Written by Rohina Mahadik, a grade 10 student.
April 11th, 2020 Even as I sit here writing this, I can hear the news playing on the TV blowing up with COVID-19 updates, with the rest of my family glued to the screen taking in the information with an air of urgency.
With over a 1000 cases and 40 deaths, India has seen the steepest rise in COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours. The lockdown has been extended till the end of the month. Everyone is in a frenzy, the world hasn’t seen such a wide-scale disaster since the second world war. And Amongst everything that is going on, here I am, a teenager, trying to write about it all. It all happened so quickly, my life feels like a complete whirlwind.
Nothing seems real, it’s like I’m stuck in a really weird sort of dream, not exactly a nightmare, but not something I desperately desire either. Here, I’m talking about not just the pandemic, but everything that’s been going on in the world and what I’ve felt personally going through it.
They say 2020 went off to a rough start, our great hopes for the new decade burnt out the second week in. I like to blame December 2019 as being a bad omen, the calm before the storm since that’s when everything changed for me. I had known since early 2019 that I’d be moving out of the country at a later stage in the year. Due to the nature of my dad’s job, I moved around the country almost every two years but this time, it was different. I thought I’d be prepared when the time came but boy was I in for a surprise. It was my last week of school in Delhi and I was going through a flood of emotions as I prepared to say goodbye to my friends. It was the 11th of December, 2 days before my last day of school that the citizenship amendment bill was officially passed in parliament and enacted. I remember the hue and cry that came surrounding it. That was a time of political instability which carried on into the new year. And so, I left the country the following week in a mix of emotions, disheartened by the political divide engulfing the country and unable to comprehend exactly what was going on.
The world around me was changing, and all I could do was sit and watch. As time went by and I slowly settled down into my new life, the news kept me connected to what was going on in the country. The stories of religious hatred, mass protests and the bravery of the women of Shaheen Bagh are what kept me awake at night. My heart went out to the people suffering in the Delhi riots. It was also around the same time that we had a possible world war 3 threat and Australian bushfires going on. Through it all, I just felt so helpless. What could I, a 14 year old, sitting in a different country possibly be able to do? Through it all, I had one motto: Change is the only constant. This too would eventually pass. And so I sat back and watched. As time went by, I got used to my new life and things finally seemed to be calming down. I was looking forward to the rest of the year and was enjoying school. When, for the second time in two months, everything changed.
The Coronavirus, which originated in China had quickly spread around the globe causing widespread panic everywhere. In the blink of an eye, the virus had turned into a global pandemic, the world suddenly brought to a screeching halt. Overnight, my life turned upside down again. At the start of march, my school announced closure and we immediately made plans to come back to India before all flights were canceled. Armed with masks and gloves, we made the journey back home and self-isolated ourselves for 14 days. It’s been almost a month now since I haven’t stepped out of the front door, and things don’t seem to be improving. I can’t stop thinking about everything that has happened over the past couple of months, how this is ‘the new normal’ and the world will never be the same again. Some part of me finds it exciting, after all this is history in the making, 2020 will be a year that won’t be forgotten easily.
I’m sure there are millions of people out there going through the same thing I am and struggling with change. I’ve learnt so much in the past couple of months, but I think the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is this: change is inevitable, how much ever we may despise it, it will come sooner or later and then there’s no looking back.
The world is in a tough spot right now, but we’ll come through eventually. I mean, think about it, so much has happened in the past, from gruesome wars to deadly plagues, the world has seen it all. I know what’s happening today is a completely new experience for all of us and it’s hard to be positive, but this isn’t the end and I believe that we’ll pull through it. Just as the Italians say, andrà tutto bene, in the end everything will be alright.
Written by Rohina Mahadik
Rohina is 14 years old. She recently moved to Dhaka, Bangladesh from New Delhi and I studies at the American international school. She’s currently in 9th grade and will be going to 10th grade later this year.