Sushmita Gupta, artist, who had been caught up in hectic schedules everyday, looks upon the period of the lockdown as one for looking within, for completing long pending tasks and introspecting on the prospect of a status quo wherein time is not a barrier. Here’s what she has to say:
There was a time when everyone around me had nearly everything that they wanted and wished for. They could get it whenever they wanted, whatever they wanted. But then with all of that goodness of having everything within reach, what everyone felt a dearth of, was just time. Suddenly time had vanished from all lives.
I was no different. There always was a gaping hole that demanded to be fulfilled by one activity after another that came with deadlines. I am a person for whom happiness is almost a habit and a spontaneous state of being, so I forgot to notice the weariness of a life like that.
Then came the woozy woolly looking virus that the artists gave a shape to in the print media. The tiny microbe demanded a pause, a lockdown of everything. All lives with their hectic sense of busyness got upended. Mine too.
In no time it hit me, that no matter how much time I spent doing whatever I wanted to, there no more was a backlog ever. My whole being began to feel like what might be described best as a fragrant breeze, all light and free and youthful in a special kind of way. There is a precious kind of joy in every little thing because time or date have no meaning anymore.
I was one who indulged in only preparing dishes that felt exotic and which required following an elaborate recipe. Now, I find joy in everyday cooking and being innovative with what’s available.
My bedside table has piles of books, they include fiction, non fiction and comics. I can turn pages till day break and not fret. On the days I am not reading, I am watching movies that I always wanted to but missed. Funnily, I have neither made paintings nor written poetry which was a regular aspect in my life pre-COVID-19.
I have cleaned out cupboards and kitchen cabinets, and felt a lightness of spirit. Everyone knows that decluttering is detoxing, therefore rejuvenating.
It is like the seams that held the past and the future have come unravelled, presenting us an opportunity to carefully choose, like Noah, what we wish to take on the other side.
On a level of humanity, we could easily leave behind the walls that separate us through region, religion, colour, caste or geographical boundaries. We could leave the rivers to swell and gurgle, we could leave the animals to frolic like they also belong, we could let the forests re-grow, we could choose to travel less and enjoy our own surroundings more, we could stop buying more and use what we already have till we run out of them, we could simply love more and hate less. But will we? That’s the question that keeps surfacing in my mind, every now and then, during this lockdown.