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In the current situation, when everyone is living under this forced isolation caused by the Coronavirus lockdowns, the mental and emotional health of people is being badly affected. It is believed that communicating and reaching out to people is the best we can do to resolve this issue. But when in reality, the real interaction is supplemented with several barriers, how much possible is  actually reaching out?

The world has already been living with the threat from the Coronavirus for months, but it’s certain that the situation would continue for some more time even now, adding to just the frustration and emotional breakdowns among the people. Thanks to the Coronavirus situation, we’re at a point where everyone has a fear about their future, employment and health.

However, prior to this situation, in the ‘normal life’, we used to come in contact with many people, be in educational institutions, work places, while travelling or simply moving. All the people that we used to come in contact in everyday life would be sharing varied degree of relation and intimacy with us, be it a near and dear one with whom we would share a major space of our life, an untold crush with whom we tend to lock our eyes for a moment, a senior or teacher or boss whom we would greet with respect, or a stranger whose name or identity is not known to us, but we were used to see every day. No matter if we agree or not, all of them have a smaller or larger portion of our lives.

But now, when the network of relations is disrupted by this uncertain situation, the social life is now governed through social media. It’s a general perception that in this present time of technology, where the world is stated to be a ‘small global village’, connected through social media. But in reality, the image is not as bright as it is perceived. Although the technology indeed provided a scope for engaging with the world, still the people who make use of these resources are ‘humans’; who possess the feeling and usually are more conscious while communicating through the virtual technological mediums then they are while talking personally.

Unlike the variations of the people that we meet during the personal transactions, the world driven by the social media and phone or video calls is just limited to the highest strata of our relations: i.e. those whom we claim to be our ‘closest’. But no matter how much we claim, even with them, on non-personal networks, we aren’t able to share the intimacy which we would have with them in the person, and a degree of formality is certain to arise.

Prior to lockdown, people had a wider social life.

Obviously the pain or happiness which can be felt in the eyes of a person in a personal meeting, is nowhere to be found in the customary questions and replies on Whatsapp like “I’m good, how are you”. No message or emoji is as powerful to reflect to the listener what emotion lies down in the heart.

It must also be learned that the renowned 20th century Indian Urdu poet and lyricist, Ali Sardar Jafri once quoted, “Aakhir roen kis ko kis ko, kaun hai jo barbad nahin hai” (whom should we cry to, who is here, who isn’t hurt). The COVID-19 has brought the problems for each and every one, it is possible that the person with whom you’re willing to share your pain is also suffering, perhaps not for the same reason as you, but something even bigger or much weirder. Even the people who are in your direct contact, like your family members, might be fighting their own battle in some way or another.

But does this mean we should not open up, and allow yourself and others to surrender their emotional health to their destiny? The answer is no! The primary way to deal with the situation is to first and foremost throw this blanket of awkwardness. As everyone is a victim of this isolation, it is possible that the others too are suffering from the pain just like you, or even greater than it. What you need is to personally reach out to them, and create an environment in which they’re able to enjoy the similar intimacy with us. We have to try to be somewhat natural, talk with our family members, close friends and even those with whom we aren’t in that close contact. If the technological interaction is the need, then we have to make it as natural and transparent as possible.

Although the situation is tough now, just by being a little more open and caring, and a little less shy, we can still live and let live, love and be loved, and make memories even in such a period of time.

Aashish Kochhar is a student pursuing History Hons. from Jamia Millia Islamia.

edited by: Rutba Iqbal.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.

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Written by Aashish Kochhar

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