COVID-19 Stories: How US 2020 elections distracted me from the pandemic - Hindustan Times
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COVID-19 Stories: How US 2020 elections distracted me from the pandemic

Jun 23, 2021 05:45 PM IST

Farah Adil lives in Chicago. She’s a freelance writer and content creator. Want to contribute? Please write to us at your.stories@htdigital.in. When it first began in March of 2020, I thought this was the break, we all needed. Covid 19 had rescued us from the drudgery of being slaves to our routines, school and work and errands and the predictability of the mundane.

Farah Adil lives in Chicago. She’s a freelance writer and content creator.

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

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When it first began in March of 2020, I thought this was the break, we all needed. Covid 19 had rescued us from the drudgery of being slaves to our routines, school and work and errands and the predictability of the mundane.

Until it didn’t. It got old very quickly. Four people confined to a three-bedroom apartment especially with two teenagers is a pressure cooker about to explode and it did. Often. With a citywide lockdown in place, we were sheltered but didn’t feel safe, constantly watching the news, trying to sanitize our surroundings, wiping down surfaces, being suspicious of strangers, even friends, neighbours in our high rise, even microwaving mail, the whole nine yards. At any given point in time, I could list out the numbers of Covid cases in each state and the number of casualties. It became a macabre obsession.

This sense of rudderless hopelessness, lasted until the ramp up to the 2020 Presidential election... an election I felt invested in, because the thought of a second Trump term was unacceptable. We had lived through four years of complete chaos and Trump had begun to epitomize everything that was wrong with America. In my mind, it didn’t have to be this way.

I threw myself into exploring what people as passionate as I was doing and by sheer cosmic coincidence discovered an organisation called, They See Blue, a grassroots organization started by Indian Americans in California.

Their goal was to make Biden President. Their value system aligned with what I believed in and I campaigned my heart out making phone calls, writing postcards, and even creating a video to target Indian Americans to vote for our current President.

They See Blue made me realise that there are many Indian Americans who support Trump, who believe he is the strongman America needs. That he was the answer to America’s problems.

This realization repulsed me and fired me up to start a YouTube channel. I’ve been a writer and a journalist and while going to every protest since Trump became president feels rewarding, it did nothing. So, I decided I needed to do more.

I started My Two Cents with Farah Adil solely to address the Indian-American community on why they should NOT be voting for Trump, why it is in our interests to vote for Joe Biden and what we need to do to mobilize.

The very first video got a lot of views and I was propelled to keep hammering the point home. I continued to make videos even though I felt like I was learning while doing. When I look at them now, I feel like epitome of the angry, passionate, idealistic woman I thought I had left behind in my youth. The point was I couldn't stop. I churned out video after video like a machine. I needed to make and publish these videos, so I felt like I wasn’t being a spectator while the world felt like it was collapsing around me.

I must say it’s been quite a ride. I was so energized, I published constantly. I was never more exhausted but never more content. I felt possessed almost, driving myself to a point where I felt like not creating content to turn this Trump train around was unacceptable.

August 16 I published my first video. I am now about 110 videos old. With Trump out of office, I now focus my energies on the party that made him President. The Republican party that I believe is bereft of humanity, that I believe represents only the minority; White Americans, a party I believe needs to be neutered for creating an environment that enabled Trump and fuels hate and distrust of the other.

There was one thing that Covid happen....

Another upside, if you will, to the pandemic: We adopted a kitten from an animal shelter. If you had ever met my husband, you would compare this feat to nothing short of a miracle. After 26 years of marriage and two kids later, I would never in my wildest dreams have imagined we would be pet parents to Sahiba, our stray black kitten who came home one July afternoon, mewling and scrawny, from the local pet shelter. My reasoning: If we wanted our kids to be home during the coronavirus we needed to have them want to stay indoors. Sahiba was that magnet.

For a person with a phobia of cats Sahiba could be frightening but I think Covid dulled my husband’s fears, just a little bit.

Besides Sahiba did exactly what she was meant to do. Became the glue that held a family trapped indoors by Covid, together.

It's been over a year now and Covid 19 has taught me a lot. More than I imagined. Sometimes being stationary, being still, not running like a chicken with its head cut off is also learning. Learning that I now appreciate. It's been hard to be away from family and friends that I love, hard to not feel human touch the way I would have liked but it's also a time to appreciate all that is good in this world. And there is a lot.

What Coronavirus has made me learn is there is so much beauty to be grateful for, so much we take for granted and sometimes we need to reset. We need to figure out what is important to us and we need to recognise we are on this earth for just a fleeting while and we need to not just focus on making our lives better but making a difference to better the lives of others. Whether it’s creating something that you are uniquely skilled for, whether it’s volunteering your time to help others in need and whether it’s just to stop and smell the flowers.

Once this is over and behind us, the one thing I will cherish and not take for granted, is the gift of being outdoors, unafraid, without a mask, with the feeling of warm sun on my skin.


The views expressed are the author's ow

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