The views expressed in this article are the author’s and are not necessarily the views of the partners.
Coming from a not-so-functional family, the roots of love and oneness were burnt long back. As a college student, with a huge social base and several extra-curricular, I used to leave home at 8 AM and return not before 8 at night. I was content. Exploring the city of Delhi, countless food walks, monument romance and dates at INA, I could shed my pretentious ‘everything is fine’ at home mask. The last day, March 15, as I changed from the pink line to the blue line of the Delhi Metro, little did I know what held in store for me was a story better than Ekta Kapoor’s blockbuster K-series.
Growing up in a toxic household has its perks. You identify the red flags in a relationship before you can even swipe right on them. An over-bearing mother and an aggressive father; a match made in heaven with years of patriarchy and ideals of a sabhya naari. I have avoided a close discussion with my family members since I traced the patterns of my behaviour back to them. However, as life would have it, what better than being stuck at home with your not-so-normal family for an unlimited time period?
I’d be lying if I say I never tried to mend the knots, try to re-tie the knots, as awful as my sewing is, but I could never make amends. The lockdown is that misery which exposes the deep bruises my family hides within the closed walls of the 3-BHK apartment. I feel jealous of my friends playing Ludo, cooking and planning safe-for-work movies for family nights. The existent distance has grown more profound due to the lockdown.
Psychologists have stated frustration and anger as two of the seven emotional stages during the lockdown. Divorces have increased in China amidst lockdown. Parents walking on in the midst of a video conference, catching you where they shouldn’t have in the middle of a video call—the boundaries of freedom which were earlier undefined have fallen back into place.
Families are complicated; while my relationship has sunk deep into the Pacific Ocean, some have rather utilised the lockdown to amend their stranded relationship. This tenure has re-defined and re-shaped how middle-class Indian families once used to function. For the better or for the worse, the distinction between independence and privacy has never been this clear and well-defined.
Dynamically opposing political views and opinions might have been insignificant back in the day, but today, how do you shut your ears as conversations on Islamophobia and mocking ‘librandus‘ form a dominant part of your day? With the anti-CAA protests under full swing back in December 2019, not a single day passed by without me losing my voice amidst the chants of Azaadi at Arts Faculty, North Campus. As the Tablighi Jamat incident gained momentum, it wasn’t unexpected to crib about the ‘Jamatis’ “destroying” India.
As dysfunctional and toxic my family is, some incidents are too personal to be shared, I shall re-read and re-open them at midnight. Not all families are cohesively existent in-love; some are just families, and no amount of extended lockdown and periods of isolation can mend them.