Imagine going on a vacation and then being locked down there for at least a month. This is exactly how I feel as an outstation student staying at my hometown due to coronavirus social distancing and lockdown. Since the government has announced closing down of all the colleges and schools, life seems like a never-ending vacation. The stay that was meant to be for a week has now extended over a month which is not as happening as it sounds. I love to come to my home, meet my family and enjoy dinner time together. But now, after having spent like 6 years away from my home, stays at home are either vacations or days of non-productivity.
Life of an outstation student- divided into two roles
I came back to my home town to celebrate Holi with my family and had all my bags packed again when Coronavirus was declared as a pandemic. My parents freaked out as Delhi was reporting positive cases back to back.
The next was that I had to cancel my tickets. It is more than two weeks that I am at my home and I already feel like a couch potato. Being an outstation student, my life is literally divided into two roles. When I am in Delhi, I plan my day according to my work and studies. But when I get back home, work and studies shift to the backseat and I am in a mood of peace and relaxation. Now that I already have deadlines to meet, I have to bring my studies and work to the front seat. But doing that without the routine and environment that I am used to annoys me. Besides, what is worse is that I haven’t brought enough clothes or books because it was supposed to be a vacation!
Pandemic and personal quarantine
Now that I am home for such a long time, my mother is already on her most-awaited mission to make me look healthier. She cooks my favourite dishes and makes me eat 2-3 extra rotis than my usual diet. The pleasure of the home-cooked meal that I miss every day in Delhi is now making me lazy and drowsy. I am not used to this diet when it comes to rigorous hours of concentration and work. Besides, living out of the town means you have no social life in the town. I literally have no friends or no work for which I would want to step out of my home.
Consequently, my life amidst the coronavirus social distancing is but a combination of the pandemic and the personal quarantine (I am an introvert so making new friends is off the chart).
When fun-time with family becomes lack of personal space
In Delhi, I share my room with one roommate because too many people means no personal space and concentration. That is exactly what happens at my home, with all my family members around me, cooking, talking and watching TV. I try various ways to ignore and at last, I find some peace when everyone is asleep. Important to mention here that in a middle-class family of Bihar, you don’t have your own room. The idea of a family is taken too seriously here that even today we all sleep together.
And in the six years of staying away from my family, I am used to sleeping and doing things alone. Imagine the change.
Now when I work late at night, I wake up on the time when my mother wants to see me ready for breakfast. And next is fresh scoldings of my mother as soon as I wake up. Eventually, I end up spending my days trying to figure out when to sit for my work with full concentration.
The silenced conversations that might speak in this stillness
Since I intern as a content writer, a concept which is still alien to my parents, they are often annoyed when I am on my laptop. And because of this pressure, I can’t think and write clearly. Living away from my family, I at least have this privilege of being able to avoid certain questions that every woman’s parents ask about career and marriage and more so when they have no idea about what she is doing. It is not that I have no answers but what I want to reply is not what they want to listen. When I am with my parents, I try to avoid bringing that conversation because answering those questions face-face is different. I feel my parents themselves try to keep that conversation off the table so that the short time that we spend together is not wasted in arguments. But now that I am long at home, I have this fear that someday they will bring back the questions and I don’t know how I am going to convince them for my denial.
I am hoping that coronavirus panic and social distancing might strengthen our real relations and make every one of us more focused on what we want in our lives and what we don’t.
But, quarantine with family is valuable
The pandemic Coronavirus is spreading its cross-hairs further every day. I don’t know when exactly I will be back to my normal routine. But until then spending this crucial time with my family is more valuable. I can certainly affirm that if I was alone in Delhi at this moment, it would not have been easier for me and especially for my parents. While the panicky is increasing every day and people are finding ways to tackle the pandemic, having a fine dinner with your family lightens the stress and boosts you up. So, eventually, living through the quarantine and its consequences with family is better than facing it alone.
Rudrani Kumari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author's own.