The entire frenzy around self quarantining in the very initial days of the 21 day lockdown here in India (which has now been extended till the 3rd of May) was baffling to me in the beginning. Perhaps because it reminded me of my 12th board exam preps from 2013, it didn’t seem too difficult until I landed on the social media with an influx of some personal anecdotes, and some articles dotting the fear and anxiety induced in people due to the complete lockdown.
The first few days of the quarantine to me were all about understanding what’s going on, reading about and knowing the virus, and the more I’ve read the more I’m able to look at this time through the lens of a myriad of people around me, what does this quarantine really mean to the woman who I buy vegetables from, who with her naivety asked my sister, “There hasn’t been a cure to this virus no?”, what does it mean to perhaps a young teenager who hasn’t had an easy time coming out to his/her/their parents and now has to be in the same house 24*7 without any respite.
These are trying times, but this too shall pass. I’ve tried investing more time than usual in exercising, eating right, learning more skills, and of course working from home on weekdays. With any time left in hand, I continue to invest in my art and share it with the world. I believe that there’s a lot of power in believing that there are better days ahead of us, and investing as much as we can in reaching that little ray of hope is all that we have.
I did the same when realising I was gay meant the end of the world (to me when I was 16). COVID-19 has already taught us well who our real heroes fighting in the battlefield day in and day out are, and I hope we look at our lives with all the more gratitude and respect, and cherish the ones who matter the most. That’s all there is.
Anwesh Sahoo is former Mr. Gay World India 2016 and the youngest winner of the pageant in India. He's a Digital Experience Designer, an illustrator, a writer, a model, and a TEDx speaker. He blogs at The Effeminare, a parallel universe where he gets to illustrate the Utopian world he wants to be a part of. He looks at life as a thrilling mystery novel written by God and, since his novel has only started, he’d go with: ‘I am still evolving!'