I had a  slight panic on my way to Gatwick airport as I riffled through my backpack to check for my passport before finding it, followed by the realisation of forgetting my masks and gloves and leaving them back in my room; this made me wish I had planned my journey back home to India better. But that is the nature of the universe; it rewards but surprises you, just like it has rewarded me with an opportunity to see my beloved family and friends after 6 long months!

It’s was rare opportunity to see my family in person but this situation has made it happen without much forward planning, which made it strange as it felt surreal to be going when I did but at the same time the journey all felt so familiar.  We did not anticipate that the spread of the Coronavirus would cause such a rapid impact on so many international travellers. I felt so grateful that I could be making that journey back home.

Meditation is something which has helped me through all sorts of things in my life, my personal way of meditating is; I just need 5 to 10 mins alone with my body and mind. I acknowledge all thoughts that come into my mind and then decide whether they are good for me or bad for me. This categorisation approach has helped me shape my perceptions and make some important decisions in my life. This is a self-taught method where you don’t need to close your eyes to imagine, instead focus on the thoughts that come into your mind which you try to avoid lingering upon during the day.

While I meditated on every possible outcome of returning home, I certainly could not picture the honest reality. My plans leant more towards feeling the warmth of India’s hot climate, catching up on work and making plans for the evening, because under the circumstances of a normal trip home there would not be a single day when I did not step out of my house. So that is what naturally came to me as this is “supposed” to be a reward. But the universe had something else in mind and as soon as I landed on my country’s soil, it screamed saying – “TAKE A BREAK!”

I saw all my plans fall like dominoes, one by one. I was initially quarantined for 14 days and just as I motivated myself to pull through two weeks in complete isolation, on the twilight of 24 March; India announced and commenced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days starting the following day. Now, I was suddenly to spend my days alone for four weeks in total, did I think I could do this? As the news broke, so did I.  It took me three days to stop blaming the system and come to terms with the helplessness, anxiety and stress that I felt. I cried endlessly till my mother asked me to look at the silver lining, was there one?

On the fourth day, I woke up with a new sense of hope, motivation and clarity – moving towards the one thing this universe was trying to communicate. So I sat down in my favourite spot in the house, sipping my morning coffee, taking every bit of flavour my favourite beverage had to offer and soaking up the sights of the environment where I spent my entire childhood, I decided to take one day at a time. This meant going with the flow, finishing my day and utilising every moment of the day to invest in something self-actualising. This was the beginning of a brand new journey in my own company where I was finding myself while the world was healing itself.

As the days passed, it had a cascading effect in resurfacing all my hobbies and talents, which include; painting, writing and a little bit of singing (but only for my own pleasure). I had never found the patience to select, read and complete a novel – it has always ended up dropping off my priority list. It has taken a global pandemic make me actually take time to start reading for pleasure. The situation filled me with immense patience and showed me how to restore hope and faith that I lost so very easily. Not only that, I also got to spend more quality time with my mother which I unintentionally didn’t do enough of previously.

It is day six now, and I can feel my perspective towards life being moulded and my world-view being re-adjusted. It is because of this alteration that I see the silver lining my mother spoke about at the end of day one. As I turn 21, a responsible legal citizen of India, in the coming month, I have nothing but gratitude for this social-distancing and (now) voluntary isolation that came my way. It has given me enough time to know and befriend myself, and while this friendship discovers new capabilities within me, I am motivated to take up challenges and come out victorious.

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