The pandemic affected all of us in different ways. Some of us lost loved ones, some lost our jobs, and some lost our sense of purpose.
It had been a challenging time for everyone, and it was the new normal to feel lost and uncertain. But I think in the hood of horror, the pandemic also brought some invaluable lessons in those dark shadows.
Mumbai — March 2020.
As an Associate Director in Mumbai, I was excited about working on my first feature-length Hindi film. However, the pandemic hit, and the shoot got postponed indefinitely.
During the pandemic, I had to go back to my hometown Indore from Mumbai. I had to travel with a girl I didn’t know who was also from Indore, so it worked out well.
On the way, we saw a large group of people walking to their hometowns in North India since transportation was shut down.
It was a scary time for everyone, and the drive on the empty highway to Indore was long and difficult.
Soon, I found myself in a small room in my hometown, feeling depressed and hopeless. But, as someone who had faced challenges before, I knew that I had to keep going. But the real challenge was yet to come — the one that would scare me to my core.
Indore — June 2020.
Both my parents were diagnosed with COVID-19.
My mother was isolated inside her room because we couldn’t take her to the hospital as she had already undergone a hernia operation and was carrying a bag close to her waist. Fortunately, she was asymptomatic and was doing all right.
Although, my father was not doing well and had to be admitted to a hospital. But finding a hospital with an available bed was a major challenge.
Finally, we were able to secure a bed for him, but his stay in the hospital was the most depressing fifteen days of his life. He would cry and threaten to harm himself if I didn’t take him back home. He even stopped eating.
Every morning, I had to take care of my mother, get ready, pick up tiffin from my Uncle’s place, all while avoiding any contact with them, and rush to the hospital to see my father. The stress was unbearable, and I found myself smoking way more than usual.
To add to my troubles, my childhood friends in Indore were not keeping in touch with me. Although I wanted to meet them, I was afraid that I might be Covid positive too. All of these events took an emotional toll on me, leaving me feeling isolated and alone.
Every morning, I used to wake up with a deep threatening fear that today is the day, I lose my parents. And while sleeping, I used to wake up in the middle of the night, crying because of the nightmares of them leaving me.
Finally, my father realized that he was only adding to my pressures by not taking care of himself and showed great resolve. Just in a matter of three days, he showed massive recovery and with the permission of the hospital and the doctors, I got him back home.
My mother was happy too as she could see my father in front of her eyes, rather than seeing him on the video call. Both of them got better. However, due to a delay in the second part of my mother’s operation, we had to wait for another three months and the doctors lost her after a few days of successful surgery due to multiple organ failure.
I told my father that he was her strength. If something would have happened to him during the time he was admitted to the hospital, she wouldn’t have been able to take it. And we both decided to look at the brighter side of things, by believing that my mother is in a better place than she was with all her pain.
This was an important lesson in finding resilience. I learned that nothing in life is permanent, and life’s innate nature is fragile. My childhood friends, who were my life when I was growing up — didn’t even know about my mother’s condition till the time she passed away. It was a difficult time, but it taught me that real friendships and relationships are tested during such times.
A superstar actor committed suicide during this time and my family began to question my career choice of being a part of the film industry. It was all coming from a place of insecurity that my career brings and the question, how will I take care of my father, after everything that has happened!
Indore — September 2020.
I didn’t have even a glimmer of hope for my career as a filmmaker anymore. And this is when, I get a call from my Executive Producer, that they were starting the film again.
After a ridiculously dark time that I had experienced in the last few months, finally, there was news that put a smile on our faces (my father’s and mine). I had to join immediately.
Mumbai — October 2020.
We shot the film. It was also released on a leading OTT platform. My childhood friends had no idea that I had left Indore and I was just awestruck at the entire episode of keeping so much distance from me, just because my parents were Covid positive.
I don’t blame them. We fear what we don’t understand. And in all honesty, nobody could claim at that time, if they could explain, what this virus is or what it could do to you.
But, I realized not to trust these so-called “Friends” anymore. Because I was sure of one thing if somebody else had gone through what my family did, at that time. Sure, I’d keep my distance, but make an effort to talk and ask about the well-being of my friend.
The Pandemic took my mother away from me. But also taught me an important lesson that you learn about your true companions/ friends in time of need. As they say, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
I just want to conclude by saying that — Every single time you get an opportunity to be there for someone else in their hardest times. Do everything in your control to be there for them. Because we’re all people have.
People who are living selfish and self-centered lives are often troubled with anxiety and self-inflicted pain because their lives don’t have any meaning. I’ve learned that being there for each other is the noblest meaning we all can give to our lives.
Have you been there for someone during the pandemic? I’d love to know your story in the comments.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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