A Diary in the Age of Coronavirus

    Paradoxically, the Coronavirus has given us the opportunity to look at our inner selves, and acquire the ability to live—and live meaningfully, even when offices are closed, the traffic has stopped. , and outer activities have disappeared.

    7 am: I make a cup of tea, and come to my balcony. Empty streets…no school bus. I miss the vibrancy of children. The emptiness around reminds me of the Coronavirus: the way it has shattered what the modern age is proud of: its speed, mobility and movement. I experience a deep sense of pain; the void haunts me.

    And then, I look at the sky. Yes, the sun is still radiating and illuminating. Does it convey a message to me?

    9 am: I have read a couple of newspapers. But then, I feel I need to see beyond the harsh realism of the Coronavirus entering every part of the world. This is not an escape. Instead, I begin to strive for a deeper layer of existence. Is it that love conquers the fear of death? I take my mobile. And I begin to connect. I hear their voices—relatives, friends, students. A positive life-energy enchants me.

    ‘Social distancing’, I begin to realize, is not the appropriate expression. Well, it is merely physical distance for collective safety. However, even amid this physical distance, our souls can transcend all boundaries. We can connect. We can heal one another.

    A friend of mine has to travel, and take his wife to the hospital for chemotherapy. I call him. We feel the rhythm of togetherness. Light amid darkness…

    11.30 am: I wear a mask, come out of my residence, and begin to walk. Well. I see some people around. A medicine shop, a Mother Diary counter, a grocery shop: these active sites make me feel that life has not yet stopped. Not many vehicles are there in the streets. I come near the ATM counter, and withdraw some cash.

    12.30 pm: My University is closed. I miss the classroom, the tutorial sessions with my students, and conversations with them. Then, what do I do? Am I incapable of experiencing this moment of ‘idleness’, and live with myself? I begin to reflect. Paradoxically, the Coronavirus has given us the opportunity to look at our inner selves, and acquire the ability to live—and live meaningfully, even when offices are closed, the traffic has stopped. , and outer activities have disappeared.

    I begin to read a book on philosophy. I am completely absorbed. From Fyodor Dostoyevsky to Karl Jaspers; or from the Upanishads to Albert Camus: the continual flow of meditative insights stabilizes me.

    6 pm: It is difficult to live with chronic fear. I know I need to be alert. However, I cannot allow the psychology of fear to invade my consciousness. I have already taken a cup of tea. I come to the streets. I see some women buying vegetables; I see a group of children riding bicycles. I enter a park. Not many people are there. I see a young boy conversing with his beloved; ‘social distancing’ seems to have appeared absurd to them. I begin to feel the openness of the park. I walk…It relaxes my body, it softens my consciousness, and I feel the lightness of being.

    8.30 pm: I open my laptop. And I happen to find a series of philosophically enriched articles relating to the existential challenges the Coronavirus has posed before humankind. From the Guardian to the New Yorker: the world comes closer to me. I find no meaning in watching toxic television news channels.

    11 pm: Post-dinner. This is the time to sleep. Possibly, tomorrow morning we will come to know something more frightening about the Coronavirus. Yet, I realize that it is only this moment that is real to me. I have not seen the ‘tomorrow’. I am only here and now. Can I experience this moment with love, grace and beauty? Can I see myself beyond sanitizers and masks?

    And there is a miracle. I find my inner music; it enchants me. I come to the balcony. I look at the sky. My finite/embodied existence finds its meaning in its merger with the infinite: the sky that has no limits.

    Now I am fearless.

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