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Here is a story about the pandemic, but what about the end? Will there be an end, what if there isn’t?
I discovered long back that I am dichotomous. I oscillate between fear of actual death and fantasy of eternal life. I think that we invented Gods to protect ourselves from unknown terrors. That is why I write. I become the narrator, the plot, the characters, and their voices.
I create imaginary entities that protect us. They are larger than life personalities, the voices who speak what I want to hear. I want to create a new world. I juggle with my lesser self which pricks me, “Do you even have a vision? You are an ordinary girl. How will you clamber onto higher realms where your thoughts become instant realities?”
My niece is living with me. She is a pre-teen. I told her that I am writing a story of the pandemic. The obstacle that I am facing is that I do not see the end. “Will things go back to normal?” Simran asks, her eyes fixed on me. I hope every morning that something will happen, and I am afraid that it will not. How do I tell her the truth? I do not know myself. The world has become random. She came to stay with me at the beginning of April. The lockdown had just been announced.
We found our unique ways to keep anxiety at bay. Our make-believe stories and characters ruled. My house was a cavern with angels and Gods to safeguard us from the evil virus. Recently, I had adopted Bruty Boy, a huge grey Neapolitan Mastiff, when his owners wanted to give him away. They had had a new baby, could not manage, so he came to live with me. He became our protective deity.
The gentle giant, Simran and me, we were three musketeers in our bliss. Singing and cooking, feeding the two, I was writing the story of the deadly disease. My dream world was shaken by new facts emerging through news flashes on television.
How could I explain to Simran that she might not meet the world I had created inside our doors? Should I end my pandemic story with its annihilation? Should I give it a happy conclusion? Would my belief make it happen? I am a writer and I can choose the ending I want.
I smile and counter-question Simran, “Before the pandemic, was the world normal?” I ramble on to avoid the real issue, “Humankind had reached the limit of vanity. It had become a world of appearances. Even in our third world country, the fight for survival was imitating the apparent happiness of the “first world”.
The threat of nuclear bombs was replaced with the silent intimidation of viruses, biological and technical.” “Then what happened? Do you think the virus was created in a laboratory?” Simran’s imagination was running riot. I am the aunt; I must be practical. I kept a straight face and said philosophically, “The virus was created by the pride and vanity of human beings”.
It was a dark night, deserted streets, silence in the city, and here I was, converted into a writer by chance, circling around my universe. I wish I could summon Superman to swoosh out of comics and put an end to the disease. Simran winked at me, “Let us imagine big Bruty Boy is creating a new earth, for my future. He is fed up with selfishness. Humans use animals and discard them. They abuse nature too. Aunty, what do you want to see in the future, the world in which I will be an adult?”
I am looking for answers, I am scared. I am lost between the old world of known devils and the mysterious quotient of the new world. The vaccine against the virus will come, sooner or later. But what about my fears? The cure for fear must be found here. Fear runs from fantasy, the way that ghosts shrink from light. Someone must write stories which push away the panic. Stories of a new world with compassion in the centre.
Stories of creative value to push away the arrogance and folly of human beings. I need an end to the pandemic story, a finale that can be a new beginning, so that tomorrow, when Simran asks me, “Will everything be okay again?” I will not be afraid to say, “Yes, my dear, everything is going to be okay again.”
“Simran I know what I want to see in your future world”, I tell her. I want earth where kindness is the king. My fears are evidence of emotional intelligence, and I will deal with them without transmitting them to my niece. I want to give her hope. “Let us light up our cave with magical creatures. We will create a world of love and care. Even if some of us die, everything will be fine. Many people will live, the planet will outlast us, it will be a better world”. My vision was clear and I felt strong. I realized I had found the ending of my pandemic story.
Picture Credit – Pexels
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