The phone rang and it was yet another piece of news that led to a silent dinner that night. The pandemic had bared its fangs in full view for the past couple of months as India grappled with a lack of infrastructure and medical resources. It was impossible to chat with friends without talking about the pandemic.
It was during our final week of the spring semester that we saw a spike in COVID-19 cases, with some hitting close to home.
Every time I sat down to write an essay in my room, I could hear telephonic conversations about hospitalizations, medicines, and in the worst cases, the loss of a dear one. I pushed myself to block out the noises, but how do you block out stories? How do you block out stories of people who are alive and especially those who are not?
I remember, at night, I would push myself to reach my target of essays and exams, and in the day I would sit down with my parents and ask for news. We would call hospital numbers, COVID-care numbers, some other toll-free numbers, random numbers — whatever we could get our hands on — to help people we may or may not know. Like thousands of others, we too were desperately trying to contribute to the solution.
I cannot and will not speak for others, but when it comes to me, I know I am very grateful for a roof over my head, food to eat, a college exam I could complete, and a supportive set of friends and family by my side.
This semester was a challenging one with the situation in the country and time differences, but that is not a complaint from me. I will take it as a learning experience. It takes courage to find the silver lining in your dark clouds and I was inspired by some very brave people this semester, both at home and abroad.