Life In The Time of Corona

Let’s talk about my life and experiences with the coronavirus pandemic today.

Let us begin at the very beginning: my birthday. I turned 21 on March 10, 2020, and my family was in the Corbett National Park, on vacation. There was not much talk of the virus there, except the sanitiser bottles provided at the reception and restaurant. It was business as usual. After all, there were 50 total cases in India, no deaths, some people had already recovered and they were only in cities, not a town like the one we were staying in. We came back to Delhi, where I go to University, and I realised that things were not okay when I saw the kind of panic and flurry of masks everywhere. New Delhi was debating locking down the city and closing all schools and colleges to stop the spread of the virus. In 2 days, my University was shut and I told my parents, who were going to Mumbai, our home, on the 16th, to take me along.

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Together, we came back on the 16th of March, armed with our masks, sanitisers, constant hand-washing and being very very careful. Less than a week after my birthday, things were so drastically different than what I could have ever imagined. I was home and have not left the house since. My University began online classes and I was, if possible, more exhausted by them than regular college. It was hard to learn through just the video because my teachers through no fault of theirs, were struggling with this new medium, the classes were published for longer hours, staring at a screen with earphones in for 8-9 hours a day was physically tiring and sitting with assignments after that made it worse. Though it was a rough time, I was busy. It made it easier to deal with things and major life changes like the whole country being on lockdown, the world suffering at the hands of the COVID-19 virus and being far from friends and loved ones.

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My semester officially ended on April 1st and finishing up all the assignments and stuff I was fully done with it by the 3rd. By this time, the country had 50 times the cases it did on my birthday, we were on a country-wide full lockdown, all flights had been completely stopped and, economy and humanity were both suffering. My college then decided to prepone our Summer Internships and think of the exams we would have ordinarily had when the situation “normalises”(So they hoped.So I hope, to this day.)It was made 4 weeks instead of 8 and was scheduled to begin from the 13th, giving me a 10-day ‘holiday’, in which I somehow had to conjure an internship in an environment where people were losing their jobs of many years. Eventually(and thankfully), I got into a company through my college and had an internship in the nick of time(Got my acceptance literally the day before we were supposed to start.)

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In my 10 day ‘break,’ I took the first day or two to chill, which was great but then I realised how the empty mind really is the devil’s workshop. I now had all the time in the world to stress and worry about the current situation, the fast-spreading disease, the people who were ill, the people who had died and the pandemic’s impact on the future, especially as someone who was supposed to find a job this year and graduate next year. All my internship plans had clearly fallen flat, and offers I was pursuing were withdrawn. It was a horrible time, mental health-wise. This is when I first began to be active with blogging again because it helped me cope and gave me something to do. I also made a bunch of mug cakes, made the viral whipped coffee(and realised I should not have coffee, ever) DIY decor things, did a good amount of housework and read some books. (You know, usual pandemic activities) I was always an introvert and would have gladly chosen to Netflix over going out to socialise pre- corona, but I was beginning to realise the value of social interaction, of my university, of being able to be surrounded by people your age.

After the break, I began my internship and my time was filled with meetings with your guide, meetings with my team, working on our project, reading and watching stuff to work on our project and other things that all come down to the project. I am about to finish with my internship and will then be occupied by writing reports on it, for my University. In these 4 weeks, however, I have watched quite a few shows with my family (like Downton Abbey and The Good Place, both of which I highly recommend), watched the news every night to hear about the current COVID cases count, began rereading the Harry Potter books(which I am documenting on my instagram so if you’re interested to join in!), had many baked goods(Thanks mom!) and wrote more blog posts than I have ever written in a month. Musings of A Whimsical Soul has never in the last 4 years(Except the very beginning where I was publishing posts ever two days like a maniac) had a twice a week posting schedule and blogging have become my escape, my recluse and my coping mechanism, yet again.

That brings us to now,2 months into lockdown, no end in sight, with 74K cases in the country, 4.28 M in the world(At the time of writing this post) and us as a world living through these extraordinary times and our new ‘normal’. Most of us have not lived through a pandemic before, the whole world has been brought to a standstill by one virus and we have all realised the value and delights of the good old ordinary life, the life I for one, so easily criticised before.

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I have to admit that I speak from a place of privilege. I am lucky enough to have a roof over my head, be able to eat and sleep and live with very little major change in my life, have an internet connection, not worry about losing my job, I am with my family, I am not at risk by the virus itself and so much more. I am highly and deeply privileged in these times and I would be remiss to not acknowledge it. My objective with this post was not to flaunt my luck but simply to tell my story, to share my highs and lows, to feel connected with all of you across the world, to pay my respects to the unfortunate loss we are facing, stand with all those who are fighting this terrible illness, to let you know that we are all in this together, even if our stories may be vastly different.

