What used to be normal is now abnormal
March 16 was the last day I went to my university, and March 18 was the last time I stepped into Footsteps Bangladesh’s office where I work as a change-maker. After that, life has changed. Life at home has changed, life out of home has changed. For 70 straight days, I did not step out of my building.
Nothing comes in without being sanitized, no one goes out without a mask. It feels like we are living in a warzone and we are fighting against something we can’t see. It’s the reality though, we can’t see the virus. Everything you touch, everyone you meet can be a potential carrier of the virus. Every time you touch something, you have a thought inside your head -- what if it has corona on it? What will happen if it catches me? What if it catches my family?
Family. Yes, most people who do not come out or are always taking precautionary measures, they take it to save their family. I am quite sure someone who stays alone does not take as many safety measures as the ones who live with their family.
But also, someone who stays with family has a support system which is constant, whereas someone who lives alone has mental peace. Everyone has their own struggles.
We will not be free until the situation gets better. My brother had to go to the office as he works at a place which must stay open for the public. He used to work from home, but sometimes had to go to the office, risking our lives. My university stopped online classes at first, but I saw my friends who were studying at different universities and how they had to continue and finish their semester online. We had to work from home and also do household chores for which there would normally be a maid.
At first it seemed fun. But as days passed, this whole thing became frustrating. Not being able to do whatever you want. Who thought staying home would be this difficult? As my university has also started online activities, now I also study at home, do my work at home, and feel frustrated all day just because I cannot go out.
It’s not that I haven’t met my friends or gone out even a bit. I did, but it’s not the same as before. The “before” is what we are craving now the most. We took normality for granted. We took a handshake, a hug for granted. We took life for granted. Meeting friends and not being able to shake hands or hug them, not being able to meet relatives, and even attend janaza of the ones we lost.
Not being able to attend prayers like we used to before. All those normal things of that abnormal past is what we are craving for. But this is the new normal. And we have no option but to accept it.
Mental health is something this virus has affected the most. Staying home doesn’t mean chilling all the time, and this pandemic has been not easy for any of us, and the upcoming months won’t be easy. But it is what it is. Let’s pray and hope this pandemic ends.
Shah Md Akib Majumder is a freelance contributor and a student of law.