At the beginning of this Corona virus lockdown, when we were all supposed to be locked in at whatever place we happened to call home at the time and whoever we were with at the time and whatever resources we had at the time, for a lot of us who weren't with the people we really counted as our own, the first impulse was to get home, often by any means necessary. At the first rumble of the potential shutting down of flights,trains and buses, like so many birds flocking in the skies at the early rumble of an earthquake, people left in droves to be with their loved ones, even if they didn't particularly feel very loved or loving at all.
People flew thousands of miles to be with parents, buses are crowded with single people from the cities reaching back to their towns for the lockdown, and hundreds of thousands walked back in the searing sun with their families and children to their native villages, just so they could be with their own people, even if they had just left them behind a few months or years ago.
There is something about these big experiences that make us want to reach out to our immediate people and close ranks as it were. There is a reduction in the immediate term to what and who are essential for us. The shopping we do has become closed down to the basics of food and supplies - people are thinking about staples, vegetables and fruits. Maybe the occasional Chikki or chocolate if we can, but we don't really go around looking for it. Same with the people in our lives. We tend to group into our immediate circles, close rank and stay in the huddle.
The oeople we check on at these times from outside our immediate circles are quite limited. You might find the ocassional broadcast to all on whatsapp with a generic message that is carefully worded to sound personal as if it was typed for you specifically, something like, "Hey! I was thinking of you and how you are coping. Are you ok? You know you can call on me if you need anything, right?" and given that you yourself might have sent such out, even if you'd know that it is not really personal, you might still connect back for a moment.
The really personal connections are much smaller. Even with all the technology at our disposal, we tend to connect with maybe five to ten people. Not more than that, notwithstanding the large workplace zoom calls or attempts by some enthusiastic apartment society social person to get everyone on whatsapp group video calls.
Very, very few would have dinner the reverse migration at this time to some far off resort to be in their solitariness. Hardly any would have have checked into fancy hotels, unless of course you are a monarch with your retinue and an unlimited budget!
For the rest of us, our world does become quite small.
As written for The New Indian Express
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.