This is a much harder time for many of us, and the only thing I can say is, please help if you are privileged enough and able to, please understand what other people are going through, please be empathetic and please, be human. These are unprecedented times and it is in times like this that we realise just how fragile the world we have built is and how important it is to support each other. These are hard times, difficult times and we can only get through them together. Support local businesses and practice social distancing, if not for you and your family then do it for the essential workers risking their lives for all of us at the frontlines. Stay strong and be brave. Give yourself credit, and don’t feel the pressure to ‘hustle’ and be productive right now. That’s not to say do nothing, but we must change our definition of ‘productive’ to one that fits the new world we live in rather than the world we were in before.

Good luck, take care and stay safe!

THIS POST’S QUESTION: What is your COVID-19 story? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

An Open Letter To J.K. Rowling.

Lets talk about growing up with the Harry Potter series through an open letter to its author,J.K Rowling today.
Dear J.K. Rowling,

I write this letter pretty late,in the larger scheme of things. I’ve loved your brainchild for nearly a decade now and decided ,for obvious reasons that something this life defining for  me must be appreciated. Hence,I write an open letter,which is about the only way I could ever hope to reach you.

I encountered the first book in the series when my primary school librarian specially picked it out and offered it to me as she felt that it was something I would love.I was an innocent,book loving child who had no idea that she was being given something that was going to define so much of the person I would be and would matter to me so much.

I didn’t quite realise,but I’d just opened the door to becoming a more voracious reader,a more open-minded person,learning to love words and languages ,many interesting conversations and so many friendships.I learnt to value what I have, for some people do not have even that.I learnt to be loyal,steadfast and brave.To always have courage and do the right thing even if no one stands by you.To value family and love the people I have in my life,instead of thinking about those that I don’t. To be a better friend and to be who I am,instead of conforming to someone else’s definition of what is ‘cool’ and what is ‘weird’.It taught me,most importantly to believe that magic ,in some form or the other is lurking just around the corner and that all we have to do is,look.

I wanted to tell you how proud I am of how far you’ve come. We’ve all read the stories of when you were writing the book,going through life’s worst situations but I feel like you haven’t been appreciated enough for being the strong,brave,courageous woman you are.The way you didn’t lose hope even when you faced rejection,inspires me,the writer, to not lose hope and believe in myself.Even though I didn’t actually grow up with the books,I was much too young to read them while they actually came out,I want to tell you that I did end up growing up with them.So many of us did.

The book series was in bookstores from 1997 to 2007.The Harry Potter movies ran in theatres from 2001 to 2011. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child,the ‘eighth’ story was staged in London on 7th June 2016 and continues to be staged.The first movie in the new Harry Potter spin-off series,Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them hits theatres on the 18th of November 2016.A spin off series,a whole second world you created within the world that you already had, with new words,new people and a whole new century is happening and taking us all home again.Because that what you’ve given us,or me,at least in that apparently fictitious world of yours.I can always find the warmth and coziness of home waiting for me a book ,play or movie away.I still,re-read the book series and learn something new or get a better perspective on the things I’m dealing with in life.So,even though its nowhere near enough and would probably never suffice or do justice to what this world of yours has been and continues to be for me,thank you.

I’m thankful that all was well, even though it kept me yearning for more.Most of all,I’m thankful that Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number 4,Privet Drive, were proud that they were perfectly normal,thank you very much.

Yours,

A Potterhead.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Have you read/watched the Harry Potter Series? If yes,what have you personally,learnt from it? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

My First Love.

Lets talk about my first love today.

I wanted to start off with a little apology cum explanation. I’d been having some eye trouble leading to complete gadget abstinence due to which I couldn’t post on here. I also have a major study load given my position in the last year of school that will only increase as the year passes, so I cannot promise posts always but I will try my best to update regularly. I’m so sorry and I want to thank you all for being the best people ever. I love you all so much! Now, let’s get back to topic.

Are you expecting a love story? A chance meeting, a funny joke, a shared experience and a fairytale-esque metaphorical falling? Now, lets gets you back down from the clouds by telling you that this is not a love story. Well, it is, but not the kind you’re expecting.

When I was about 3,I got acquainted with someone I grew to love so so much. A book. I learned to read earlier than most people and was soon addicted to it. I’ve loved stories for as far as I can remember, my parents used to read to me almost every night during my childhood and those are some of my absolute favourite childhood memories. I learned reading and that calmed down the hyperactive child that I was, physically and mentally. It gave my overactive imagination something to do and made me sit down in one corner, silent as a mouse, which was unheard of before.

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An accurate representation of how I was, although I did not engage in book sitting and would stuck to just chairs instead.

