I am the Political Editor with the Hindu BusinessLine.

Poornima Joshi

A new life

Poornima Joshi | Updated on April 15, 2020

Representational Image   -  Reuters

Surviving Self-Distancing – Day 11

Someone once said it takes two months for a habit to form. Eleven days are not enough by that yardstick but already, I feel a faint trace of acceptance for my new life. The days when I woke up with anticipation of a day filled with office, colleagues, contacts, people I love are gone. Temporarily perhaps but I have a feeling that life would never be the same again. In any case, if there’s one philosophical pronouncement of my beloved father’s that I have unconsciously internalised, it’s that past is dead and the future is uncertain and we live in the now. And now is very different from the life that I have led at least in the past few years. There isn’t Parliament or political party office to go to, there aren’t colleagues to argue and hang out with, there’s no evening to plan. The new life is a fresh acquaintance with a place I call home and doing all the things that I would rather not – cleaning, wiping, sweeping, cooking, washing – besides office work from home.

Perhaps it is the vitality of nature and death that has caused this meek acceptance of the sudden rupture. Intuitively, you know you can’t argue or struggle against the force of nature. It has come as a virus and in a matter of less than two weeks, it has ripped our world apart. I see stars in Delhi sky for the first time since I arrived here in the early 1990s. I hear bird sounds during the day and the air is fragrant with fallen leaves and new flowers this spring. People in Jullandhar woke up to actually see the snow-clad Dhauladhar peaks hundreds of miles away from their roof-tops. In the immense tragedy that has befallen our poor, lakhs of whom walked thousands of kilometres back to their villages after they got sacked and chucked out of their rented homes in the cities, there is an almost cruel beauty that has resurrected. The scale of human tragedy is only matched by the clarity of signs that the earth is breathing again.

And so I sometimes find that elusive stillness in the quiet afternoons after the morning chores are over, in Amma’s newfound happiness and confidence in having me all to herself. I am no longer counting the days; there’s a rhythm and harmony in the hours as morning turns a bright afternoon of chirping birds and the dusk comes with Amma’s little puja bells ringing. Perhaps the old life will come back and may be not as newspapers struggle to survive in this time of economic devastation. It’s what I do, being a journalist. But I no longer worry about not being that for long. Migrant labour is moving back to the villages and I have a home in a village too. I once thought I would go back when I have exhausted my energies in the city. But perhaps nature has willed it otherwise. I am prepared to go back home now.

Published on April 09, 2020

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