It’s been a year that China reported its first Covid case on Nov.17th 2019– since then the ongoing pandemic has killed more than 1.25 million people around the world and infected tens of millions more, putting the whole humanity into sedentary times.
By Rafya Malik
The year 2020, for most of the time, has sent our lives into sedentary modes, confining us to the four walls at our homes. Peripatetic persons basking in the glory of different environments watched helplessly as the whole world was brought to a standstill by a virus which is still undefeated in the absence of an effective vaccine. Having suffered like others, I am reflecting a bit on my life since March this year when WHO officially declared the outbreak of the virus as a pandemic.
Back in November 2019, the Chinese city of Wuhan was in the news for all the wrong reasons. A deadly virus had wreaked havoc across the city, sending life out of complete gear. While the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, cracked down hard on the city residents, hardly allowing anyone to move out, his party—CCP—cracked a hard whip on the inbound commercial flights, allowing mainly the outbound planes to take people out of Wuhan, and to their respective countries.
While in Kashmir, we watched things exploding fast as Kashmiris’ mainly the students, studying outside India, returned home in droves. The unprecedented rush at the International Airport in Srinagar was beamed live while the global media coverage on the virus— later christened as Covid-19 by WHO—began to gather momentum. The subsequent mayhem and horrific developments in Italy, Spain & some other global parts scared the 7.8+ billion world population to the marrow during a period when we Kashmiris’ mostly remain restricted to our homes due to the harsh winter.
Like elsewhere in India, life in Kashmir was undisturbed by the virus before WHO declared its outbreak as a pandemic , this March. This pushed countries to the walls of uncertainty, looking helpless before a tiny micro-organism. It’s in the same March that the Indian government declared a nationwide lockdown, which later became one of the strictest in the world. While we are all well aware about the tales of devastation, Covid-19 has wrought since then across the world, I would like to chip in with few lines, spotlighting my experience of sitting home for almost 9 months now.
Like many others, I’ve been now passing 2020 shuttling from books to TV while remaining glued and agog to Social Media, mostly Facebook and Twitter. The tales of agony across the world splashed on my cellphone screen has got the heck out of the life of 22-year-old like me. I watched in exasperation and frustration as roads, markets got deserted and the honking of the vehicles missed my ears. While air and noise pollution went off the scene but, unfortunately and like in the rest of the world, we lost innocent people who’re consumed by the deadly virus.
The spectre of this virus hasn’t still spared us as we’re yet to get an effective antidote but, as a huge sigh of relief, life has returned to normalcy with markets now reopened, vehicles plying on the roads and other economic activities gaining the momentum. Coming from the outskirts of Srinagar kept making me egging on for outdoor outings during the lockdown but in vain. Longing for hitting back the premises of LPU, my alma mater, accentuated my eagerness as day after day kept passing in my confinement at home. I cherish my freedom—but it was not snatched by anyone here but undone by the fury of a virus that the whole world believes was spread by China wilfully to destabilize the global order in her favour.
The gloomy unfolding everywhere during the peak of this pandemic in India and my hometown couldn’t overpower my mind and feelings completely as I kept getting distracted by the beautiful imagery of my university. This by no stretch means I’m a sadistic person or masochistic in nature but my immaturity into the understanding of this world completely bogged me down to deeply long for my study place. I was gung ho to study very hard this year before going for MBA, the next year. As my graduation stands completed now via the virtual classes and exams, the glory of being in a classroom with my classmates is surely the biggest miss of this fateful year.
Like many others, I’ve never spend so much time with my family. This extended home run helped me gain on the kith and kin front as I visited some of my relatives whom I admire and who adore me the most. These are some of the sweet spots of what otherwise has been a time of distress and sullen stages as physical and financial loss across the world including Kashmir has turned our countenance and expressions into sombreness.
With so much of melancholy written all over it, there’s no denying 2020 is the year we all would like to be over as soon as possible. Though the Covid-19 doesn’t end on December 31 this year but the scary scenario draping the entire course of 2020 has turned us into despondent of sorts. We hope 2021 gives us both—an effective vaccine and a peaceful global order in gradual steps as its complete form would take many years.
As a Kashmiri girl and a student, I’m one of those lucky souls who survived the curse of this virus physically, but the severe damage done to our brethren and sistern in Kashmir and across the world will would continue to haunt us for years. Millions of people have contracted this virus across the world. While hundreds of thousands have unfortunately died those who have won the battle against the virus offer us a hope of reshaping the pre-Covid era albeit it will take years to get it done.
On our part, we should chip in with our handy contribution in rebuilding the previous order on the financial and economic front. We should keep praying for return of complete normalcy and end to this uncertainty with the coming out of an effective vaccine. We should also pray for eternal bliss to the departed souls and strength to those who’re still grappling with the challenges brought on by this pandemic.
Rafya Malik is a BBA graduate and a strong advocate of renewable energy and committed to preserve the purity of the environment