When our Premier’s office announced an extension of the forty-day lock-down period to another two weeks, as it neared an end, emotions surged across the country-some happy for they reasoned it will help the already stretched health care service, while others sank further down their rabbit hole of moroseness. Some cheered, while some jeered. Some hailed, some wailed and I sighed. No, I shall not foray into the economics or the politics of this precarious situation for it demands a careful assessment and discussion. Yes, the economy is in shambles, the new normal remains vaguely uncertain, countries have been accusing each other, people have been accusing the government, and a few groups have been marginalising others. While the virus continues to rage war against us, we are quite happily setting the premise for a war against one another, having cremated subjectivity and rationality, determined to push the world into an era of perpetual darkness!
I, for one, had slipped, quite easily, into the routine of being at home, working, reading, cleaning and gardening-the rewards of being an introvert, if you ask me. Choosing to call the lock-down a ‘nesting period’ (the credit to Amy) to steer away from the pessimism and a draconian image that the former word conjures I have been largely complacent, contrary to the general mood of despondency bubbling across the country and elsewhere. I have savoured the family time with my cousins, aunt and uncle, who are, quite to my uncle’s chagrin, stuck here ever since the nesting period commenced. At the beginning card games, everybody donning the chef’s hat, cleaning, and conversations over cups of tea became the norm while rigorous washing of hands, sanitising every little packet delivered, bleaching, disinfecting, wiping, scrubbing were akin to breathing.
However, when the initial three weeks became five, which then turned to a more than a month, the introverted me began convulsing. A fanatic and desperate plea for a space, a silence, a quiet corner to read a book, to think, to stare into nothingness I zone out often inciting rebuke from my cousins. Call me selfish, call me self-centred, but I need to fade away to recharge my drained battery! I need to plug in the earphones to let music be the backdrop for conversations inside my head, I need to cosy up on my couch and read Dostoevsky, I need a quiet space to practice my French lessons. I am now missing my lone quiet walks, the occasional filter coffee, reading at a café and indulging in the simple joys of life outside home. Moreover when everybody decides to turn into a chef, when YouTube aids them to experiment new recipes and for a family, which loves to eat (while I am the black sheep), and when my failed attempts to force everybody to reading, and to switch off the television the phrase ‘this is over’ crops up every day! All the more gruesome does it sound when for the present times a bare minimum could be peaceful and any additional penny saved may help someone in need, especially for a populous and developing nation that I live in. Contribute, help, educate rather than making strange concoctions, sugar, spice and everything not nice, to aid your immunity fall upon deaf ears.
As I maddeningly type this, looking from the corner of my eyes at the baffled face of my cousin who has been asking why I am quiet today, listening to the pathetic sound of a mundane television show floating from the other room to my corner in our little apartment, it dawns upon me that I have been ranting! Oh well! Dishevelled, my hair morphing gradually into a nest, breathing in and out, seeking solitude, an island, a cabin in the hills, I am reminded of Virginia Woolf,
Orlando naturally loved solitary places, vast views, and to feel himself for ever and ever and ever alone.
Hear me out reader, listen to my mundaneness of everyday, my need to seek that stretch of nothingness, the beseeching prayer of the quintessential (internally) screaming introvert.