The words are relentless. They appear on my Twitter feed. They show up in my WhatsApp messages. They sneak into my FB Messenger. Sometimes, they even make their way into my now largely defunct email inbox.
Each word, each sentence is a life. It is a friend. It is a friend of a friend. It is family. These are lives being ravaged by COVID. In its second deadly wave rampaging through India, this microscopic thing has been claiming lives, livelihood and health.
Those who survive have the haunted look of ones possessed. They struggle trying to understand how they managed to bring the virus home. They struggle with headaches, joint pain, blackouts and a near constant exhaustion. They struggle with the guilt too.
I wake each day bracing myself for yet another life lost, yet another family decimated by grief. I carry on, the mundane, rigid structure of my everyday life seeing me through.
I wonder about people I have not talked to in ages. I think of their families. I think of their children I have never come to know.
This hurt within me is deep. It is the call of the land I was born into. It echoes in my heart. It wounds me to watch the aerial views of the funeral pyres. Yet, I will not look away. I will bear witness to everything that is happening in my birth country, just as I did last summer here in my adopted land. I will fold my hands in supplication, include the dead in my prayers and remember.
It is all I can do. Remember. Recount. Record.