Saturday, Aug 20, 2022
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Pandemic Pangs: When The World Looked Inward For Succour

The pandemic taught the world to battle emptiness and also to seek the meaning of life and love in the people around them

Pandemic Pangs: When The World Looked Inward For Succour Photographs: Chandan Gomes

Right before the first lockdown, love ent­ered my life and home. Unaware of the havoc the virus was wreaking and its implications, I was happy that as long as I am locked up in my flat, I have someone I love and someone who loves me. I was exhausted from being alone; and the thought of sharing life with someone gave me joy. We used to speak for hours, cook and eat tog­ether, play ludo and watch films. I sec­retly hoped that the lockdown kept getting ext­ended every week; completely ignorant of those who were walking to their homes. And then the visuals started coming in.

The photographs and videos of our migrant brothers and sisters deeply moved me. I was guilty, ashamed, both as a person and an artist. I felt the response of the art world to this massive, forced displacement was lukewarm at best. We were quiet; more bothered about our own existential crisis, while fellow citizens endlessly walked, sometimes to their deaths. In my personal space, cracks started to appear—conversations made way for conflict, anger replaced joy and except for a few tender moments of love, a gloomy silence filled our flat. The first lockdown ended with us parting ways; there were no last goodbyes. The virus was not just taking lives, it was altering them forever. The people I knew, the city I walked in, the strangers one encountered in the metro, buses and marketplaces, everyone and everything had changed.

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