Young voices on Kashmir

COVID-19: My Reflections

Ishba Khan
It was a fine evening in the first week of March when I went to see my family over the weekend as they were in Islamabad on a short visit. I left my hostel on Friday with a hand-carry containing only two books and a few clothes. I was supposed to go back to hostel on Sunday but we were informed that the university had been closed for two weeks. I wish I could have picked my novels and the hair straightener if I only had a clue that any such thing will happen.
“Pandemic” is a word that was completely unfamiliar to me till March 2020 when the COVID-19 brought the whole of humanity to its knees. Affecting the social, political and personal lives of all the people globally; the pandemic has drastically changed the way we feel, think and act.

Appearing like a monster, the pandemic started paralyzing all disciplines of life, be it the business or the educational institutions. In terms of economy, it affected the supply of goods, foreign travel, manufacturing and investment. Then the government decided to lockdown the markets and even the hospitals were closed. All the public places were closed. I had never ever experienced such a sudden and frightening thing in my life. The way news about the rising death number and the uncontrolled spread of virus appeared in the media, it disturbed me deeply. Whenever I switched on the television, the only topic discussed in every show was the pandemic. Sometimes, I just wondered what will be the future of it, will it ever end?? At times, I thought I might not be able to see my friends again.

One of our acquaintances lost his father during this pandemic, not because he was ill but because he got a heart attack and when the family brought him to the hospital, it was sealed and while taking him to another one, he died on the way.

Only emergency cases were entertained in hospitals. One of our acquaintances lost his father during this pandemic, not because he was ill but because he got a heart attack and when the family brought him to the hospital, it was sealed and while taking him to another one, he died on the way. People were not able to attend the funeral of their dear ones and were not even able to recite their funeral prayer.

My grandmother always used to say “Allah marta waqt kafan dafan naseeb kara” and I wondered how was it even possible that someone would be buried without “kafan-dafan”.

My grandmother always used to say “Allah marta waqt kafan dafan naseeb kara” and I wondered how was it even possible that someone would be buried without “kafan-dafan”. But now, I have witnessed what she feared- people dying of the Corona infection, being packed in plastic bags and buried. Something like ‘never say never’ keeps echoing my mind whenever I see the catastrophic circumstances created by the virus.

People had different reactions to the pandemic from being nervous to alarmed and predominantly petrified. The need of the hour was to make people aware of the nature of this viral disease and its effects.

In our society where it is customary to shake hands, it was difficult to convince people to practice social distancing and whenever someone was asked to do so; one usually got a reply like “your Iman is not firm, the time of one’s death is already decided.”

Then the online networking system started in business and educational institutions. People started working from home. It was a completely new thing for everyone. At first, it was hard to manage and understand that but people got used to it after some time. However, the people who worked on daily wages are facing a hard time. They have no work and consequently no money to feed their families. I also realized the problems faced by the young people living in rural areas that have been constantly facing poor internet connectivity and power cuts which I hardly experienced in Islamabad.

The material damage becomes even more destructive and suffocating when it is coupled with psychological stress and anxiety and this is exactly what we witnessed in the COVID-19 pandemic. Life is revolving around Netflix, novels, eat and sleep. Many people are committing suicide because of depression-like Sushant Singh Rajput who was a famous Indian actor. The highest rate of divorce has been recorded during this pandemic.

During this time of hardship, it is our moral duty to help people around us who are not as blessed as we are like the helpers we have in our houses, our drivers and other people serving us. We should keep giving them their salaries even if they cannot come to work. We should try to engage ourselves in different activities and hobbies and try to discover our own self. I think the best company one can have is his own self.

It is a difficult time to tackle with but I think we need to change our outlook on things. Instead of complaining and lamenting over the loss of routines and normal lifestyle; we need to broaden our horizons by exploring our hidden talents and building a growth mindset, keeping alive our motivation to excel, seek the Almighty’s blessings by helping others, giving quality time to our family, relationships, academics and athletics; and emerge as better human beings.


Ishba Khan

The writer is Student of International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI).
She can be reached at cpdrajk@gmail.com

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