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Lessons from lockdown

Perspective shift during the lockdown that has helped me see the world afresh

Just a month ago, I was a different person—someone who would never pause on her feet. All I ever thought was of making it big in life. In this wild-goose chase to find success, somewhere down the road I forgot what life is really about.

Recently during the global lockdown, life came to a standstill. I found that I had nowhere to go but stay indoors. For an individual whose days begin and end with socialising and meeting people, here I was – alone with my thoughts. On one such mundane afternoon, as I stood looking out the wide window of my room, I thought about my life. Life was zipping by fast. But was it necessary at all? I wasn’t paying attention to so many valuable experiences that make life whole. For instance, I never realised that a stray dog lives just outside my building gate; how much we should appreciate doctors, nurses, and first responders; how difficult life must be for daily wagers in times of crisis; or the ineffable joy a simple walk in the park can bring you.

Today, while the lockdown still continues, I can say one thing for sure – one virus has changed my outlook on life. The perspective shift I have had during this confusing time is more powerful than any ideas or opinions I have ever had. It is unprecedented, just like the times we are in right now. These shifts have made me see the world afresh.

Seeing life from the eyes of animals

I have always fancied the idea of having pets, but my hectic work life didn’t allow me to do so. Occasionally, I would visit my friends and colleagues who have pets. I would play with them to my heart’s content. But after that, I’d be back in the same old, busy life. I never gave any thought to what they go through when they are left alone in an empty house when the pet parents are at work. Or, what happens when their human caregivers stay out until late, forgetting about their food or walks?

This lockdown arrived as an eye-opener for me, when I saw life from the scary eyes of pets. When I felt anxious or depressed due to little or no social interaction, I could just pick up my phone and call a friend. Animals can’t. For these voiceless creatures, this anxious feeling of isolation is a part of their daily lives.

This awareness made me think further. A couple of weeks in lockdown has gotten us complaining to no end. What about the animals in zoos who are bred in captivity for our amusement? When will the lockdown end for animals who have never known a life outside their cages?

Learning recipes from my mother on video calls to long-overdue discussions with my father, I have turned over a new leaf.


Gratitude for the working class

I never gave the lady who collects my garbage more thought than oh, that’s her job. I never asked her name or said a thank you in return.

Now, during the coronavirus outbreak, we are working form the comforts of our homes, while they are still out on the streets collecting garbage bags, keeping our localities clean. They are the daily wagers who cannot work from home. They have to get their hands dirty for our sake. Saying thank you to them is the least we can do for their service.

Understanding me-time

Every time, I wanted to blow off some steam, I used to call my friends to grab a cup of coffee or just catch up on Netflix. This was my idea of me-time.

I was wrong. Me-time is not about killing time or binge-watching. It’s about staying alone with yourself; it’s about doing something productive or positive for your life; it’s about learning something new about yourself or about life.

During the lockdown, I learnt how to cook, meditated for the first time in life, and started practising yoga. I also finished the book I picked up months ago, but could never get to it.

A small step goes a long way in protecting nature

I always thought conversations about global warming or pollution are futile. I used to believe, it will take decades for us to create stringent policies against pollution or raise global awareness to save our mother earth.

It happened in a matter of weeks. During this lockdown, lakes, and rivers have become cleaner than ever. Seashores are free of plastic and cigarette butts, the quality of air has never been better. All this in just a few days of self-discipline and self-control.

All we have is our family and loved ones

Many lives have been lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak. More lives continue to be at risk. The numbers of infections and deaths are on the rise. This period has made me empathise on a far deeper level than I ever did. I wondered what if it were someone from my family, struggling for the last gasp of air.

When life was normal, I used to perpetually put off calling my parents. I was always ‘busy’ or ‘at work’. Invariably, my responses ranged between: ‘can’t talk’, ‘call you later’ and ‘I’m busy’. This is my realisation: life is delicate; any word can be your last.

With the lockdown, I got the chance to return those unanswered calls and reconnect with my family.

Learning recipes from my mother on video calls to long-overdue discussions with my father, I have turned over a new leaf.

Humanity above all

At first, the coronavirus pandemic looked scary. But when I saw people from around the world helping and cheering each other, I knew it will be alright. Only humanity can find beauty in chaos. This lockdown showed me how humanity alone was all one needed in tough times. People keeping their differences aside and focussing on what truly matters is the positivity I needed to see in the world.

The world has finally come together. That we are in this together is my perspective shift.

Edited by Arun Kant

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