Quarantine, A Year Later

30th of March, 2020

The setup is such:

I am in the United States and the coronavirus has brought the cracks and folds of Capitalism out in the open for the world to see. New York City, the city I was living in till I got kicked out of my dorm two weeks ago, is the epicenter of the chaos in America with about 40,000 cases and about 914 deaths.

My family lives in India where the Prime Minister has ordered a complete lockdown without considering how this would affect the marginalized and the underprivileged. Indian migrant workers have started walking barefoot to their homes, which are hundreds of miles away, to spend lockdown inside a place of comfort and with family around. Northeastern Indians are facing a wave of racism as some of them are being mistreated and teased for “spreading the virus.” About 70 percent of the country doesn’t have the luxury to isolate or work from home which has resulted in widespread unemployment. Police brutality is at a rise as the police across the country have been ordered to treat any violators of the lockdown any way they want, and many people in rural India have a limited understanding of proper chemical-based handwashes or sanitizers as they aren’t literate and/or don’t have access to such items. Plus, in the first list of essential items that would be available during the lockdown, the government skipped sanitary napkins and other menstrual products altogether and had to be forced to revise the list by the public. A sorry state of affairs for them, but what about me?

I am spending this period in suburban Atlanta where everything is bright and sunny and even the slightest breeze is appreciated like it was a blessing. You can go out to walk, just have to put a breathable cloth mask on in a design you like, and you’re all set to step out! After all, here in America, “shelter in place” doesn’t mean “stay in place”! And yet Americans keep calling it “the lockdown.”

Do they know what a lockdown means? 

Do they understand its implications?

Do they know the world is watching while they have their social distancing picnics and birthday parties? 

The most rational of American liberals pretending to be the poster boys of American consumerism cannot hear how ridiculous they sound when they tell people at a fun birthday party to “wear a mask.”  “I got tested and it came back negative so I can do whatever I want” is the response when asked why the hell they are at this party in the first place.

Oh? You can? I guess, good for you.

Good for you, America.

12th of March, 2021

Present Day:

This setup led us to this version of the present and all I can say is that I’m not sure if this whole journey meant much to Americans. For them, this will always be a strange period they had to live through, a tale you share with the grandkids. And yet, I know that’s only true for the ones around me at school. American misery goes way deeper than these social distancing events. Statistics are mere reminders but the pain in the hearts of so many is the evidence. 

The focus at the beginning of the pandemic wasn’t those who would suffer but instead those who had to say something about those who were suffering. Capitalists like Bill Gates emerged out of the blue as heroes, one of the many people who had warned us that something like this was coming. 

And that has made all the difference.

For who?

For Americans. Some Americans.

Countries that have been tricked into participating in furthering the myth of development just sit tight and watch. What on earth did we sign up for? Magic, I guess. The kind that is real. The kind that is an illusion. 

Many Indians think to themselves, “If America couldn’t, how could we?”

Misery looks pleasant if it’s dressed up in better clothes. Isn’t that the only difference?