Time Capsule | Ft. A Permission to See the Sky
We’re living in terrible times right now. I don’t think I’ve felt more helpless or lost at what to do. Over the last few weeks, I only visit one other spot apart from my house. I decided to write and make a podcast episode about this spot. As usual, I’ll urge you to listen first.
Hope you like it !
I give myself the permission to leave my house once a day.
I still don’t cross the boundaries of my apartment. I walk up the stairs, to the terrace of our building. Normally around sunset or in the night to witness the sky.
Once a day.
It’s been the only routine I’ve had in the past few chaotic weeks. The paranoia that I once had, has already started setting in. My parents and grandad still haven’t got their 2nd vaccine shot. Every morning, I check CoVID statistics and the number of deaths (last I checked around 3 lakh cases and 2000 daily deaths). I know they aren’t just numbers because I’ve seen my friends and other family members test positive. I also know of those who’ve passed away due to CoVID. These numbers were leading a life, they had a future of memories in their grasp, only for it to be disrupted or snatched away completely.
I used to go for walks before. Sometimes I would meet friends. I used to do the grocery runs sometimes at home, however we’ve stopped doing all of that. I haven’t left the boundary of my apartment in 2 weeks. Anything my family or I want, we try to get it delivered through someone else, while I sit in the confines of my room.
There isn’t any comfort in knowing I don’t leave home. There’s only guilt and helplessness at the fact I’m being spared while other people are going through the risk of getting exposed to a destructive disease in place of me. There’s a sense of agony at the fact that I’m feeling these emotions despite being in the safest environment anyone can possibly have right now.
I know the stats. I read the reports. I see posts everyday asking for help. I see constant requests of oxygen because people aren’t able to breathe. Of course, I try to amplify those calls for help, and I know the only thing I can do is help to the best of my capacity and stay put.
So, I don’t leave throughout the day.
And when I feel the weight and suffocation of sitting in front of a laptop and scrolling through the internet, I give myself and my paranoia, one permission.
To walk up the stairs, and head to the rooftop under the sky.
My apartment has 4 floors, and the terrace. One side faces the main road. The other directions, you can see vast parts of the residential area in Basavangudi, of course high rises block some views, like they always do.
The terrace is typical. There’s a locked lift room. Steel wires attached end to end one for clothes to be dried. Lots of DTH dishes, predominantly Tata Sky. Wires crawling through the walls. Pipes are at the corners and you can hear the water flowing sometimes. Maybe someone’s washing dishes or taking a dump. I don’t know.
It is an ordinary terrace.
Nevertheless, it is bigger than my tiny room. It is open. 99% of the time, it is empty and most importantly it’s the closest I can get right now to experience the vast and open sky.
I come to the terrace to breathe and gaze at the sky. Walk and look around my neighbourhood. Stare at the horizon and wonder how the people I know are doing. Think and overthink. Sometimes be blank. Luckily, Bangalore weather is at least getting better, so I feel the wind. It is a cool, friendly breeze.
More often than not, there isn’t anyone else on the surrounding rooftops. All I’m around is either the music of my playlist or the sounds of vehicles on the main road. Then, there are times where I’ll most definitely hear the sound of an ambulance siren. I can’t help but wonder whether the individual is safe. Is it a dead person being transported or someone who has chances to live? Which neighbourhood is the patient from? Are the family members safe? Will they find a bed? Is there enough oxygen to breathe?
I left my house feeling engulfed by such thoughts, only to visit the terrace for the same crushing thought process. I try to remind myself to not go down that rabbit hole.
Somedays, I can see evidence of people being safe. I could see a family playing with their baby on the terrace. Kids are cycling. Some are exercising. There are people who are making calls or reading a book. Being able to notice these distant figures doing something is oddly comforting.
I look up. To the sky. I get lost in the clouds. Trying to figure out if they’re forming any shapes I would recognise. I always think there’s a dragon up there. After a while, I am able to stay at peace because as I look at the sky, I’m drawn to all of my thoughts these skies have encompassed.
I’m taken back to my hostel terrace where I was ruminating and chilling. I was hanging out with my friend on top of a water tanker, when he got me to listen to the Beatles under the night sky. I was on the terrace, under the embrace of NLUJ’s skies when I had decided to start Curiousect. I think of all the concerns I had, and how they would evaporate once I spent time with my friends on the MCS rooftop.
I had a conversation with my friend a few days earlier. He told me he had finally gotten a job, after a grueling year of rejections, struggle, CoVID and disappointments. He stayed resilient while going through all this. I spoke to him, while on my terrace, under the sky, and felt delight in listening to his transformative journey during this period.
Over the years, I have linked the space around and above a terrace with freedom from burdens. Being under an open sky, under the clouds and the possibility of a starry night is incredibly soothing. I can relax. Take a moment. Walk around. Feel the rush of the winds and my cloudy mind parting ways for serenity.
I often think about how we’re living under the same skies, and the same stars. That, in this helpless isolation maybe there is some universality, and a capacity of boundless resilience. As I walk around and head towards the stairs to go home, I imagine seeing a shooting star. I wish those who require the capacity and luck to survive this chaos we are in are able to find it and I hope wishes made from an imaginary shooting star come true.
Well, that was it. What are you doing these days? How are you making sense of it all Let me know what you think !
Take care !