On the 21st of March, 2020, I turned 27. I had planned to spend my birthday in New York. Go to Central Park in the morning, later, catch a broadway show, go to the Rockefeller Center and, roam around Times Square at night – yes! I had planned my perfect 27th birthday in the city of New York until I received an email from the consulate stating all visas have been canceled. So, I spent the day in my 350 sq ft Mumbai apartment crying in an IGTV video.
Today, I mark the 50th day of self-isolation. I have stepped out twice during this period to shop for essentials. I have no sleep schedule. I don’t cook; I order online and some nights I eat cereal for dinner, I read a lot from fiction to conspiracy theories, I write and the only time I feel alive is when I do Zumba; it’s very new for me but, it’s just dancing and I love to dance.
In a hypothetical lockdown situation in my head, did I imagine it to be like this? Well, to be honest, I never imagined a lockdown situation in my head. But, it’d be nice to wake up to someone, make breakfast together, try out that banana bread recipe everyone’s crazy about or the dalgona coffee even though I do not like coffee. It’d have been nice to run around with a puppy, have some company during dinner, it’d be nice to not have the bed all to myself. It would have been nice if I had my family by my side — All the things that didn’t happen during this lockdown.
However, I’m not new to this. Spending all my time at home isn’t alien to me because I have lived this life for 12 years. I was homeschooled by my father for the initial 12 years of my life. I wasn’t allowed to go out, I had no friends, I practically grew up in a room filled with books & a television. I was a sickly child and my parents did everything they could to protect me. My mornings were Math & Science, afternoons were Geography (my favorite part) and, evenings were Languages & History.
I enjoyed the geography lessons thoroughly. I would learn about the capitals and flags of different countries; I used to dream of getting out of my house and go to these places. I would watch a lot of national geographic shows and paint my travel stories.
There’s another thing I used to crave for — family! My parents are separated and when I started going to school, I realized every classmate had both their parents except me. I just wanted to know what it feels like to have a family.
I’m 27 now. In a lockdown just like many of you out there. I’m alone just like many of you out there. No New York, no partner, no puppy! But, I’m here to tell you about the familiar tales of my life. It’s not easy staying without social contact but take it from this girl who had to spend 12 years in a room, it’s not that bad. It did teach me a lot. It taught me resistance, it taught me numerous ways to entertain myself, it taught me self-love, it taught me how to enjoy my own company. I would still like all those things even though I’m absolutely capable of living without them but, it’s the feeling of togetherness is what we all lack. We all want to be whole, we all want to be held; currently, we’re all discovering ourselves just like that little girl in her room surrounded by logic & fiction.