MBBS 2018, BPKIHS
Exactly 24 days ago (yes, it’s been 24 days), I bid my friends farewell and headed home jubilantly. Often having complained about the shortage of holidays in medical school, I was quite pleased with the break I had been ordained to. News about the novel corona virus had been going around for a few months and considering the high infective competence of the virus, a lockdown was long overdue.
My first week at home went by in a trance: the joy of being home, having home-cooked meals, binge watching series, lounging in the recliner reading novels and sleeping well into the day. I revelled in all the free time I had and promised to take out time to study, at least two hours each day. Needless to say, that never happened. In fact, a new monster had appeared under my bed- procrastination. I spent countless hours on my phone, scrolling aimlessly and laughing at the same memes everyday.
By the second week, the monotony of multiple purposeless evenings dawned on me. After many reruns of Ramayan on TV, it brought me some comfort to know that even Gods like Lord Sita had been quarantined. Somehow, I never seemed to get enough of social media. I saw my friends pursuing new hobbies, rediscovering old ones and getting better. All I did was go through their stories and ask myself if I indeed had no talent or was just supremely lazy. To make myself feel better, I chose to dwell on the latter. I started questioning my purpose and my actions. Sometimes, I found myself walking on treacherous paths, threatening my mental health.
There’s something about being cooped up inside for several lone days that makes a millennial like myself want to take up a new hobby and explore it, hopefully excel in it. Thinking of a new hobby took a lifetime, putting it into action took another (a little exaggerated, I know). First, I tried cooking. It turned out to be pretty fun. Of course, the rewards were pretty satisfying too. Pretty soon, the millennial over thinker in me realised that all this eating and no exercise were drowning my dreams of having the perfect “summer body”. This gave birth to another hobby- working out. However, it did not turn out to be as fun, nor were the results instant. I woke up with aching and suddenly- overworked muscles, something I remember studying as “Fresher’s Syndrome” in first year. I persisted, dreaming of getting washboard abs someday, preferably “more prominent recutus abdominis muscles”. I held on tight to my motivation this time.
The third week of quarantine brought on many sessions of self reflection. It made me realise the many little things I had taken for granted, like a walk around the campus, going out for ice cream, random strolls to Litchi Garden to watch the night sky, going for classes and complaining about them, having the company of my friends and ironically, the solitude of the library as well. I discerned how even during a pandemic, society has built us in such a way that we feel the need be productive regardless of the environment. Our primary focus should be to cope with everything that’s happening, nursing our bodies and minds. I don’t know what tomorrow will be like, but surely, it will not be fundamentally different from today. I’m looking forward to the day this nightmare will be over and we’ll be like free birds in the sky.