Corona, Creativity and the Choices we make: Black or Red…

The two canvases before my eyes, one plain black and another Red and white make the world that I live in these days of lockdown during Coronavirus threat. These canvases are like my life and the choices I make to live my life not only during these challenging times but throughout.

I vividly remember the feeling of distrust and hatred that I developed towards Chinese when we went through 1962 war with China though I was barely 6 years old at that time. We experienced blackouts during the 1965 war and the again during the 1971 war with Pakistan. But never before in 63 years of my life I ever remember having experienced such a life where it is war with a virus…a war against a deadly pathogen!

Sitting comfortably at my home, with reasonable provisions of essential items and a well-stocked provision store across the road, I am as restless and stressed as I have never ever been during the childhood war experiences. Those days when the danger siren would go on, the busiest and the nosiest streets of the lower bazaar Shimla, where I lived, would go silent, suddenly. Everything was put on hold. No movement.  With fast beating small heart I would wait for the, much awaited, at-ease siren to go. I would heave a sigh of relief for my prayers listened to! We were safe. Shimla was not bombed!  In between these two siren sounds would be the period when I silently prayed to gods for miracles, for the Paki choppers not to drop bomb on us or for the least damage, if a bomb was dropped nearby! But once the at-ease siren would go, life would return to normal, rather as normal as it could be under the circumstances. 

But now it seems as if the danger siren, once put on since the advent of Covid-19, is on and on! And no one knows for how long or what damage it would result into. This prolonged period of waiting, for the situation to ease or for the least damage, is playing heavily with my mental wellbeing! I am being bombarded with the news and updates about what is happening elsewhere and the feeling of fatalist approach is making me resign to my fate. It was definitely changing chemistry of my brain. I thought hard. I was not that way. I had to take charge of my life and my brain to start with.

Instead of being a doer and a get-goer, I have been sitting idly…doing NOTING, since the lockdown. That is not ME. What is happening to me? I wanted to read but could not. I wanted to write but would not. I wanted to exercise but would stare vacantly. My Prefrontal cortex which helped me, always,  in abstract thinking, reasoning and also regulating my emotions, decision making etc., seemed to have gone in off mode. I sat blankly. Not only the present stress is continuing day after the day, the extent of stress is also increasing everyday.  It is not a situation where the fight or flight mechanism of my brain would help me tackle the situation as I cannot run, more important is where to? And for facing the stress, I have to devise some ways and methods.

I looked at the Black canvas which was blank—like my mind these days. I had, as if, no thoughts. No decision making ability, no dreams or emotions. No life. Then I looked at the small Red and white canvas that heralded colorful life, we all are entitled to. The small red and white canvas peeping from behind was silently speaking to me. I took it in my hands and gave full vent to my emotions and drew figures celebrating life. And suddenly my mood lifted from melancholy to celebration of what being alive means to. And tomorrow I would start filling the blank black canvas with figures and events celebrating the essence of life, being human beings.

Red and White

Life needs to go on and every change in our routine of life needs to be taken as a challenge prompting us to make a choice. A choice which would determine how we come out of these challenging times—blank and black or red and white celebrating what makes us live, the undying spirit of hope!!

We shall overcome!

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