The closure is difficult for lovers. I haven't been able to see my baby Vishnu for three weeks: Jwala Gutta

By Jwala gutta

I've been under emergency shutdown for two weeks now and my life has remained the same more or less. I’m at home in Hyderabad with my parents and younger sister, Insi. In fact I’d been preparing for the emergency shutdown from early February itself. My uncle, who lives in Shanghai had been telling us about everything they’ve been through while fighting coronavirus. So I was mentally prepared for an eventuality like that in India. What I wasn’t prepared for though was this long separation from my boyfriend Vishnu Vishal . It's been three weeks since I saw him. We have been dating for two years and this is the longest time we have spent without knowing each other.

This emergency shutdown has been hard on us, like it’s been for any other couple staying away from each other. It’s not so much the long distance, ’cos we’re both used to that. He lives in Chennai and he’s a film actor, so he’s usually busy shooting and I’m busy with my academy work here. But no matter what, we make it a point to meet once in two weeks. Either he flies down or I go to Chennai. What is frustrating now though is that we can’t meet each other even if we want to!

Ours isn’t a teenage romance full of drama like in the movies. We are both adults who’ve been through a lot and ours is a mature relationship. But earlier, at the back of my head, I knew that if I want to meet Vishnu, I can just take a flight and go see him. Now that is not an option any more, and I find it frustrating. In fact, I was supposed to go to Chennai to meet him just two days before the emergency shutdown . At the last minute, we both decided that it was not the right time to travel.

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We don't know how much longer this will last. But now we deal with incessant text messages and video calls. We are together virtually all the time. In fact, we are talking so much that we have run out of things to talk about. Instead, we go to the minute details of our lives, such as what we eat for breakfast and with what accompaniment, etc. I think this crisis will bring us closer. Yes, it would have been nice to be together at a time like this, but I think we will do it together (at least virtually) and come out of this stronger.

All that said, our relationship woes seem trivial compared to what the world is going through right now. Nobody in their wildest dreams would’ve imagined that countries would go into emergency shutdown one day. This is the kind of stuff you see in movies, and it’s happening to all of us. I think this crisis is a reality check for all of us to start taking hygiene more seriously and take precautions in day-to-day life even post-corona.

In all of this, it's the privileged group like us who complain about trivial things like spending too much time at home or getting bored during quarantine . but it’s the poor who have suffered, were suffering and will continue to suffer more due to the economic crisis once this emergency shutdown is lifted. I hope this will serve as a reality check to the privileged lot to do more for the underprivileged and to treat them with more compassion and respect.

I don’t know how long we’ll have to stay in quarantine , but I imagine it’s a long road back to normalcy. China started putting people under quarantine in December and got back to normalcy only in late February. So it took them three months. In a vast, democratic country like ours, it could take at least three months or longer. We can only hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

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