Curve ball Corona
For many issues, Adyar Times has carried stories of how the lockdown tore families apart, and impacted many businesses and stolen livelihoods. It has been a depressing sight all around. It didn’t take me long to realise that each family in my apartment of 6 houses had a story to tell to, on how they have been affected by the lockdown
House #1: An uncle of mine, at Trichy, suffered a stroke last week. Though their daughter and extended family / friends are there to help, a feeling of helplessness and guilt takes over when you know that you cannot be around your loved ones in tough times, especially those loved ones who had been with you in your tough times.
House #2: In the family of three, a family member suddenly fell ill and had to be rushed to the hospital early one morning. With a child to take care, the family was unsure if they could invite their parents, staying, thankfully, in Chennai itself, to stay with them as help. As the lockdown eased, they were fortunate to be able to take the help of parents.
House #3: The resident has been staying alone for many months now. His wife had been to her hometown in Andhra Pradesh for the delivery of her child. She was supposed to join him back soon after Ugadhi. Ugadhi was over, Tamil New Year was over, May day over and we have reached summer solstice, but she is unable to come back. With no possibility of either his or their travel, the helpless father has no option but to connect with his family online.
House #4: Here reside an old couple who have learnt to lead a life without a maid. Who said that there wasn’t much to learn after retirement? Life threw them a curved ball too. The routine they followed over years, changed; TV was no longer just cable - it was now Amazon Prime and Netflix; a phone was no longer just for calls or arcade games, but also for engaging in online sloka classes conducted from the other side of the globe and for testing one’s cacophony in karaoke apps.
House #5: The elderly of the family breathed his last early April. A very respected person, it was unfortunate that many did not get to pay their last respects. This apart, the nurse who helped them is patiently waiting for transport to open so she can go back to her family near Chidambaram. Sadly, Chennai is still in the Red category and the light at the end of the tunnel is yet not visible.
House #6: As Coronavirus spread in Hong Kong and schools closed in January, the daughter-in-law of the residents came back home, with her two children. With life limping back in Hong Kong, schools reopening, and the family unable to travel back, the children are missing school and buddies. There is sadness in her eyes as she recalls her husband staying alone so long. They have for the first time since marriage celebrated each other’s birthday and wedding anniversary being separate, with her baking cakes on the occasions and eating it on his behalf too!
While this is the story of just 1 apartment, it's hard to imagine the stories in each house of a street, society, city, state and country. Irrespective, this lockdown has been the litmus test for relationships and we wish everyone succeeds.