” An Evening Walk – Love in the Times of Corona” by Meera Kumar Menon
Care Consciously! # DEFEAT CORONA

This time, well, this time, it’s personal. Boundaries between the private, personal and public have blurred with isolation. Quirks, on introverts having the best time of their lives is starting to feel a little lopsided, reminding, how the background and foreground share equal importance, and yet, the best one can do for now is to zoom in and focus the lens.

Panning out is a rather rebellious exercise. Practicing a deliberate shift from the comfort of thoughts centered on oneself to the other, I wondered, keenly observing everything my eyes fell upon. The evening walk around the courtyard with the scent of jasmine seeping in and the slow breeze lulling the faraway fields, felt deviously pleasant. Earphones plugged in, music playing at my heart’s strings, I walk around, lackadaisical. The sun, setting between the hills, at a distance.

“You call this exercise?” Asks achan who disapproves of my lazy stroll. “Why don’t you put your phone away and focus on one thing at a time.” he scoffs. “Typical of the generation gap.”, I tell myself. The younger ones hear this aplenty. With no plans to infuriate him, I leave the phone aside, breaking into a brisk stride, focusing on the calories to be lost. “Keep going”, I push myself for another round. At a distance, my eyes caught a large house around the corner. A young girl of 15, lotus eyes and blushing cheeks smiled from memory, pulling her ‘thattam’ (hijab), covering her hair.
She was almost 2 years younger than me, when she came knocking on my door one day in tears.”Chechi enakku tution edthu tharuo” she asked, requesting me to help her with studies. “If I dont pass my S.S.L.C exams, Uppa has said he would get me married to the next proposal”, she said, hiding a smile between her tears, or was it the other way round?

Although she was from an affluent household, she was a first generation learner in her family. Struggling through her English essay writing assignment, we were both too young to choose between, reservations, empowerment and family, for a topic that evening.

By the time I passed my 12th boards, Majitha had made it through her exams.

Panting, I stopped for a bit. “Sit down and catch your breath a little” acha was calling out from the verandah. The moon was on its way. I sat down, gazing at the sky, like I had done, a hundred other nights, connecting stars, conceiving dreams.

“How do we go to the moon?” Indira chechi had asked while I was teaching her ‘abcd’ one night. My part time baby sitter and help, at home, she was an able woman, with a curious mind. “You learn these letters first!” I had told her then, annoyed that my literary mission was going astray. She wrote letter after another on my slate, mostly to entertain me. “I want to go to the moon though” she smiled, an innocent but infectious dream.

Between dreams and realities stood problems and privileges, I was learning, one letter at a time as I taught her. “I want to be the most well learnt woman in this village”, I had told her. “Appo ammukutti Collector aavuo? Atho Doctoro?” Would you become a collector or a doctor?
Her heartfelt laughter, as she points to the sky. “Ee aakashathu etra nakshathrangal aanalle?”, she beems.
Yes, the sky was indeed full of stars.
“If you aim for them, you would reach the moon, chechi”, I tell her.

“Done with walking are we?” Achan’s voice was from afar. No. One step at a time, but a long way to go, I get up, and take another round. “Dr.Meera kumar IAS, Dr.Meera kumar IAS” I chant, breaking into a jog.

The street lights were being switched on. At the distance I see a little boy in his balcony with a book. His mother, baby on her hips, waves me goodnight tucking her hair underneath the scarf. “Goodnight Maaji!”, I call out to her.

One more round? I push myself. The moon smiles, another infectious dream. I set my eyes at the stars.One more round, for Indira chechi. One more round. For Maaji. One from the privileged, one for the non privileged.These are testing times, but they say, “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going”.

Maybe this is a good time, to retrieve dreams reconsider goals, and rekindle our spirits, revive a soul.

Stay tuned for more about “Love in the times of Corona” 😊 
With Conscious Care, Together we shall overcome!

Care Consciously! #DefeatCorona !

Disclaimer: The opinions endorsed by the speaker is solely the author’s and not in any way endorsed by the Institute/Programme.