The views expressed in this article are the author’s and are not necessarily the views of the partners.
Against the backdrop of experiencing lockdown 4.0, and 170 people testing positive in Assam so far, the pandemic has changed the lives of many people. In the first two weeks of the lockdown from 24th March 2020, my days were disorganised until I finally structured a routine.
Every day I wake up, I consider myself the luckiest person on the earth, but at the same time, lots of people around the world are dying. Since coronavirus has thrown all of us together, I had the opportunity to have all three meals with my parents. I have been helping my mom even more in her day-to-day chores.
The otherwise messy room of mine is now organised into a colourful one, with the help of DIY tips and tricks I learnt from YouTube. I had also decluttered my wardrobe and got rid of my sad pieces.
My niece and I spend time together watching web series or horror movies. The best one of course been ‘Money Heist’. I am listening to new audio and video releases from both the Assamese and Hindi languages. I have also made fans on Instagram.
I offer some of my days to jigsaw puzzles and board games with my elders. I feel like the neighbours around me are so silent, as if they think the virus to be a monster, who will swallow them up if they make noise.
I have also started listening to the birds. I found that the cuckoo’s cry was never so dull before. I felt like it wondered why the people weren’t enjoying the ‘Bihu’ festival like they had enjoyed it before. Though these may seem like small things, I often craved to do the same on my busy days.
I always make sure that I obtain information about COVID on a daily basis, only from authentic and reliable sources. I always try to stay connected with my friends through phone calls or video chats and we provide support to each other.
As for reading books, I went for the one that had pulled me in and held my attention. I finished reading ‘Middlemarch’ by George Eliot. It is a novel all about compromise and people trying to do the right thing in impossible circumstances.
Quarantine helped me realise my capabilities: I never knew I could accommodate as many errands as possible. I simply stimulated my thinking style. I am utilising this lockdown period to enhance my writing practices and partly on cooking too. I am also helping my niece in her online classes.
COVID -19 is teaching us how to learn and work remotely. I always wanted to be a Field linguist and I am also thinking of pursuing my PhD research from this year onwards. It is true that the pandemic is affecting the way we go about conducting research.
With the rapid changes around me, I was constantly on the laptop, checking for any official announcement regarding PhD Entrance Exams. Meanwhile, I am also writing some research papers to publish in international journals. But I have to suspend data collection taking into account social-distancing measures.
Therefore, I tried collecting data online, from some of my students, and their guardians through phone calls, texting and video conferencing. I also gathered textual data that already exists. I tried to focus mainly on desk-based aspects of the research (e.g. literature reviews, writing up a section of the paper).
As all the colleges are closed and all lectures are cancelled, I have been working from home. I created a WhatsApp group and I am sharing texts, videos and didactic material with my undergraduate students about English and Grammar.
COVID-19 has taught us an important lesson; that there will be situations in life we all will need to face alone and these situations will make us stronger to overcome new challenges.
This is an opportunity to evolve, learn, upgrade and connect that we may never find again in our lifespan. So, we should utilize this opportunity and learn new things which we dreamt of during those busy days.
We should learn to satisfy our deep curiosity, learn to introspect and be resilient to change. Maintaining our mental and physical health is a top priority. We simply need to adapt to the new situation.