Intimations of mortality

Until yesterday I had not realized that I was beginning to slip into depression. I’d neglected work. The news was horrible: people begging for hospital beds for family members, others dying outside overfilled hospitals, doctors filmed crying, other doctors begging the government to divert industrial oxygen to medical use, black marketeers making money on drugs with limited efficacy for COVID-19. Locked down at home, I vacillated between consuming this horror show and mindless rom-coms. In February I’d posted a photograph showing how complacent people had become about the falling numbers of infections. That was reinforced by the trips I took in March and April. Courts have begun to question the administration’s contention that only common people are to blame for this disaster.

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
       The earth, and every common sight,
                          To me did seem
                      Apparelled in celestial light,
            The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—

William Wordsworth, Intimations of Immortality

My nieces do not have this freedom. One, a counselor, realized she was in depression caused by listening to her clients trying to cope with the world that I just described. Her own therapist is counseling her from hospital while being treated for COVID-19. Another niece is in the vanguard of today’s lost generation. She finished her architecture degree from home during last year’s lockdown, and was lucky enough to get a job. So she is in a town completely new to her, setting up her home and commuting to work. She is fairly confident of her work environment; every one is masked all the time, she says. But she finds commuting scary, since in her town many people do not realize masks help protect you. Other nieces are a little further back in the same cohort. One is doing her final year’s internship from home. Another is beginning her second year of college from home. And yet another has just had her school leaving exam cancelled.

I realized that I had been depressed only when I came out of it yesterday. The trigger was that The Family and I got our second shot of vaccine. I had been depressed by thoughts of my own mortality, then. Unlike the two of us, my nieces spend time on social media, which is choked with an outpouring of grief and helplessness from individuals. They are still not eligible for vaccines, and next month, when they are, the vaccine shortage will really begin to hit. Their generation will be changed; I don’t know how.

There are just three simple things to remember about COVID-19: mask up, keep your distance when possible, and do not gather with many others.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


  1. It is such a terrible time we are in. Pandemic was there but it is our callousness, misgovernance and unpreparedness that we turned it into man-made disaster. We vote and worship leaders who don’t even shed a tear when helpless people are dying on streets just for not being able to get a breath. What a shame!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so worrying. I’m so particularly sorry for the young, like your nieces, whose futures have become so much more troubled. I’m glad your own depression hasn’t seized you for the long haul.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have been more fortunate in the U.S., but people are the same everywhere. Even though we have had greater access to the vaccine, now we are finding people who resist getting it or can’t be bothered and after a tremendous education campaign, still refuse to wear masks. Desperately seeking something positive, I will note societies [not individuals] have survived worse. But I too wonder what the long-term changes will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We’ve been following the news from India on the BBC here in the UK. It’s so dreadful, I feel for you all. I hope that somehow the health services can get the support they need to be able to be effective in treating those who are ill, and the administrations there realise the gravity of the pandemic and communicate it to everyone. And I hope your nieces will find a way to a brighter future than seems possible to them now, perhaps. Stay strong!

    Liked by 1 person

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