 

With the amount of reading that I did ,I also became really fast at it. As an example, there is an incident from my childhood that made me realise that everyone else did not read like me and was quite an eye opener. When I was 7,my school librarian used to give us books of her own  choice to take home for the week. We had to start reading it in the library and while everyone was at it, I generally would read through the entire book during that half hour and would then come back to her asking for a new book. She thought I was being troublesome and would just turn up to her without reading. I, at that age, didn’t realise that she could see it that way and went to her every time, insistent as ever. Eventually she stopped issuing books to me altogether saying that I didn’t read and would just keep swapping books. Then, when I laid the situation out to my mother, she spoke to her and explained that simply put, I read too fast. I finished every book I said I did and if she wanted to check she could always quiz me on it. So, my librarian, who was unaware of this, started quizzing me and realised that I enjoyed reading quite a lot, which made her like me very much. She kept books aside especially for me in a little drawer in her desk and would give me books way advanced than what other children my age were reading. Eventually, she even started a literary club in the school and I am proud to be the first member of that club. We sat and discussed books and wrote stories.Those were fun days, I’ve got so many fond memories from those.

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Us at the literary  club, basically.

 

My first official favourite author was Roald Dahl, he was the first whose multiple books I’d loved and he had written my first ever favourite book, Matilda, which was about a girl like me who absolutely loved to read! I finished up Roald Dahl,Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew. Encyclopaedia Brown and all the classics by the time I was 8 or so, and then my librarian gave me the book she’d especially kept aside for me, the first book in the Harry Potter series ,Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and that began a love story of its own, that spanned many years. That though, is a tale for another time.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Did you have a favourite book in your childhood? If yes, then what was it? Comment below with what you think about it, I’d love to hear from you!

The Beginner’s Guide To Understanding Fangirls.(2)

LEARNING THEIR LANGUAGE
Let’s talk about the language the fanboys and fangirls speak today.
For the previous post in the series,click here.


It is believed that speech was created for man’s need to socialise.Fangirls,though they may seem like aliens are humans too and hence the first step in socialising with a fangirl/fanboy is learning to talk his/her language.This segment of this series is aimed at exactly that.Today we will be decoding and translating the quirks in the language of a fangirl or fanboy.
Here are some of the more common features of a fangirl’s language.
1. Speaking what may seem like gibberish.
Ever heard or received text looking like,asdfghjkl or qwertyggyuj or another random collection of letters?
This comes under very normal fangirl speak and simply means that the fangirl/fanboy is simply undergoing too many emotions and simply not in the position to think coherently and type actual words. Usually an appropriate response would be to aassdfsgsjdkdld back at them and be happy with them ,because after all what do you lose being happy?

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2.Using words which seem to imply something completely different or are unheard to you before.
Some of the countless such words are defined below.

  • Fandom : Shortened form of fanatic domain, fandom is used to refer to the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture. So, if you and me like Harry Potter books we’re both in the Harry Potter fandom.
  • Ship : Originated from the word relationship it can have both noun and verb uses.     N: Short for romantic relationship, popularized by members of a fandom.
    V: To endorse a romantic relationship. So, if I consider Hermoine Granger and Ronald Weasley to be perfect for each other I ship them and they are my ship.
  • OTP: Short for one true pairing, this is used to refer to the ultimate character combination you endorse, your THE ship. So, if I ship Hermoine Granger and Ronald Weasley and consider them to be my ultimate ship, they’re my OTP.
  • Canon: Another word for official. Basically, what is true in the book series ,movie etc. is said to be canon. So, if I’ve been shipping Hermoine Granger and Ronald Weasley since Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire itself and they finally end up together, their ship is canon.
  •  Feels: A wave of emotions that sometimes(read mostly) cannot be adequately explained. So, If I get teary and nostalgic and happy and a lot of other things reading Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, it is giving me the feels.
3.Speaking incomplete grammatically and often,factually incorrect phrases (usually accompanied with a shriek or two)
Some of these phrases are given below:
  • I’m dead/dying/dead/I died :The state of being attacked by so many feels and being  not able to say much (Around asdfghjkl phase) where you feel simply so (usually) elated or sad that you feel as though death has descended upon you.
  • Right in the feels: The moment when some particular thing gives you such a severe case of feels all of a sudden, it is said to have hit you right in the feels.
  • I can’t even: Used on blogging sites, mostly Tumblr, is an expression that denotes so many emotional responses that the fangirl/fanboy can’t even comprehend what has been said or seen.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of fangirl speak. Upcoming will be sections on fanfiction, erratic emotions and more, that will also be enhancing your pre-learnt fangirl language.
Stay tuned and embrace your inner fangirl(or fanboy)!