When you live with a big family in a small apartment, the challenge is to find a room where you can isolate yourself safely. I was the first one to test positive, so I isolated myself in a small space. The next day, my sister-in-law and younger brother tested positive. So, we switched gears and came up with a plan of who gets which room and how we take care of each other. I know it is selfish, but knowing all of us were in it together helped me keep my sanity.
COVID was so larger-than-life in my mind that when I got it, I was perversely relieved. I had a fever and some brain fog initially and thought that was the sum of it. I learnt boxing for a while in the past. And know what it feels like to get pummelled. But when the COVID body aches began, it felt like someone was pulverising me with lead-filled gloves. The pain was crippling. Then came the loss of smell, the loss of taste and the headaches. I know my body put up a spectacular fight against the virus. But it also left me utterly drained and vulnerable. I suffer from deep anxiety and have been seeing a therapist to manage it for a while now. Some of that anxiety has begun to resurface. Life is again throwing king-sized lemons at me. But you know what they say about lemons, right?
Perhaps it is because I am young, because I expect a lot out of myself, and because I am a chronically anxious person who needs a day of toil to sleep well that I have fallen back on my coping tool kit. Like the office counsellor recommended, I am doing things even when I do not feel like making an effort. I listen to my Japanese rock playlist and re-watch my favourite Studio Ghibli films as I eat mum-cooked meals. I have gone big on dental hygiene and tongue cleaning to coax my taste buds out of their numbness. And I am looking after my naani’s (grandmother) plants for the first time in my life and I am learning to make homemade khaad (bio manure). Seeing the first rosebud bloom under my care has been such a sunshine moment that I am addicted to the gamlas (flower pots) now. And none of this I Instagrammed. I deactivated my otherwise very prolific habit of sharing everything I did. Unplugging is a relief.
Work is a great distracter. It is also my confidence builder. I would have been in Delhi at my new job now had I not tested positive. After dedicating days to the COVID onslaught, resuming WFH at Lucknow is water to the thirsty. Every time I finish even one small task, I know it is only a matter of time until I can go the whole nine yards again.