I am finding it so hard to write as the world around me is burning. This is a compulsive act of self-preservation. I am writing to remain sane. I am writing to tell the world to run if you can. I am writing to tell anyone and everyone who listens to do better, please. Do not let it come to this.
Grief alters the way you view the world, or at least mine does. Grief is dynamic. It is fragile and sensitive, with the smallest of shifts adopting seismic proportions. Grief has its misgivings. It is not forgiving, or kind. Grief has blurry glasses, it does not see the complexities governing the other. Grief is stubborn and singular.
Grief is all-encompassing.
It shows up at 1 PM as I wake up and rub the crick in my neck. For a blissful 30 seconds I am at peace. I look at my phone and it is blowing up. I sigh and start my day scrambling.
It shows up at 3 PM in an assignment reminder, as I stare at my laptop in an almost stubborn disbelief. I refuse to pretend like the world around me is not burning.
It shows up at 6 PM in an acquaintance’s Instagram story. It is a selfie. Around 8 PM, we make small talk. She asks me how I am and I tell her volunteering is exhausting. ‘Ya its too depressing’, she tells me. My stomach feels like a snake pit. But I finish the conversation. I do not wish to engage in a debate about privilege. Later in the night, I mute her posts and stories. I do this with 20 other people.
It shows up at 9 PM where I break down as I do the dishes and my mother looks at me in confusion. She hugs me and I tell her I cannot see this anymore. She does not respond.
It shows up at 11 PM when I send a stranger on instagram some resources and she begs me for more, she tells me she cannot lose him. I tell her I am searching. I find nothing. She never posted an update or a new request, and I am too scared to ask her for one.
It shows up at 1 AM when I video call my best friend and being able to laugh in the comfort of my own home seems like the biggest privilege one can afford. I grieve for those who cannot.
It shows up at 4 AM as I lay in bed, tossing and turning as my mind relentlessly churns about the events of the day. I do not fall asleep for another two hours.
I move throughout my day in a haze of worry, grief, gratitude, and despair. I represent the hordes of volunteers connecting people to resources during India’s second Covid Wave.
I have nothing of profundity to say and no assurances to give you. What I do have, is a plea. A plea to contribute to the building of robust and empathetic institutions, a plea to love shamelessly and radically, and a plea to do your bit. Donate to India, Express your Solidarity, Work towards a more equitable future and love those around you as unabashedly as humanly possible.
Writing as the world around me spins and crashes is not an easy task, it is a compulsive, selfish act of self preservation. The act is an important one.