• 09 May - 15 May, 2020
  • Ayesha Adil
  • Fiction

My bad. I know I’m swinging back and forth in my blog; unable to keep my focus for too long. But then again how many of us are feeling “normal” in these unpredictable times. It is Fawad who pushes me to keep on writing and my readers owe it to him that I do continue maybe against my will at times. So here it is my readers, a humble contribution of some truth as I see it.

This line has been taken from the famous opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities. The novel opens with, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …” (Para. 1, Line, 1).

Does this sound familiar?

In our wildest dreams and our remotest imagination we would never have thought that we would live through a pandemic; a plague of such a huge magnitude that it has enveloped the entire world. The times are apocalyptic. We had dreamt of the complete opposite. In fact 2020 was supposed to be “the year” for most of us. The year when we would get that dream job, or create a boom in our business or find our soul-mate (the one who’ll put a ring on it), the year that university will accept our application, buy the new car, house or travel to our dream location once and for all. But none of that will happen now. At least, not in 2020.

We’re constantly being dragged into thinking; it won’t happen to us and in fact; wasn’t the plague supposed to happen to uneducated, unreformed and backward cultures and civilisations and people of the past? But then again, in the history of plagues most plagues originated in western countries that happened to be pretty well-established and called themselves “refined” and “civilised”.

So, now what? My intellectual mind won’t let me relax. I feel that I am living a part of history that is unique, different, and unusual. I want to absorb it all (not the virus), I want to partake in discussions of conspiracy theories, suppositions, devious evil genius plans to destroy the world, to bring in a new world order and I want to be able to talk about it all for hours. But then, I realise that I am living in this danger too and so is my family, my parents and my children. The more I want to know the more I fear it. The more I want to hide my head in the sand; wish it all away like a bad dream and continue living as we were. As we were…

I also realise that fear is the greatest power of control which has been used in history by clergy, by leaders and by politicians. There’s some mind control going on too. The media is a double-edged sword and if we are still not able to see it without a murky lens then, we need to find a new pair of glasses.

Furthermore, not without irony the scriptures are being explored. Isn’t this time the peak time for the Anti-Christ to make an appearance? All the scriptures are on the same page as I see it. Then there is Imam Mehdi and Jesus Christ; aren’t they supposed to save us? (All due respect). My mind is buzzing.

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

–?2 Thessalonians 2:7”

Have we brought this upon ourselves?

Let’s rewind it all a bit. Let’s go back to the life that is not going to be the same again.

Rush. Run. Submit. Deadlines. No time. Depression. Overworked. Crushed. Please don’t forget to breathe. I know. It seems like eons ago. But it was the life we all want again because it had purpose. It had meaning. It had value. And it was the means to survive. We’ll talk about that a little bit more later.

As most countries of the world are in a lockdown, people are exploring new ways to occupy themselves. Songs, art, reading sessions, storytelling; social media is quite fun to scroll through except for all the horrors of Covid-19. These are things we had forgotten to do because we simply didn’t have the time.

But then again, for a country like Pakistan where the majority of people are daily wage earners it is not the time that they need. They need to work and pay their bills and feed their families. Such a paradox. Such confusion. They are not sharing their happy family pictures on facebook. It’s a sad and sorry state of affairs.

Domestic abuse is on the rise. Crime is on the rise. And wouldn’t it be? If the men and women are not leaving the house to earn, where will the bread and butter come from? Throw into that mix; cranky children; bored and frustrated; and a little booze and a little bit of any drug and you have the perfect remedy for torture.

People suffering from mental health disorders are being hit the worst. They are feeling unproductive, confused, unhappy and imprisoned. It cannot be a cheerful picture for them.

What about the establishment? What are they upto? In Pakistan, we’re a highly opportunistic race of people. Being a poor country is our greatest asset. The minute there was one corona patient, we hit the notes for “begging” at its best. And western funding began to pour in. Calamity gives us a “healthy” glow.

World economies have crashed. Oil prices are on an all-time low. The Arabs are ready to sell their soul to the devil at the right price. (Illuminati-New World Order theory rears its ugly head. I’ve been questioning the motives of the Arabs for a long time too..)

Now, let’s get out if this guacamole and try to look at it objectively.

Something is amiss. Wuhun was the epicenter but the virus hardly spread to neighbouring cities. Then, suddenly Italy became hardest hit (the home of the Vatican, keep referring to the Illuminati theory) and then, New York became the epicenter and Wuhun magically controlled the virus. WHAT!

Yes, what is going on? I have no idea.

All I know is that my students are front-line soldiers (12 years of teaching at a medical college; occupational hazard) and so are my cousins in the US and several friends. My heart goes out to them and their families.

So many people are out of work and are losing even their homes. If this is indeed a phase of a bigger plan then it is indeed diabolical.

Spiritual leaders are calling it God’s punishment on mankind for their sinful ways. And yes our ways have been sinful. Plundering, looting, taking away Mother Earth of all her treasures; over consumption, decadence, corruption. And then, the tortures meted out to humanity through wars; rape, killing and despoliation. Let’s not forget the abuse of capitalism.

And what about my family; how is it affecting me directly? Fawad might lose his job. With so many companies shutting down, why would they need accountants to close their books? Fawad can work from home and he continues to meet deadlines. But, at some point his company had maybe a 100 clients and now they hardly have any at all. We are balancing on the edge, the edge of finances, emotions and spiritualism. I only have hope that keeps me going. We have savings but they won’t last forever. And then, I think that I am the lucky one. When I think of others, it simply breaks me.

With a heavy heart, I am taking it one day at a time. The world and its problems can wait. I am focusing on myself.

Maybe, this is the time to ponder and think about what’s important and what isn’t.

When things get back to the way they were, we need to decide what are the habits worth going back to. I don’t want to become another cog in a machine. I finally want to have a life. I will decide wisely. I will put myself and my family before any other commitment. Maybe this isn’t the plague but that was or maybe the plague is yet to come?

“But what does it mean, the plague? It's life, that's all.” Albert Camus, taken from “The Plague.”