High Court of Kerala is reopening tomorrow.It surely gives me a hope that, everything will get back to normal. After college, my office is one of the few places where I have felt like ‘I belong here’. I had to take a small break due to health issues. It was really hard to take that decision and stay home. Within few days, the pandemic outbreak began, and soon, lockdown was declared in India. One of my colleagues said, “the entire country took a break with you.”
Since the first day of lockdown, I have gone out of the house only four times. Twice for buying grocery and twice for morning walks. Now that lawyers are gearing up, to get back on track, the realization that many things as I know have changed make me nervous as well. Earlier, while at courts or office, my worries were mostly about work. Now, I will carry a lot of virus induced anxieties too.
I am used to many things; rushing to a colleague’s desk for help, standing close to each other during every day meetings, using neck band of others, eating near the crowded food joint or in the canteen, shaking hands, sharing food, drinking from bottle of others, doing quick research from the Association library , heading to the filing section to cure defects noted by the filing section, finding a way towards our files in the crowded 3A courtroom, leaning towards the handrail of the escalator. I may not be able do any of this anymore. It is difficult to let all those habits go.
I know that everybody is scared and there was a shadow of realization on the virtual faces of my colleagues that we will have to learn to live with this virus. But all are scared about the chances of carrying the virus home. Therefore, everyone will try to keep a distance from each other. These are hard times and we need to fight it to go forward. Or as my Senior told me, “no more fights, we need to deal with it.”
The physical distancing may not affect warmth of any relation. But, how can I stay 6 feet away when I see my friends again. It is going to be really hard to re-learn things like, how to express emotions and how to contain it. While going outside with a mask glued to my face, what affected me the most is, the vanished smiles. It looks like one grim world, with all those smiles hiding behind the masks. However, nothing can hide the reflections of a beautiful smile in one’s eyes.
Sometimes, it feels like living in a fictional world of Hollywood movies. And I am afraid that, our world will be remembered as ‘before and after Covid’. There may not be any more time on the beaches. There may no longer be sudden plans for a Munnar trip. There may not be any stand-up comedy nights anymore. There may not be any drive to Queen’s Way. Even then I am happy. Scared, but happy.
I am really glad that there is a ray of hope, and I have decided to cling on to it. I am happy that we are far ahead of many countries in preventing the spread of covid. It was on January 30 that the first case of Covid was reported in Kerala, and all Keralites stood as one and the Government did their best. I am grateful to all. I am happy that I am able to go back to my office and see those familiar faces. I will be able to do what I know and forget about the bleak news I hear every day. There will be a sense of purpose every day.
So I am getting out tomorrow, to resume work – intending to develop some new habits to stay alive, and importantly, stay happy .