Posted by Jacqueline Renu Victor, Asansol, West Bengal
As soon as the first lockdown was announced on 22nd March 2020, I took leave from my office for all of the 21 days. It was a huge risk for me to go to office which was under the ‘essential services’ that time along with healthcare, police, etc. And there was no way I could avoid contact with the general public who ‘might’ be infected with the virus. So, no office. Stay home, stay safe and keep your son who is on a wheelchair safe, is what my husband insisted and I readily agreed. My 20 year old son has spina bifida and has been staying home since the last 2 years. He has finished his class 12 and had been enrolled in a distance graduation programme but due to various reasons, that particular university didn’t work out for him and us. So this year we were going to try another university in April, but this COVID-19 thing happened. It made all our plans fall apart like a deck of cards, to the extent that my daughter’s board exams remained unfinished.
Nevertheless, moving ahead, we were 10 days into the lockdown and I was already pulling out my hair in distress. I had tried some yummy YouTube recipes. I had surfed internet and social networking sites to the point that I wanted to throw my phone away, and then there was nothing else to do. And as I blurted to myself one day, “How do you live like this?” Pat came a reply from the bed, “Welcome to my world!”. I was stunned for quite a few moments as I tried to sink in the gravity of this sentence from my son.
My son, Vineet has been treated very normally all through his school years – he went to a mainstream school. We have gone on many outstation trips. We’ve always taken him for shopping and he also enjoyed going for a stroll in the neighbourhood now and then, before this pandemic. We were even saving and planning for another trip abroad after my daughter’s board exams as he loves to travel just like me. But we homo sapiens are the best that God has ever created. In all lost hopes, we still keep hoping that tomorrow will be better, tomorrow will be new and afresh. So in this hope, April passed by.
I tried some more amazing dishes at home which were some of our favourite outside food and as much as I was amazed, the family was only happy that they were not missing out on the fast food outside. Hubby even quipped in – I could be getting used to this restaurant food at home! Haha!
When the second lockdown was announced, I had to go back to office, there was no overlooking the fact that these days were here to stay. It felt so good to be back in office and working. “How can I not even go for my evening strolls ?!!” Vineet’s words kept ringing in my ears… Of course the risk increased, but we found new ways to keep safe and sanitized once back from a public sector office.
Vineet is a musician and has been learning the Octapad since he was eleven. His tutor was unable to come. He wasn’t able to re-join the guitar classes he had started 2 years back. Everyday he would lie on the bed with his mobile after breakfast. He would get up at noon, shift to his wheelchair for lunch and be back with the mobile. One day his Dad gave him his guitar and both of them played for a while. The spark was coming back.
In absence of the local barber who used to come home for Vineet’s haircut, he was now looking like Robinson Crusoe (well almost) and he wouldn’t even shoot for our travel channel on YouTube. Yes, Vineet and me have started this travel channel on YouTube mostly about accessibility issues in our various trips all these years to help others in a situation similar to ours.
With no trips happening in the near future, this was a perfect time pass to pursue in these times. BUT, Mr Vineet’s hair was all grown and he wouldn’t even allow for a pic! Hmmm… thats but natural for a 20 year old I guess. And one day, after rustling contacts we finally got a barber to come home and was he good? He had everything sanitized – gloves and all, and he gave Vineet the most handsome haircut ever! He was very pleased with himself and hence began the interrupted shoot. Vineet enjoys shooting for his videos and we have a lot of fun and laughter while at it.
It was June by now and things were slowly coming back on track WITH the virus menace hanging on and creating more havoc than earlier. And with it, the still looming uncertainty of my daughter’s remaining board exams. New dates were announced and we went back to the schedule of January 2020. July came and finally a decision was made that there would be no more exams and we breathed easy. Results followed soon after and after the initial celebrations of home made treats (read cheese-burst pizzas :P), Vineet was relieved he could now finally play his Octatpad that he’d been missing out for the drawn out, abnormally lengthy study leave.
As of now, both brother–sister have zeroed in on a song from a Disney movie to practice and play. Vineet is adamant he will go back to his studio bhaiya to record inspite of everything and I’m working out the risk factors therein… but then, as a member of the homo sapiens species, I’m guessing we will go ahead and do it and maybe we’ll even pass this pandemic with our inborn trait of resilience…
“No matter how bleak or menacing a situation may appear, it does not entirely own us. It can’t take away our freedom to respond, our power to take action.”
― Ryder Carroll
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