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Welcome to mh-musings, a unique blog for you to explore. From literary analysis to poetry to musings about humankind, I embrace the opportunity to share my passions and thoughts with my loyal readers. Enjoy, with love.

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Plans & Reality

[Disclaimer: I don't wish to belittle the importance of the current COVID-19 pandemic or the conscious choices being made in the trade-offs between lives and livelihood, but I do want to reflect on how it is impacting the microcosm of my immediate world.]

At the beginning of the school year last year, I was prepping for a new chapter in my life - having two school going children. As my older one started high school, the younger one was to start elementary school. I knew competing needs and schedules would demand tremendous flexibility, and I was mentally preparing to adapt to a life where any time for myself would feel like an expensive luxury. We barely survived the first semester and was finally settling into the second when COVID-19 obliterated whatever visions I might have had for the year. Unprecedented times coupled with unprecedented measures, that will forever reshape the course of our lives.

As we spend inordinate amounts of time at home, our lifestyle ground to a halt from one that had to move at speed, we are all developing coping mechanisms greatly dependent on the digital age. My teenager spends a bulk of her time texting with her friends or being on Instagram as she feels the brunt of the social isolation at an age where social hierarchies and peer interactions are paramount in establishing self-identity. My little one is spending a lot of time on various screens but he is also a little Buddha who will glibly answer his own questions of why we cannot meet a friend. "Oh, corona virus" is becoming a meme in our household. While schools struggle to transition and establish a steady rhythm in their learning environments, I worry about the learning gap I cannot possibly supplement on my own. This entire generation of students will feel the impact of this event for a long time to come, in so many different ways. Establishing self-discipline is a struggle, with bad habits developing from ready access to sub-standard content across the various social media channels. Being able to wean away from that when things are able to go back to 'normal' will be another journey in and of itself.

I recognize their struggles as I try to navigate it myself. Without my digital world, I would have spiritually withered. Even though I have had to learn the painful art of social isolation ever since I married my introverted, scientist husband, not being able to meet a friend over a cup of coffee, not being able to make decent eye-contact with another human being, not being able to get away from home for a change of scenery, are all adjustments that affect my soul. I was born to be a social being, who thrives on the assimilation of human emotions around her. In the absence of the physical, I have turned to the digital to keep me nourished until better times. I see myself as a weed, who will keep trying to find the light no matter the circumstances, as opposed to a beautiful flower that shrivels with minor changes in environment.

Over the years, I have had multiple premonitions of bad tidings that came true in forms that validated my feeling. For the past few months, as I had been looking around this world of plenty that still failed to satisfy human greed and quest for power, I kept wondering what would it take for human beings to understand that we must bow to a bigger power and that we are misled in our petty desires? I could never have imagined something like this pandemic, but as it began to unfold, I realized that it ought to be humbling how the hubris of humankind pales in the face of a microscopic germ.

While I mull over the uncertainties of times to come, it was so beautiful to stumble upon the words I wrote on the day I took my two kids to their respective schools on their first school day of the year. It was nice to relive the mixed feelings of pride, sadness, hope and wistfulness. I know much of the sentiment still holds. My greatest joy in life will be to know that I was there to give them what they needed. Be it in 'normal' times or these ones, where we are beginning to define a new normal.

At the end of the summer road

Lie a row of low buildings,

That overlook the rolling hills,

The gentle giants,

The backdrop

Of our humble abode.

At the end of our road

Is now a fork,

One that paves the path

To careers and adulthood,

And the other that paints

The bright mosaic of childhood.

One set of footsteps,

Steady, bold and sure,

And the other still floats

For it is so pure.

At the end of our days

We can only hope that

We held your hand

In ways that you needed,

Embraced you with love

Even when you resisted,

And looked at you with pride

Without any reason.

- (c) mh September 2019

1 comment

1 Comment

Another thoughtful piece of writing Maheen, and one we can all relate to. This is a good time for introspection and reevaluation of what's important, and what matters. It's three things of course: people, people and people. Keep writing.

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