Life in Lockdown: How’re Young Kashmiris Tackling Pandemic

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Photo: Abid Bhat

At a time when Covid-19 frontline warriors are working diligently to fight the current health crisis, many young Kashmiris are re-evaluating and reinventing themselves under the strict confinement of their homes.

Swati Joshi

Caught in home captivity, Adeeb Sultan, a 23-year-old college student mostly spends his time gazing the murky sky, counting stars and sometimes even observing how the moon changes its colour from white to off-white.

“Initially,” says Sultan, smiling, “when I got to know about the lockdown, I was happy. But after seven days, I became weary and kept surfing on the internet about the contagion.”

Even as the number of Covid-19 cases is rising in the world, Sultan feels that the pandemic has brought some relief to the nature.

“I can see birds outside my windows,” says the nature lover, adding, “Besides nature, humans are also healing.”

However, he says, there’s fear among people due to the false propaganda and fake news spread by the television.

While many Indians are currently spending their time exploring the online world, Kashmir still fights for access to a 4G network.

Mansha Imtiyaz, a Kashmiri resident working as a software developer in Chennai, believes that the impact of the lockdown is multi-dimensional and varies with different situations of people.

“The first week went off with accepting the fact that coronavirus is something serious and the pandemic situation is not limited to movies like Contagion or some documentary,” says the movie buff.

She admits that the second and third weeks were most crucial as the cycle of overthinking started popping negative questions inside her mind, “What if I get corona?”

As the fourth week started, she got used to the lockdown, says Mansha, “Well it takes 21 days to accommodate a habit.”

The software developer is upbeat and stresses that if people have good health, family, food, job and money in the “unforgettable 2020”, they should be grateful and help others in need.

“The lockdown is going to change the perspective of every individual about how we see each other,” emphasizes Mansha.

Photo: Abid Bhat

While the lockdown has forced working individuals to spend maximum time with their families, Enab Hadid thinks that her family’s way of living is very different from hers.

“My family lives a well-maintained life and I, on the other hand, was just living my robot life – get up late, go to the office, come back home, watch something online and sleep late at night,” the software tester opines.

Birds chirping, rustling of leaves, essential vehicles and ambulances’ siren are the only sounds that people hear these days.

Hadid appreciates the silence outside and enjoys the cool breeze and chirping of birds during this lockdown.

Many young Kashmiris are also using this lockdown to reevaluate and reinvent themselves.

“I always wanted to learn guitar and this lockdown has given me ample time to try my hands on the strings,” says Faizan Khan, a marketing manager.

An avid traveler, Faizan is utilizing this time to plan a trip to Europe during Christmas and hopes everything will be under control by then.

The young manager is also spending a lot of time reading about the post Covid economy and planning his next move to start his business.

The invisible enemy has caused a lot of trouble for daily-wage workers. Stranded away from their home, these people are going through psychological trauma.

Aamir Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar, is in constant touch with the workers and he feels that they are the ones who are suffering the most under this lockdown.

“I am quite privileged,” he says. “I have food on my table, a roof over my head and I am staying with my family.”

He insists that the government should have taken proper steps to handle the problems of the workers as they are fully dependent on the government for necessities.

Photo: Abid Bhat

However, for some people, lockdown has not changed anything.

Sheikh Hafsa who works as a bank manager goes to her office daily. The only change she observes is that people are “very cautious at workplace”.

The offices are equipped with hand sanitizers and every time she enters her workplace, temperature screening is done.

At the same time, as India’s Gross Domestic Product growth has dropped, many 2020 pass out college students are finding it difficult to get a job during this hard time.

Having great plans for his journalism career, Ubair Riyaz, a recent college pass out, says that the future is quite uncertain.

Even after started working from home for a newspaper, he wishes to go out in the field and do ground reporting.

But despite the uncertainty, many people are appreciating this lockdown.

“There are no Monday morning scrambles, no traffic struggles, no have-to-go-there, have-to-buy-that,” says Shysta Beigh, a Srinagar-based teacher. “I think this is a break that everyone was craving for from such a long time.”

But now, when they’ve been granted the same, she says, people want to go back to normal.

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Swati Joshi

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