COVID-19 Stories: How the pandemic made me appreciate life away from the city - Hindustan Times
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COVID-19 Stories: How the pandemic made me appreciate life away from the city

Jun 23, 2021 05:33 PM IST

Nithya Krishnan is a culinary and Zumba instructor and food blogger. She’s based in Painted Post, New York, USA. Want to contribute? Please write to us at your.stories@htdigital.in. How do you feel justified to tell a story that feels inconsequential compared to the ones you hear in a world gripped by a pandemic? A story is still a story and there are no parameters to gauge whether it’s worth telling or not.

Nithya Krishnan is a culinary and Zumba instructor and food blogger. She’s based in Painted Post, New York, USA.

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How do you feel justified to tell a story that feels inconsequential compared to the ones you hear in a world gripped by a pandemic? A story is still a story and there are no parameters to gauge whether it’s worth telling or not. When the first news of the ’Wuhan’ virus hit my small valley town in New York there was barely a flutter in daily lives.

I am a functioning adult with social anxiety which ends up bordering on mild hypochondria and a vivid imagination thanks to all the science fiction and fantasy books and movies I enjoy in my spare time. So, I ended up being some of the few people in my circles that had already made 5 trips to various stores to stock up on essentials in case of any emergencies and that got us through the worst of the supply chain shortages. I had a family of 6 that included my parents who lived with us.


The inevitable happened and lockdown life began. Each day seemed to melt into the other, children getting used to remote school, a husband working from home and all my contract work cancelled. We managed to meander our way through the days and coped with a shelter in place life, finding peace in simple things like watching a movie or taking a stroll outside in the neighbourhood.


My parents eventually moved out to an apartment of their own by summer and the world around us kept changing. The Black Lives Matters movement that summer dredged up a lot of the dormant sentiments amongst the residents of our town. As immigrant Indians in a predominantly white community, we had our share of ups and downs but the last four years under the Trump presidency we saw a shift in the way some people seemed to treat anyone with a darker skin tone. The pandemic, restrictions on lifestyles and the constant vacillations of the CDC, government, and the slow rise of COVID cases had a definite impact on that as well. This just made us go deeper into leading isolated lives without socializing until could feel safe. The tumultuous November elections, the new president and the weeks that followed kept us with renewed hope that better days would be in our future.

Come December 2020 my parents tested positive for COVID and thankfully they were able to quarantine at home with me offering support from the outside. They pulled through after six weeks of isolation and mild symptoms.

When I moved to this town 20 years ago, I was in constant complaint on how boring life was here and that we were stuck in the Boonies. I took back every word this last year, being in a small town and learning to simplify our lives has been instrumental in helping us cope each day. What had seemed a bane back then, turned out to be a boon at a time like this.


We welcomed 2021 with renewed hope for a vaccine, a way to pull ourselves through the emotional slumps we found ourselves in time to time and a hope to return to some normalcy of life. I have to add that my husband works for Corning.Inc which happens to be one of the manufacturers of the glass vials for the precious Covid vaccines.


That contract renewed the local economy of our town and managed to keep many here employed since the vaccine efforts began worldwide.


The months of February, March and April have seen sweeping changes in the way of life in New York. We are quite removed from the Metropolitan NYC area and thanks to the antics of our Governor Cuomo the state has been in recovery of sorts.

The local schools have begun with slow openings, vaccination clinics have inoculated almost 50% of our residents, yet we tread with trepidation and vigilance. The iron-fisted leadership seems to have paid off in terms of things opening up in our state.


Children suffering from fatigue induced by the lockdown are returning slowly to schools and bigger bubbles. Local school sports have opened their seasons with backup plan in action in case of more infection waves. Better mask guidelines and other safety measures in public places have brought people back into the in-person workforce. The signs of the return of a semblance of normalcy is uplifting.

But the troubles of the world are far from over. And as helpless spectators we now witness the carnage the new variant of the COVID is wrecking in our home country. You would think humans would learn from the folly of others. The United States was warned by Italy and Spain but to no avail as lessons were learnt the hard way. Now India faces a worse turn in the pandemic, and I fervently hope all the overseas donations truly reach the ones that need it. Not a day goes by now when there isn't news being received of a passing, a hospitalization or a COVID positive test result of someone we know.


COVID has been the most crippling crisis this world has faced, bringing ‘super powers’ to its knees and revealing some painful, ugly truths. We are in a constant learning curve that’s testing the limits of patience requiring unlimited reserves of perseverance from us as humans. There is the turning to prayer, inner journeying, spirituality that seems to get most through some of the days. But the rest of the time we are wrought feeling helpless, bombarded by news on social media, people crying out for help and an unfortunate crumbling of a system unable to mobilize resources in time.


All this has proven a point, rather driven it rather drastically that world order needs to change if humanity has to overcome this global crisis and be ready for the next one. As citizens of the world, we have to rethink what the world needs and what it doesn’t.


We’ve to think of who we put in the seats of power. The daily battles of ideals, who is right or wrong must be brought to a truce. We need to open lines of communications and put an end to the propaganda wars that only dividend serve no purpose to anyone. Until the wrongs are made right at the grassroots, we will face crisis after crisis in our lives.

Want to contribute? Please write to us at your.stories@htdigital.in.

The views expressed are personal.

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