Its been a strange couple of months for all of us and life is slowly returning to “normal’. In a few days, my school will reopen and I will be thrust into the world of back to back classes, AP prep, unit tests, schedules and deadlines. Despite all my complaining, the past few months will forever occupy a cherished position in my heart. Hell, I’m already nostalgic for it.

Sure, the last few months have held panic, confusion and hard times. But it’s hard to not find a silver lining.

The pace of modern life is fast. We have so much to accomplish each day. We have our time calculated down to minutes. The pandemic forced us to drop our watches and calendars and throw all our plans out of the window.
It is perplexing that it took an entire global scale pandemic for us to realise that this scrambling mess of exhaustion that has become our routine, is not life.

Life now is New York at rush hour. But that is not how it is supposed to be. Life is supposed to be slow and steady, idyllic yet fulfilling. The rapid pace of today has taken the joy out of simple things. Producing music isn’t enough- you must produce every week to retain your audience’s attention, learning isn’t enough- you have to complete an entire book this semester.

When I used to walk outside, my mind was always preoccupied. I was thinking about my assignments, emails and other tasks I could have been doing. If anything, the pandemic has given us perspective. It shows us that despite what we do, nature can turn everything around. And it has forced us to pay attention to ourselves.

Why did everyone turn to baking bread? With all this time on our hands, why did we discover new passions and tend to old ones we’d discarded on the way? Was it because these idyllic small things give us more contentment than our work has ever given us?
I have fallen in love with sunsets. For some inexplicable reason, the orange is more vivid, the wind gentler and the birds prettier than ever. Or perhaps it is because I finally have the time to cherish it?

I finally tried all the things I’ve wanted to with my art. I always wanted to try oil paints, but when would I have the time between school, homework and extracurriculars? Not only have I now started oil painting, but I already have a few masterpieces to my name; an ode to the streams I eventually visited.

I have so much to be grateful for. My sister and I discovered our love of cooking and cooked dishes from multiple cuisines over these months. My family enjoyed game nights, a treat normally reserved for birthdays and the arrival of guests.

I sketched under the shade of trees, picked berries, and so much more. I woke up one fine morning, went into the woods and collected fresh pine needles just to make perfume. I truly do not remember the last time I indulged in something so frivolous and found such contentment. There is something so therapeutic in stirring pine needles, watching the bubbles rise to the surface and smelling the delicate perfume waft up.

It isn’t just these tiny moments either. I have studied science like never before. Not because I have to, but because I genuinely enjoy the subject. I have learnt so much about my friends too. It’s funny how there are so many friendships that exist merely due to attending the same place. Apart from coincidentally meeting, there is nothing else that really holds this connection.

Nevertheless, this period has allowed so many of us to take a moment to ourselves and finally reflect. (In fact, my desktop apps have been arranged according to colour.)
As I write, my dad, my sister and I are busy making shrimp curry to surprise my mother. There is old Hindi song blaring from my phone and we’re laughing at my sister’s poor moves. It’s a weekday and we’d normally never have the time. Maybe its time for a new normal.

The pandemic has tossed our world upside down, but there is so much to be grateful for. Life might be different but it’s a few shades brighter in many ways.

-Adyesha Singhdeo