On the morning of day 21,
the man on television
arrives at ten,
and begins his speech.
Listening to it,
I feel like I’m uncoiling a ball of wool in slow motion
until I get to the core.
The man on television
makes me wait for long enough
that I have to heat my tea again.
I doff my hat to the writers.
Someday they will stretch a tweet into a novel.
A different story emerges
beyond the television screens
as crowds in a gasping, restless city
wait to get on trains
that have not moved for weeks,
and will not,
for another three.
In the news
I read about zones being marked
to contain us within our shells.
If we are good children,
we are told we may have more freedom
to stretch our legs
within a week.
After a week,
will these shells have grown thick enough
that we will not be able to tell night from day?
Or will they diminish into paper-thin walls
that we can knock off with our knuckles
and face the sunlight?
I receive news of a personal victory
from another corner of the earth,
one that will push my pen stronger and brighter. The thrill of validation
is watered down by the unpredictability
that is this lockdown.
My mind hosts a seesaw battle
and when evening comes
excitement trumps caution
and hope paints my vision.
It’s another three weeks
of homes acting as boxes,
and phones as windows to universes.
We’ve seen this lockdown for longer.
We are past halftime now.
That’s what I believe
until the man on television
will speak again.
Day 21 of the 21-day lockdown in India