There as a time not too long ago when the socially accepted norm for greeting one another was How are you? How have you been? What’s new? Or perhaps even What are you up to? But for the past three weeks it has flipped 180C to Where are you? How are you coping with Home Office? Do you still have enough supplies at home? Did you manage to get a delivery slot for the online grocery shopping? I notice it as well in the manner in which I interact with the delivery people these days (who are all wearing gloves and we, the packet recipients, are not to sign for the items anymore), instead of wishing them a nice day or teasing that they forgot my order of Sunshine, it is Stay safe and healthy.
Nothing in the world today, is as it was a month ago – not in the work culture, social interactions, mobility, or even connectivity. I am a natural recluse, and can usually spend weekends at home without craving for human interaction, but that was before lockdown and the freedom of movement was curtailed for everyone. The choice has been taken away from me, and that makes all the difference.
Fear – the fear of contracting the dreaded virus, or becoming a carrier for unsuspecting victims, or even worse, being stopped by the police and asked to justify my movement outdoors and present identification. Yes, that is the prevailing mood in Berlin, and it is anything but amusing. What I once dismissed as paranoia has become a standard behaviour and it is incredibly sad to see all the empty playgrounds, the subway practically devoid of human presence, closed shops and locked down restaurants. The life and pulse of the city has been sucked away and only a hollow echo remains. For everyone else around the globe reading this and also confined indoors, you know exactly what I mean, be it London, Madrid, Manila, Bangkok, Mexico City, New Delhi, or Melbourne.
I am one of the fortunate parents who gets to be confined indoors with a family member I love and cherish – and get along with. Not too many families can claim this, and regardless of whether your child is four or forty, if you don’t have a healthy relationship, this time is incredibly toxic!
Being indoors has affected me on so many levels, both positive and negative, but more of the latter. For example, I hit my 10-year blogging milestone last week and wasn’t even inspired to write an entry, much as I stared at my screen with a vengeance, determined to churn out a few sentences for the occasion. Here’s the thing, I usually find my inspiration in the daily things I pass and witness to and from work, but being stuck at home, the flat faces of my two Persian cats provide very little excitement.
Looking back over the 10 years, I know for a fact there were many moments I wanted to throw in the towel and simply walk away. But I can’t. I am a writer, and words are my only wealth to share with the world that I feel strongly about. What have I learned in 10 years? Discipline. A blog will not maintain itself and you can’t entire more readers if you don’t offer fresh material on a regular basis, or keep it interesting. Since my blog has never focused on one particular subject, I like it keep it as unpredictable as my own personality, and I think this is what has kept me going.
Will I do it for another 10 years? Absolutely. If there are two things I cannot do without in life is writing and photography. Take one away from me and the other suffers. Inspire me on one, I will soar on the other. Break my spirit on one, and I will end up swimming in darkness in the other, but one thing is for sure, broken or not, writing has kept me sane.