What It’s Like To Be Stuck All Alone In The Lockdown: Homegrown Asks Indians - Homegrown

What It’s Like To Be Stuck All Alone In The Lockdown: Homegrown Asks Indians

Long, long ago, said American comedian-satirist Lenny Bruce sang,

Oh what joy to be all alone
I’m happy alone don’t you see
I’ve convinced you–
Eh, I don’t wanna get so dramatic about it, you’re better off alone man...

India is a lot more social than most countries in the world. We can’t imagine a single waking moment without being surrounded by people and the noise that’s there to being around living people. However, circumstances have dawned on us in such a way that it’s become absolutely mandatory for us to be alone. Even in loneliness, nevertheless, a lot of us are with our families. Not all of us, though. And, let’s say it out loud. While it’s super fun to be able to walk around without pants, it’s not always a cakewalk.

Maybe Lenny Bruce was right. All alone is a good life, but it’s not so good after all!

In order to capture the strangely unfamiliar zeitgeist amongst the youth of India, Homegrown reached to them to know what it means to be all alone in the quarantine pod.

Who took the survey and how?

  • It was taken by 28 people.
  • Most of the respondents were between ages 10-32
  • Our respondents ranged from cities within India, Canada, Russia, and the USA. Most of our respondents were from metropolitans like Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Delhi. Few, however, were also from Agra and Pune.
  • While 21% of the respondents were students, the others were from the technical, art, fashion, and media sectors.
  • For qualitative responses we did not push people to force-fit their answers to the available list of options but provided space for them to choose otherwise.

We are extremely grateful to our readers for having shared such intimate information, in such great detail with us. We are also proud of having been able to provide our readers with a platform to think through their own feelings. We understand that it can take a lot for a lot of people to open up, and we greatly appreciate the participation.

“At the moment of writing this, restless. Started my day feeling very content. Went through the motions of the day, lauded me on being productive. Drew for hours, it’s become my coping mechanism. Made my regular calls for the day. Checked on my family. And now here I am, full circle feeling restless and discontent and alone. I know it’ll pass, but can’t stop myself from questioning why am I feeling what I’m feeling. I’ve lived alone for a good part of the last 5 years, but only now I realise what living alone really means.”

Mixed Feelings Everywhere

The aforementioned quote might actually be sufficient to summarise our survey-response because that is exactly what we are experiencing at the moment. In the midst of all this, while some of us are feeling “unusually at peace”, some others have been lonely, restless, and fatigued.

When we first asked our readers how were they doing and how were they coping, we got a myriad range of responses. There were some heartening ones like, “ I’m doing a lot better than I thought I would be. I assumed that the lockdown would make me irritable, and impossible to live with, but it’s completely on the contrary for me. I’ve started reading again, which is a huge game-changer. I’m getting the opportunity to make tea for myself, just the way I like it, and that just gives me immense joy.”

On the other hand, there were some who said, “I’m feeling quite stuffed up with staying home all day every day, I was never so much at home all these years.”

The more introverted souls amongst us were happy to have any social obligations anymore. Some others, however, do crave the human touch. While some find refuge in their plants, some others have turned to makeup. “I can hear the rustling of leaves, the sound of the wind and birds chirping, just like my childhood days,” says Sugandh Lamba from Mumbai. In fact, Aditi John, 19, is rather cheerful as they gush, “I’m feeling cheerful right now. I usually spend my time reading self-help books, and some other novels. Movies and Netflix have been a great saviour too. Internships keep me engaged in the mornings.”

Mixed feelings — that’s our key. It’s important to understand that our feelings are never the same. Shashank Singh, 24, aptly summarises it as “It’s like one day I’m exasperated with a lot of anxiety and the other day, I do all right. Indulging myself in multiple activities comprising of cooking, working out, mindfulness, working on ideas, gaming & reading, just to restrict boredom & loneliness.”

However, as one of the most resilient of all living beings in the history of the planet, humans adapt. We learn to get used to things and we learn to live. Nobody could have demonstrated in better than 24-year-old Nikita Mishra, who says, “I have been with myself for a month now. Things were very challenging at first, but they got easier with time. However, every week brings its own new challenges. Sometimes I face them heads, on other times I barely manage to drag myself through them.”

Home And Headspace

“The fact that I’m away from my parents, uncertainty on when I’ll be back at work next, not being able to just meet my best friend and crib about the day and the dread, I don’t know when all this will be over, and what the “new normal” is anymore,” says an exasperated Aashna Banaik.

Being mentally up and alright is definitely difficult during these tough times. As some of our readers have pointed out, in a pre-COVID world, anxiety or strange feelings could be abated by stepping outside or hanging out with loved ones, but there’s only so much one can do over a video call or from the balcony. And yes, even the introverts have not been liking it so much.

30-year-old Aditi from Mumbai says, “ Home was my time and space. Now all I have is time and space. Could do with less time and space?” So, what do you do when the doors to your safe haven don’t open towards the outside anymore? Ashwini Shenoy from Bengaluru shares the Aditi’s feelings in saying that they feel the most emotionally affected when they’re, “not be able to go on walks when I feel anxious. To not be able to come back home after a stressful day of work has been very hard; the negativity seems to linger around.” While for some, getting out of the bed has been difficult, for some others, getting out of their head has been lately seeming impossible.

Some others are worried about their family. “Being away from my family and friends and feeling actually stranded in a foreign land. While I was enjoying the change in culture and the work environment initially, now I don’t have any of that to look forward to. Living alone in an apartment and not being able to go out straight for 1.5 months is starting to get annoying.”

Not surprisingly, news media, while extremely useful, has been the source of anxiety for some.

Says Mobika Maring, “what is more upsetting is how some people are using this as an opportunity to practise hate crime against north-east Indians. I hate watching the news. It’s been making me very angry and venting on social media feels like screaming into the void.”

Not all is bad though. Some of us have been trying to cope. “Emotionally I’m feeling good surprisingly because I’m able to look after me, my needs and just concentrate on myself at the moment,” says Anagha.

About using this time to build resilience, Kavya, 31, goes, “Some days I’m powerful managing everything on the plate. Some other days, I’m lost and sleep at 10 with or without clothes. Sometimes the cooked food is too much for one to finish, even when you don’t feel like getting up and cooking for yourself. It’s like from ashes Phoenix rises; staying alone making me fearless and taking me far in self-control and resilience.”

One of the first-ever phrases we learn as children is John Donne’s ‘No man is an island entire of itself.’ The poem continues into the lesser-popular verse, ‘Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.’ We are all essentially tethered to one another. We are all part of the main, and while these are challenging times, we hope that each of us will find the courage, resilience and kindness to get past this, and come out of it stronger.

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