Idling in the Times of Corona

By Priyabrata Chowdhury

Imagine having a lifetime’s wealth of time at your disposal and not having the slightest clue what to do with it. Seldom in our busy lives does a situation such as this arrive, but, believe it or not, it has now.

The dreaded contagion, stalking cities across the globe and leaving a trail of body bags and deathly silence, has forced us indoors and, quite literally, withdraw even from our shadows for fear of catching the virus. While some lucky ones have set up temporary work stations at home, those comfortably in the majority are moving around clueless and simply running short of hobbies to last the lockdown.

Why grouse and grumble if you get to be around your family and away from the unforgiving confines of your workplaces, you may ask? Isn’t it better to be idling at home than slaving away for peanuts? Well, it might be for a while. But 21 days?

Sample this. Three weeks, more hours to burn than you can count with your fingers, and nothing worthwhile to immerse yourself in. You may gather all your books around but they won’t do much to lift your boredom. You may tune in to your playlist, but for how long? You may catch up with your family, play with your children, but after a point, even that familiar cackle could be trying on your nerves. There’s no movie playing at a theatre near you, no malls open for a spot of shopping and no eatery open to welcome you with its plush interiors and salivating menu. Streets are empty and businesses closed as far as your eyes could see. All are home, idling, or plain faking it.

But these are unprecedented times. And this is the new normal. It’s a test of patience. Tough as it is, let’s stay home so that the virus stays out.

Priyabrata is a journalist.

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