Dubai Diaries: Why my room is my best refuge in this pandemic
Are we all getting too used to staying in our cocoons?
A few years ago, if someone were to ask me what my favourite place in the world was, I would have said Delhi, my hometown. If I was feeling a little snobbish, I would finetune that answer to Parma.
The pandemic has changed that, it has shrunk our worlds so considerably that now if I was to be posed the same question again, I would say my room in my Dubai home. I am neither a loner nor a misanthrope.
In the days prior to the pandemic, I liked being out and about. But today, the comfort I find in staying tucked in my room and reading a book is unparalleled.
There is a sense of stillness I find in my corner that I cannot spot anywhere in the world. Is this making you insular, this Covid-imposed social distancing, someone asked me recently.
Frankly, I did not have an answer. Insular or not, I have truly begun to enjoy spending time with myself. It nearly makes me want to champion social distancing.
We are told man is a social animal. The need to interact with others is intrinsic to us.
But the pandemic has debunked that notion. It has introduced some of us to the unparalleled joy of being alone and discovering ourselves all over again.
Not too long ago, we were worrying sick about the loneliness epidemic — how it is leading to a mental health crisis. While the pandemic-induced social distancing has had its impact on mental health the world over, why is it that some of us are finding a bliss in this aloofness?
The primary reason is that socialising is no longer normative as it once was. That was a time when we assumed that meeting friends, going to a mall to shop, eating out, going to a beach were all a day’s work.
The pandemic introduced us to the idea of staying in our spaces and interacting with our loved ones virtually. It normalised the notion that we could exchange vows, attend funerals and even date people online. It created template for a life where we were forced to look inwards.
Today, if I find my peace in the confines of my room, it is also because there is no peer pressure to socialise. I now know that my closest friends, cousins, family members are spending their time pretty much doing what I am doing.
There isn’t something dramatic happening in their lives that would make me want to follow suit. It’s a liberating feeling. When things are seemingly alright, we sit in judgement — introversion is not healthy, interacting with others is. As social norms change, so do our perceptions.
Today, we can no longer pronounce judgements on how people are conducting themselves in their private lives, simply because, somewhere, we all are trying to fight the burnout and process the mental exhaustion that the pandemic has imposed on our lives.
A reason why perhaps, it’s okay to long for stillness. It’s alright to find peace in silence.