I write this on a bright, sunny day in Bangalore. My workstation faces a window that looks out on to the road. The Indian Beech is in front of me, its green leaves a startling reminder of life. The Beech is a hardy tree, but it’s in spring and summer that it sheds its flowers, forming a carpet of white on the ground. From my window, I can see my car blanketed with its flowers.
In the morning, a bird with a Mohawk hairstyle came over. And I cried because life is so excruciatingly beautiful and how did we reach here?
Yesterday, I wrote about the positivity of life and how my mom, sister, and I tested positive for Covid-19. I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from friends, online and offline. Yesterday, with an ambulance shortage in Bangalore, I drove my mother to the hospital, where she recovers, after a bout of vomiting forced us to move her to the hospital. I am paralyzed by fear. I break down. I tremble as I write this, isolated in a house where I can’t hug anyone. I want a shoulder to cry on. My other sister, Susheela, continues to be on oxygen support, and we worry about her, waiting for her body to pull through and fight back the way I know she can.
I can’t watch the news any longer. But I have been amazed by the way India’s citizens have stepped up where their government hasn’t. Twitter groups. WhatsApp groups. From food to medicines to oxygen supply, I have been in thrall with the spirit of human kindness. It sounds like a cliche, but cliches are also true.
Physically, I am doing fine, although I struggle with the tiredness of two days of driving to the hospital and a cold and cough. I will be honest – I worry about the rising financial cost along with every other worry. I have paid Rs 300,000 on my credit cards for my Mom and Susheela’s care. Although they are both insured, I know that not all of that money can be recovered. Per day charges are Rs 50,000 for both of them. Susheela is a daily wage worker at a dairy plant, earning about Rs 10,000 a month. She doesn’t work, she doesn’t get paid. I state these numbers because I promised I would be vulnerable on this blog, and I am keeping that promise. All my worries in my head, I will lay bare.
Meanwhile, my heart bleeds for those who are struggling to find a bed. Those who are trying to find medicines. Those who are trying anything and everything to keep their loved ones with them. We are finding our life upended by a virus that is teaching us more about interconnectedness than any Buddhist monk or nun can.
Whoever reads this, may you find the light to bear this. May you find all the support you need. May you find resilience. May you find peace. May you all breathe well. Be grateful for every breath. Please.
Be well. I send you all much love.