DOESN’T MATTER- A Day For The Chronically Ill In Pandemic by Nachi Keta

Wake up and pick your phone lying by your ears. Then open browsers and apps and read reports and articles and opinions on Pandemic, and get depressed because you know if you get the virus, you will die.

Don’t go out. You can’t. If you do, your heart thuds like the microphone of politicians claiming everything is alright, even if you wear all the protective gears in the world. “Politicians have a habit of farting words,” declare to the air in front of your nose, which you fear might contain the virus.

Virus virus everywhere. And no air to breathe.

To ease that sense of powerlessness that comes from being terminally ill and a pandemic to add to that, start watching something. Netflix, YouTube, Instagram Stories, doesn’t matter. Pick up a sitcom/ drama/ comedy/ thriller. Doesn’t matter. Watch it to boredom, and while staring into a screen in front of you, eat. Eat and eat. Eat like a pig until your stomach aches, your intestines cramp, your urine becomes hot and foggy and your eyes hurt.

Stop.

Suddenly become overly concerned about the kidney that is trying too hard to purify your blood and moan and wail that you can’t go out. Eat. You’ve to eat… to keep those serotonin levels high. Eat to keep yourself happy. Eat until the world ends.

And now that you’ve had your fill, visit the toilet and shit. Shit and shit, and while staring into your smartphone placed in front of you, on a table, feel how privileged you are, as you can at least eat and shit in self-quarantine, while there are slum-dwellers in Myanmar who are eating snakes and rats because of lockdown.

Doesn’t matter. Pray to the non-existent God – let them die. So that the virus can have its fill and leave you alone.

Come out and type ‘kidney’ in your browser along with ‘corona’. Search and research. Find out how the virus affects the kidneys. Then read more on Pandemic, make calculations about the number of cases that have risen around you, your chance of getting it from your family members, of your family members getting it from outsiders, of your getting it from thin air, because the patient quarantined in a private room in your neighborhood sneezed three hours ago.

Become philosophical. And read. And read more to deepen your understanding of the virus. Read about RNA and DNA and ribosomes, and increase your knowledge of economy and kidney. Read about Donald Trump’s recovery because only he is worth saving, whereas you are nothing. No, you are something. It is for you that the virus has come. It is to exterminate the likes of you–weak and ill and disabled, that the virus was invented by the Chinese. Or was it the US? Doesn’t matter.

Suddenly become positive. Because nothing matters. Take a deep breath. Look up and smile, and laugh and take another deep breath. Do you feel better? Can you smile? Can you feel your life? Yes, feel it- the life. Feel your kidneys worsening as you eat and eat, and shit bricks and pee yellow fluid that stinks. Feel the air in your lungs, which you fear might contain the virus.

Virus virus everywhere. And no air to breathe.

Ping a few friends in search of a conversation.

When they are available, you don’t enjoy talking to them. You fear they’ll mention how they can go out and play and have fun. Feel jealous of them. Dislike all those images and videos and snaps they post on social media, even though with masks on. Feel as if they are teasing you. Hate them. But the next moment, feel lonely. And stand up and take a long walk across your 6 by 6 feet room. A one-hundred-twenty-steps walk is loooooong when you are quarantined in a room, and you can’t do dogshit about your situation.

But doesn’t matter. Forget it. Force yourself to forget everything and start a small conversation with the screen of the smartphone during which you are as quiet as Space. And the screen is the one doing all the talking. Ping another one. Talk with them. Talk and talk… about lovely things that the world has to offer. Now write something. You are calm, you can write, make a coffee and write. Do not let others fool you that writing heals. But still write, because deep inside, there is something that gnaws at you when you don’t.

Write something like this: I have begun / To like these cold, slow late nights / Of loneliness… along / With a binge-worthy television / Sitcom. And a set / Of memories, I am trying to put / Behind the bars of the screen.

These slow turgid nights are like repetitions: / Of a certain kind, which / Make me write these dreadful verses / Perhaps, / And repetitions are useful, someone / Told me once. They are painful / But full of use.

Stop writing. Suddenly. Watch a movie that you have already watched, watch another movie. And now that the day is done, try to sleep.

You need not switch places. Don’t worry. You were always on your bed. Put a cloth around your head and close your eyes and keep them closed. Roll over the bed, wake up and pee and come back and roll over the bed. And shit. And come back. And roll over onto the bed. Dream a frightful dream. And wake up in the middle of the night.

REPEAT.

And be grateful. True, nothing ever happens in the plot of your story, but at least you are alive. Still.

A dropout of various institutes Nachi Keta is a Kidney Transplant Recipient and a neurodiverse writer from New Delhi. His name is a combination of two terms: Nachi, which means ‘death’, and Keta, which means ‘a creative force’. His work focuses on mental health, oppression and the absurd in social and personal.

His words have found a home in various magazines like Perhappened, The Bombay Review, The Howling Press and Sock Drawer, an updated list of which can be found here: nachi-keta.com.

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