Towards the end of February, we finalized the Candyland theme for our younger son Abir’s birthday, who was turning 4 on 18th March, due to his unconditional and interminable love for chocolates, candies, lollipops and everything that’s sweet!
Birthday gifts, return gifts, décor as per the theme, everything was procured, but it was only that we were not able to decide on the date for the party basically because my husband was in Dubai and COVID-19 was gradually spreading and hence wanted to postpone it to 14 days after his return on 17th March. I wasn’t agreeing for post celebration because I felt that would be too late and just like everyone else, I never imagined that COVID-19 would be declared a pandemic. I was convinced only when the first case of coronavirus was registered in our city.
Even when Holi celebrations were getting cancelled, I didn’t have the slightest thought that the situation would turn so grim. Even before the official home quarantine orders came, my husband had already decided to go into self-isolation after his return and we all, including kids, followed suit. Convincing my elder son, Arjun, was a big challenge. With schools getting closed and exams being cancelled, his outdoor play was the only thing that kept him busy. The thought of staying inside the house for 14 days was a big challenge for him to accept. However, I made him understand that it was required for every person who comes from a foreign country. For my ease, I got him books and toys for his entertainment for two weeks.
Things had turned worse by the day my husband was returning from Dubai. Incoming flights from many foreign countries were getting cancelled. Owing to the increasing precautionary measures, my husband decided to stay in a separate room and we strictly started our safety regime. Kids were not allowed to enter his room, although they badly wanted to give him a big hug. It was Abir’s birthday and we planned a small surprise for him by decorating a corner and placing all his gifts there. He was excited, but he wasn’t ready to believe that it was his birthday because for him, birthday meant a party with his friends around him. However, we managed to persuade him that we will have a big party afterwards.
“It’s so good to be home” quote came true for us when the next day, all the foreign flights were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Being thankful to God was the only thing that I was doing every now and then.
After a couple of days came in the ‘Janta Curfew’ and then finally the Lockdown. Shoddier times had started, I felt. In the middle of the night, I used to get up to check the number of COVID-19 cases.
“It should not touch 100”, I thought.
“It should be within 500”, I prayed.
“It shouldn’t cross 1000”, I dreaded.
I started having dreadful dreams and panic attacks.
“Stop watching and reading news and ignore messages on social media”, my husband suggested.
With the responsibility of the whole house work and KIDS, I was trying to manage everything alone, but all this stress made me weak. I immediately stopped visiting news sites, ignored forwarded messages and switched to praying and meditation, which really worked for me.
As I wrote this article, I asked Arjun also to write about his feelings, who’s very upset as our summer vacation trip to grandparents got cancelled.
Our mandatory self-isolation is over now, but we have to continue our quarantine as per the government guidelines. Things are better as my kids can now play with their dad and I have got a helping hand too! We are enjoying our family time by playing Scrabble, Carom, indoor Cricket and watching comedy shows and movies.
We all are going through a terrible phase. Neither we, nor our older generations have ever witnessed such a lockdown due to a pandemic or any other reason. But then, this too shall pass. Keep the faith!