In 2019, if anyone would have told me that next year, everyone would be in a house arrest, I would have never believed it! We are always in a positive mindset (we should be too!) and start planning and organising events which would happen months later. I know you might say, planning is essential for practically everything. But who knew that in 2020 all the plannings would go in vain.
When I was writing my blog post — Sheroes for IWD, 8th March, I was talking to one of my friends Dipti for listening to her inspirational story, (https://myartyard.com/2020/03/05/sheroes/). During our conversation she had mentioned about her wedding planned by the end of March. Being the star designer, not just hers’ but entire family’s costumes for the occasion were designed by her. At that time, even a month earlier nobody had imagined, what was approaching us! She said her fiance is very dynamic and lively. He had planned a Grand Indian Wedding with relatives coming from different parts of the world. Everything was planned to perfection. It was a three-day wedding ceremony, invitations were printed and distributed, venues were booked. Right from local to international guests, the travel plans was booked. In this zealous atmosphere, nobody took Coronavirus outbreak into consideration. The problem that was expected to stay limited to China was now a global crisis! India had declared a lockdown of 21 days w.e.f. March 23, 2020. The couple soon realised that this situation is not going subside soon. With a heavy heart, they decided to get married in the presence of just the core family members, Dipti resides in Mumbai for her job but her parents stay in a small town nearby Pune. Due to the situation of Lockdown, her family too couldn’t attend the wedding. They got married in their house with just five family members present! Even the priest was unable to reach. The ceremony of Kanyadaan was performed by the fraternal relatives of the groom, who stayed in the neighbouring apartment. Dipti was not very fond of a grand wedding but she must have missed the presence of her parents and brother for sure. How so ever impeccable plans we make, but destiny’s plans need not coincide with ours always. I always feel such incidents make us realise that there is a super-power who governs the world. We, human beings cannot control everything and these experiences keep us grounded! Unfortunately, this is just one incident, but there may be endless such cases everywhere important life events got postponed or were accomplished in the absence of near and dear ones, celebrations, get-togethers, and with minimal resources.
In this situation of lockdown, if you are with your family, I believe you are really very lucky. These circumstances came almost without notice and if one is separated from family, it’s a tough time for him/her. Many couples are staying in different places since lockdown has been declared. As either of them went to another city to visit someone. Most of the time we visit relative or friend’s place and plan to stay for a couple of days, but if we are compelled to stay for one or two months it can become an awkward situation for both the parties. Moreover, it is all the more difficult for the other partner who is left alone in such a situation. There are chances that the person might feel lonely and despondent. Doing everything by themselves is not easy. Sometimes, we lose interest in and feel lethargic even to cook for ourselves. This may gradually result in disturbed mental and physical well being.
Howbeit, I want to share a story of a couple who is just the opposite of all what I mentioned in the above paragraph. Mr Kshirsagar is my Dad’s old friend, the one thing that’s common in both of them is their zealous persona bearing infectious energy levels. The incident goes this way that, Mrs Kshirsagar had to visit her mother in Mumbai and due to sudden lockdown norms she was stranded in her brother’s house with her mother, and now it’s been three months since the couple hasn’t been together. I was glad to hear from them that neither of the two was disheartened with this situation. A couple of days back when I called Kaka (I fondly address Mr Kshirsagar as Mangesh Kaka) he told me that he has kept himself very busy in several activities. which not just includes reading and watching TV but also cooking. He told me he has a busy daily schedule and plans his menu a day before. Listening to the list of the dishes, he tried and cooked I was amazed, in fact, he gave me a complex when he said, “I did not cook Khichadi even once!” In contrast, there are many times, I feel tired and lazy to cook so I opt for my favourite comfort food Khichadi. Although we weren’t on a video call during our conversation, I am very sure that not just the kitchen but his beautiful apartment must have been sparkling clean! As I have seen since my childhood that cleanliness is one thing that Mangesh Kaka will not compromise for sure. I always feel, there is always so much to learn from every person we meet whether in person or virtually. Listening to the excitement his voice, I asked, “Kaka, aren’t you missing Kaku (Mrs Kshirsagar)?” He said, “Of course I am missing her, but it’s OK. What can be done about it?” and I learnt that “Acceptance is the key to Happiness!” Once we accept any situation, we do not waste our energy in changing and cribbing for it, instead we adapt ourselves according to the situation and it no more holds the potential to disturb us.
One thing I can say for everyone is that we all are missing the people we love and meet often or almost daily, during this period of the Lockdown. There are many emotions that a touch conveys very easily sometimes much better than the words. I hug all my friends whenever we meet and before we part. It is such a warm and beautiful gesture that convey so many emotions. I remember when I was in India, I use to daily bump into my friend Shruti, as the time that I dropped my son to school and her time to leave for office was the same. Besides greeting, we casually hugged each other every day. I don’t know whether you believe in the language of touch or not, but I very strongly believe, and every day our hug communicated something different. I was able to sense her mind through her touch. Emotions like happiness, stress, contentment, rush, confusion, sadness were easily conveyed to me without even speaking a word. When I shifted to Munich, I use to miss the touch, of all my close friends and even my mother in law. However, later with time, I learnt to find similar emotions in the eyes and voice of my loved ones. For instance, whenever I talk to my brother, just the sound of “Hello” on the phone use to convey all his emotions which he never verbalised. My elder brother being an introvert, would not even say one extra word if he thought it isn’t essential. But since my childhood, I have learnt to live with it and my mind has also adapted to it, I sense the emotions of his voice. Do you also believe in these non-verbal communications?
Looking at the current situation in Germany, where this COVID-19 situation has been tackled well, the lockdown norms were relaxed to some extend. I met Saylee, one of my very dear friend, after almost 2 months. Till the time we did not meet I had never realised, what was I missing? But as we met, I felt as refreshing as we feel whenever we see leafless trees bearing new leaves in the month of Spring! Our meeting proved to be therapeutic for both of us. We both experienced a sense of rejuvenation through experiencing one another’s physical presence around by talking, smiling, and hugging each other. I felt like it’s not just the friends I made, I actually earned them!
One thing for sure, this Lockdown has taught me, how much ever we plan our life in advance, there would be some things that won’t be in our hands, how much ever we try. Instead of cribbing about the situation we cannot change what we should try to accept it. I know it is easy to say, but trust me, execution is not that difficult as well, if you believe in it. There will be days when you might feel emotionally low and physically drained. Take easy on such days, avoid overthinking and questioning things we don’t have an answer for. Within no time you will realise that this phase also passed by. And, I am sure once you live through these tough times, you will surely have stories to narrate to your younger generations.