjoyed in the whole day. Before lockdown too I seldom went outside; once in a month to shopping mall or historical places as I love visiting them. Nothing changed for my life except the fact that my daughters were home and I was not worrying like before when they were in school. Because corona could still be washed out with soap and killed with sanitizer but what about those child molester or rapists? Whenever my daughters came home from school, the first thing I used to ask was if anyone touched them or not, even before asking them what they were taught at school. My concern was not baseless. crimes and cases of rape were too increasing like virus everywhere on Earth. And even schools are not an exception these days.
It was the second week of lockdown and suddenly I realized that for me the story was different. For me it was not just two weeks or 21 days or many more days but more than a decade, 12 long years. Yes! It’s been 12 years since I came to the National Capital Region after marriage and I came to know that I have been under locked down for 12 years.