Social distancing and mask-life has emerged as our new normal, we’ve reached a point where we no longer make a fuss about it. My prime experience with the mask was horrific as I had difficulty to inhale fresh breath. ‘This would not last long’, I said to myself. It’s been almost a year and am still wearing a mask. Phew!…
In truth the pandemic has altered nearly every facet of our lives. The many changes we’ve undergone have caused us to reflect on life and to desire experiences we never thought were important before covid. Who would have thought that one day we’d find ourselves locked inside our homes, restricted to do anything we wanted?
As we look back on our experiences with the pandemic, my beloved Indian friend Moksha from Happy Panda and I decided to pen down our lives before and after corona – perspective of India & South Africa – what changed, what went worse and of course what got better.
Come dine with us as we discuss the side effects of the pandemic
OUR LIVES PRE-COVID ERA
‘Life is good’ is a thing of the past, we are now familiar with ‘Life was good’.
Life was good before covid as my daily routine included waking up in the earliest hours of the morning for my devotion and meditation, 30 minutes of jogging, getting ready for work and back. Although most of my friends called me boring, in between work I’ll go out with them for a light meal just for high jinks. I spent most of my colorless life indoors on weekends either reading or writing. At times I would attend women’s gatherings and sundays were absolutely meant for church vibes. Everything else came crumbling down when corona virus hit. I was never ready for it.
• Mental health : I was an emotional wreck. My mental health was unstable as I was mostly anxious about finding a stable job to take care of my mom and siblings.
MOKSHA : I was honestly living my BEST life pre-COVID, it definitely feels like that in retrospect. My usually day consisted of me waking up at sunrise, getting in a short work out, cooking lunch and heading to my dull work. Post work I’d either head home to cook dinner and binge watch Netflix or head to friend’s to chill. I’d usually head out for one trip every month – solo or with friends or family. The month I didn’t have travel plans – I’d fly home to spend time with family. I’d go out on dates on weekends or explore my city by myself (something I really loved) or partying with my friends on Saturday night and spending Sunday recovering (old age isn’t kind).
Mental health : I have been suffering from anxiety since 2019 – mainly because of my job, I wasn’t happy in my job despite the amazing perks of the job and was in sort of a rut trying to figure out what I wanted to do next.
MARCH 2020 AND THE FIRST LOCKDOWN
IN SOUTH AFRICA
Corona virus felt like an abroad disease and I never thought we will also be affected and the spread was as fast as a deer. Suddenly we bury our loved ones everyday. And when the president declared the first lockdown, our country stood still. First of all our economy cannot afford any economical strain. It was a strain to medical facilities as well due to shortage of medical resources and essential workers. South African economy radically slowed down such that the government decided to give unemployed individuals a certain fee to sustain themselves especially those who lost their jobs due to covid.
For me being locked in was not really terrifying because am naturally an indoor person. I took the time to soul-search and reflect on how far I’ve come as an individual. I spent quality time with my family munching on biscuits and watching the third movie we never got to see in theaters. I even learnt to appreciate the little things in life which was something I took lightly. Though am an introvert, I truly missed the outdoor activities and meeting new people.
Mental health : During this period I made sure I worked on my emotional stability. I worried less about a lot of things and enjoyed moments which I knew I’d have missed had the lockdown never occured. I intentionally engaged myself on activities which I knew will boost my mental stability.
MOKSHA : It was a nightmare. Overnight a lockdown was announced, people went on a hoarding frenzy and my flatmate and I were locked up together in a city far away from our families. The first few days were scary – since we didn’t own a car or have a fruits and vegetables vendor near our apartment – we were at the mercy of the meagre rations we had ordered pre-lockdown. It was IMPOSSIBLE to get any stores to deliver food to us and with minimal information around we were scared to order in. It was quite amusing seeing people do the ‘Dalgona coffee challenge’ as we struggled to cook with the three tomatoes left in our refrigerator. But things improved with time, our grocery delivery apps were functional in a few weeks. But the uncertainty loomed on us as we waited for the flights to re-start so we could move back home to be with loved ones during this challenging time. The medical system in India collapsed with the widespread of the disease. Millions of people were impacted mostly the poor and it was heart breaking to watch our economy crash. Our government’s lack of apathy was clear from the start and it became clearer as time progressed. It was a very difficult few months for all Indians.
Mental health : My mental health took a crash. I wasn’t able to sleep and it just took a toll on me.
The year started as solid as a rock. Although there was still those who did not obey regulations at times, cases were slightly dropping. There was a time alcohol was banned and the country was peaceful because most of my fellow South Africans normally misbehave with consumption of alcohol hence it contributed to the rise in the cases. Banning alcohol helped to subsidize the spread of the virus in the most possible way. We still in shortage of medical facilities, at times vaccine would run out and there are still a handful of people in need of the vaccine. The pandemic itself had been exhausting and we are yet to see changes and to recover as the nation and the world at large.
Mental health : My anxiety level subsided and am no longer paranoid when am amidst people especially if I use a taxi for some of my travels. Guess it’s time to get myself a ride! ( Giggles )
Moksha : It seemed like things were getting better for a while but a few weeks back we entered our 3rd/4th/umpteenth wave of the pandemic. This time we’ve been hit so bad – it is scary and almost depressing. Our medical systems have collapsed – there isn’t enough medication, hospital beds, oxygen. People have started hoarding medication which has led to an acute shortage country wide. People are selling medicines and vaccinations in the black market for 25X the cost. The situation is extremely grim. We are back in a lockdown but it doesn’t seem to be containing the situation as of now. Here’s hoping things look up soon.
Mental health : After improving a lot over the past 3-4months, I’m not doing too well to be honest. It seems like a bleak situation again and it has been heart breaking to see my country men suffer so much.
I miss wearing my red lipstick and smile to random people on the streets. Now nobody can tell who is smiling and who isn’t, you are not quiet sure if you are connecting with others or not.
Definitely let us know how the past year has been for you and how the present situation is in your country.
Am truly honoured to do my first collaboration with this amazing, phenomenal woman. Her humility and fierce sense of self coerced me to like her even more. Her blog is relatable, influential and you never get bored when you read her craft.
Check out her blog if you haven’t already. I promise you won’t regret.
From my heart to yours