When spring rolled in around mid-March, 2020, with riots of colour from Daffodils and Crocus filling the British gardens, parks and roadsides, there were no admirers with a spring in their steps. Instead, we were soon to be locked up in our house with the dread of disease and death hanging over our heads.
My picturesque little town usually brimming with tourists has turned into a ghost town with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) theatre and markets closed. The 456th Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations, an event participated by countries across the world, were cancelled. The pandemic has put the livelihood of many on pause mode and slowed down for others. The government is helping business tide over but uncertainty looms large and has affected some already.
Life is now about working from home, for the lucky few. We meet virtually for business or pleasure. Most of us have turned into schoolteachers and appreciate them more. The healthcare personnel are our heroes and we clap for them every Thursday night.
The days of popping into the local coffee shop to pick up a latte have vanished. Instead, we shop once weekly, after standing in a queue 2 metre apart for half an hour and make do with it.
For those in houses with a garden, however small, it’s a luxury but apartment dwellers face a challenge. Exercise outside is limited due to increased risks. Fitness coach Joe Wicks keeps our kids healthy with live streamed online classes.
Humans are social beings and do not do well, mentally or physically, when confined. Even the fear of death will not keep us in for long.
As I hear a friend, living alone in the city, cry for an actual physical hug over the phone, all I can do is tell her to hang on till we can meet and selfishly walk up to my son, playing online with his friends and hug him instead.
Easter came and went but brought no joy. Now we look forward to the approaching summer with hope in our heart. We pray for a cure, a stop to the deaths and for life to go back to at least a semblance of normalcy.