Twenty-one days.
Or three weeks.
Or five-hundred-and-four hours.
Or a fortnight and a half.

I’ve spent longer periods
sleepwalking though days
without worrying
what lies on the other side.

It must be easy.
Live from day to day,
day after day,
like putting one foot in front of the other
when you are walking
to a place
you don’t know.

I’m not familiar with this game.
I don’t remember when I played it last.

As a rule,
I like to know where I am heading.
I want to see where the compass points,
even if the needle wobbles for a while.

But now, I want to know more than just that.
I want to see if, in the future,
we are still locked down in our own prisons,
if we have wrapped our fists so tightly around the keys
that they merge into our skins,
and disappear
without leaving a scar.

I want to know
if this future morphs into one
where we don’t need to,
where we cannot
still venture out of our islands?
Does this future
have streets each with their own time zones
each so distinct I can’t recognise any of them?

In most other times
I would breeze through three weeks
and wonder where they flew.
How there was no weekend
to laze through,
no lazy afternoon
for a late lunch
and a later dinner.

But this is not like those other times.

This is one time
where I wish we could hibernate,
and wake up three months later.
This is one time
where I wish we could have a reset button for the Earth,
and roll it back to 2019.
Erase 2020 from history
like the records of a drug-tainted sportsman.
Tell the year to clean up its mess,
spend some time away,
and come back
fresh into the field.

If nothing else,
can we leap across this leap year?

On March 25, India went into a lockdown for 21 days to halt the spread of the Covid-19 virus. I’ve taken on the challenge of writing at least a poem every day of this lockdown. This is the first in the series.​


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