Anyone else obsessively check the covid status in their country? No? Just me?
I confess to refreshing the coronavirus stats each morning and evening in Singapore—to check the rise in stats. And it is Always a rise.
I check India, because that’s where a lot of my family live.
I check Malaysia, because that’s like my second home.
I check the US: friends and family.
The UK: friends and agent.
Italy: a very good friend lives in North Italy, and we all know exactly how bad things are over there.
Not that I do not care about the rest of the world, but I’m human. And self-absorbed. My caring is not unconditional and all-encompassing as it should be. I’m terrified for those I know and cherish.
Around me, I see varied reactions. India is at the,”It won’t happen to us,”–Italy, US and the UK were there very recently. Singapore is an oasis of calm control and I’m super-privileged to live here, but it is a tiny nation very connected to a globalized world.
Today is my Italian friend’s birthday, but unlike other years, I’m not able to send her a gift. She visits her mother with the groceries, but leaves them on the doorstep after a brief hello from a distance. Another friend in India is unable to visit her mother who has broken a limb and is in hospital. Yet another in the US is unable to tell her mother with alzheimers why she can’t visit this weekend. So many are struggling to explain this summer holiday of isolation to their children. I also see a garbageman, a frontliner, as far as I’m concerned, doing his job with pride. I hear of courage and grace under pressure from medical professionals. I read about the experiences of the Chinese and the Italians–their lives in quarantine. I read about a 34-yr old who died in Malaysia, after attending a massive religious gathering. He had no underlying conditions. I hear about 2 youngsters in Italy who 3-D-printed lifesaving valves and saved 10 lives, but now face being sued.
What a change 3 months can bring–January this year, I was still promoting You beneath Your Skin in India while juggling parenting-the-parent duties. It seems like all of that happened years ago.
I’m so tempted to whine– at the plans that did not come to pass, the cancelled tickets after a grueling year–but I know people stand to lose so much more, lives and livelihoods are at stake. I’m a privileged little pigeon holed in my coop, slightly embarrassed to admit that my writing life pre-and-post-Covid is remarkably similar–I mostly stay at home, anyway. I can afford to keep writing, and That’s a privilege, too.
So while I wait for India to sail through or explode in a Covid nightmare, and worry about all my friends and family spread across the world, I’d love to hear from you.
What has your experience of Covid been like? When do you think it will end? What is it like–groceries, panic, isolation–or life as usual under a pall of fear? What are you mad or happy or sad about? What advice do you have for me in these trying times?
PS: I usually tune out my husband’s conference calls, but these days, they all end with the words, ‘Stay Safe’. The new greeting, the anthem of the Covid times.
So stay safe, stay safe, stay safe, everyone. And if at all possible, stay home.
My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is making its way into the world. Author proceeds go to Project WHY and Stop Acid Attacks, nonprofits that will need support more than ever.
It is available in India here.
Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.
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