I am spending the lockdown days in my rented one room flat outside Christ University, Bangalore campus. Before the nationwide lockdown was announced, I was wishing for it to come, in order to stay safe from the virus as the number of cases around here was rising. But when it actually came, it did cause me anxiety. The most congested city in the world, as Bangalore is known, suddenly became vacant and an eerie calmness replaced the loud noises of human activity. The quarter where I live also went silent and everyone withdrew into the safety of their homes. The people who came out to buy essentials maintained distance from each other and stared at one another with mistrust, some even to the extent of making you feel guilty. I also procured for myself essential groceries to survive the lockdown days and set my mind on completing the tasks I have been working on.
Soon, unlike my expectations, the lockdown began to weigh on me. Confined to my tiny room my thoughts became heavy at times. I found it difficult to focus on anything as I continuously looked for the news updates on how the virus infected world was getting on. I felt worried not only about the alarming numbers of death taking place on a global level but also about the shameless display of hatred and ignorance in people’s, especially some of the world leaders’, reaction to this crisis. On a personal level too, some thoughts created tension in me. I had reached an important phase of my research, as this killer virus was making its entry. My work is focused on two concepts – human agency and freedom. The two notions that now stand suspended by the emergence of this global pandemic. Sitting before my work, with this thought occupying my mind, I feel distressed because the understanding I have gathered before the virus struck looks so outdated.
The lockdown has not ended. Looking forward what I can see is only the uncertainty that lies ahead. Like everyone else, I realize that in a matter of a few days the world has changed. COVID -19 has changed us on all levels of life. I wish a speedy recovery for the world.
Anu George CJ