Postcards from Quarantine



Is this any way to live?

A bustling city abruptly silenced. Handshakes and hugs turned dangerous. Crowds at concerts and churches proven equally unsafe. Weddings, graduations, family reunions cancelled. And countless smiles made invisible behind a mask. 

These days, the front door rarely opens. Fresh air and sunlight visit through open windows.  We settle for a view of the outside world by keeping our curtains drawn open – to look out of. And peer into. 

I watch the rows of homes across the street go about their daily lives. And every now and then, we wave to each other from our homes, separated by a strip of tarred land and heavy air that carries something we know little about. 

From my window, I see a father coaxing his toddler to eat another spoon. He twirls it in the air dramatically before feeding it to her, making her grin as she takes another bite.
She wipes her plate clean – oblivious that the only aeroplanes that take-off these days are operated by her father.

I see puppies napping in the afternoon sun. Victorious, in their belief that their relentless morning protests against leaving for work have finally worked.

I see a young couple deep in conversation by their balcony. There is no breeze, just the heavy humidity simmering in the afternoon heat. But they don’t seem to mind. 

I see a grandfather putting laundry out to dry on a clothesline. His  wrinkled fingers laying out baby clothes, bras, socks and underwear to be held down by pastel crocodile clips. You can tell this is the first time he is doing this by how earnestly he does it. 

I see a young man eat alone by his balcony. The meal looks humble but warm. Like it came from a box that said “instant” on it. His dogs sit at his feet, looking up at his plate longingly. Making him think, maybe this meal isn’t so bad. 

I see a teenager teach herself to play the ukulele. She stumbles clumsily over the strings, her tongue peeking out her lips in concentration as she attempts the chords. Making me realise that sometimes, seeing someone sing, can be just as joyful as hearing it. 

From my window, I see old scrabble boards being unearthed. Empty-nesters enjoying a full house again. Old photo albums excavated. Carpets scrubbed clean. New recipes attempted. Afternoon naps flowing into the evening. 

Is this any way to live?

7 thoughts on “Postcards from Quarantine

  1. Krshna

    Your writings are always a pleasure to read! Out of many unread emails in the digital inbox, your’s the one that’s always marked as read and starred!!!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Spot on, Krishna. If anything the pandemic is universal, and your writing reveals our conditions in response. As to the question, “is this any way to live?” it is apparently. I would ask a different question – should it? Thanks for sharing.

  3. Pingback: Week In Review – 17 May 2020 | Running with Buddha

  4. Wonderful way of looking at things. Totally connected with the Ukulele part. I started really practicing the Ukulele during the quarantine 🙂

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