Life around the globe has been affected severely by the coronavirus. The economic impact of the pandemic and the lockdown is widely talked-about, however, there hasn’t been much coverage on issues that people are going through on an individual level. Here’s our take on sharing with you some personal issues and experiences as told by people of different age groups and personalities.
When asked about what she wants to do the most when the lockdown is over, 4th grader Sabrishti excitedly says she wants to go swimming or to the movies, “I want to watch a movie and have cheese popcorn!”. A little different from her younger sibling’s wishes, Samriddhi, an 8th grader says that she can’t wait to do a lot of outdoor activities and meet her cousins and friends.
Pictured: QFX Cinemas before the lockdown.
Samriddhi shares, “We had just finished our exams back then, so we felt like it was a vacation but enclosed within the walls of our home unable to go anywhere else, it was getting harder to pass our time as days went by”. The siblings spend the entirety of their morning in online classes and tend to their assignments during the afternoon. Talking about difficulties, they share that adapting to online classes was very difficult for them along with having to be home 24/7. “We used to engage in a lot of fun activities like swimming, cycling, badminton, hiking before the pandemic but the most we did during the lockdown was just art.”
Sabrishti enthusiastically shows us a picture as she reminisces the last time she went swimming.
While the difficulties faced by children may seem far less worrying at a glance, issues like a sudden schedule and lifestyle change, adapting to new things, etc. obviously take a toll on them. Not just children but people of all ages have had to face the new realities of a complete change in their lifestyle, from unemployment, working from home to not being able to physically see other friends and families.
Dixshya, a 12th-grade student expresses her greatest concern as the uncertainty of examinations. For months now, the students have been waiting for updates on their exams that were to take place in April. Under normal circumstances, the results would’ve already been published by August. The uncertainty has put the students on a constant edge, unable to fully relax and a lingering pressure to study all the time.
It is often assumed that the downsides of the pandemic are higher for older age groups, but it needs to be understood that regardless of age, the pandemic is causing emotional turmoil for everyone, from children to aged people.
On more personal difficulties caused by the pandemic, Aayushma, a bubbly teenager tells us, “I left for Narayangarh to visit my aunt, and two days later I found myself in a nationwide lockdown. It was my first overnight trip without my parents, and I was already nervous before I left. Initially, I tried to make the most out of my time outside the hustle and bustle of Patan, my hometown. But soon enough, as weeks turned into months, it started to dawn on me that there was no certainty to this, and it was getting serious. Even though my cousins and relatives were trying their best to make me feel at home, I was longing to go back, after all the comfort of one’s own home is incomparable to anywhere else. There was no way for me to get back, so many of my attempts at returning were sabotaged by several instances like increasing cases, not having access to transport passes, or roads getting disrupted by floods. I’d lost all hope and finally one morning, after six long months away from home, I set on my journey to return”.
Aged people, especially those who require regular medical assistance have also faced a lot of distress due to the pandemic. Speaking on this, Akhil Karki recalls how hard it was for his family to send medicines to his 95-year-old grandmother who lives in Pokhara. Due to a strict prescription order, dosage, and the availability of medicines being limited to Kathmandu, they’ve been sending medicines to Pokhara every month for the past 10 years. “Firstly, we couldn’t find all the medicines and when we did, we had no way to send them. It took days of making calls and requests to concerned authority to finally send it. All of us were in worry and panic. My father would visit the bus stop at Kalanki every day in hopes of finding traffic police that would help us find a vehicle to deliver the medicines”, he told us.
Moving on to different personalities adopting different coping mechanisms during the pandemic, personality types and differences are majorly overlooked in Nepal. Yet, when we look at it from a personality-type perspective, introverts dealing with the pandemic with ease and extroverts having an extremely hard time are very common opinions. Saharsh, a self-proclaimed extrovert comments, “As soon as Holi events started getting cancelled, I was dreading the worst: a lockdown in Nepal. Back then my mind wasn’t even able to comprehend how I would react to a nationwide lockdown. I enjoy and need to be in company of others, talking and interacting and the lockdown only made me remember how much I really like being out and about. Before, I was always planning where to go after work and whom to meet next and the whole duration of the lockdown I consoled myself by scrolling and posting throwbacks on social media. Never had I felt so lonely before the lockdown”
Following the complete lift of the lockdown, Saharsh gives us an update of himself finally out!
On the other hand, Pratistha shares, “As an introvert, I mostly enjoy being on my own, but that doesn’t mean I don’t socialize at all, I just like being in the company of people that I’m comfortable with. But I must admit, it didn’t really affect me emotionally in the beginning. My family and I spent much more time together than ever and the continuous presence was getting overwhelming, the personal space that I used to have when family members were out became elusive.”
All in all, it is to say that the coronavirus has heightened difficulties, loneliness and stress across different spectrums, whether it be age or personality. In these trying times, it is very necessary for us to check up on our friends and family.
Shrawana Shakya, Kathmandu, Oct 1, 2020