Forty five days into #Lockdown, Disquiet in Isolation…..continues

May 8th 2020

Forty five days into #Lockdown – Hemingway’s title For Whom the Bells Toll comes to mind, as apt for our workers seeking to get home to their villages, as does the novel by Camus –The Plague, which journalist Nirupama Subramanian writes of in her article, The Moral Contagion, in the Indian Express, May 5th. “..what can we learn from this work by a French writer from another era whose work strikes a chord at so many levels with our present situation?’, she asks. Lalit Surjan , chief editor Deshbandu Group of Publications, cites on Twitter, the novel  Jungle by Pulitzer Prize Winner Upton Sinclair, written in 1906. This novel revealed the shocking exploitation of immigrants and the unsanitary conditions of labourers in the meatpacking industry, in the United States. How have conditions improved after more than a century in India? Our workers carry out their tasks in all-weather, most without proper safety gear, only to end the day’s labour with a pittance and no real shelter over their heads. They are forced to live  ‘huddled’ together – for instance -on construction sites, all over our country.

We must hope that corporations will have had the #Lockdown phase to rethink policy for their workers.

28th March 2020

The images of ‘migrant’ workers, carrying a few belongings, walking away from the city of Delhi in throngs, in late March, has filled me with such dark despair. I could not help but wonder what thoughts must be flitting through their troubled minds, in these desperate times – with the fear of imminent death from the COVID19 virus, far away from their villages?

Why use the term ‘migrant’? These workers travelled to another part of their own country, to earn better wages.

And what about those who live by themselves, their angst…?

Disquiet in Isolation

Are you scared
of being alone too long
with thoughts that spill over
from the past,
memories drowned,
you do not wish to dredge?
Are you scared
of being alone too long
with whispers from empty corners,
visions that float unbidden,
like dust rising with the breeze,
you cannot yet evade?
Are you scared
of being alone too long
tomorrow, with premonitions,
uncertain of the infrequent shadows
walking beside you, if any,
for they may all be unknown?

Breathe deeply,
Inhale, exhale-
Angst is just another word.

Published by Jayshree M. Tripathi

Jayshree Misra Tripathi lived a nomadic lifestyle from 1986 till 2015, as the wife of a career foreign service officer in the Indian Civil Service. She has written from across three continents - as a freelance journalist, poet and chronicler. Jayshree followed up her MA in English (Literature) from Delhi University (1978), with a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Rights Law from the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru (Distance Education programme, 2001). She has taught English Language and Literature, been an examiner in English for the Diploma of the International Baccalaureate Organisation and was their trained Consultant.

2 thoughts on “Forty five days into #Lockdown, Disquiet in Isolation…..continues

  1. I work with people affected by domestic violence in the South Asian diaspora. Although for most of us, social distancing and isolation could be life saving practices amidst this unprecedented global health crisis, for many, isolation is fraught with dangers of it’s own. Advocates and anti- DV case workers now look upto relatives and friends to be creative and find ways to stay connected with those loved ones they think might be getting abused behind closed doors.

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