To my dear past self,

I’m writing to you in the month of June 2020, addressing you who sit unaware of the future following March 2020. Why? Because the world turned upside down in the last few months, in a way no one expected, and certainly not you or me. The entire world is under lockdown, restricted movement and social distancing due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. With the ongoing public health crisis, we have all made some significant changes in our lifestyles. I suppose this letter is a way of preparing you, of reminding you what to savour, what to expect, and how best to adapt. Your future self is still in the throes of getting used to a new world. I don’t have answers for everything, but if this letter could make its way to the past, I’d like to give you some advice. 

Find happiness in the normal

But, what is normal? Because as time passes, you won’t know what is normal and what is not. Right now I shall define a bit of normal for you: What you are taking for granted like taking a ride to a place we would like to check out with our friends, having a drink, gobbling some food with them and then, hugging them, hanging onto them (literally), breathing in and letting go. I miss all of this. 

Letter
Picture Credits: Akanksha Ghansiyal

What do I miss the most? Maybe, the time my friend R would jump on me, redefining personal boundaries. Anyone could be a victim of R’s sudden up-and-close-love attacks. I miss how easy it was to just sit back and share food without trying to figure if we could infect others. So, enjoy these moments, hang on to them because these ordinary moments are the ones that you’ll miss the most.

Savour those travel plans

Most of all, I miss travelling. I miss the breeze on my face as I take in the scenery of the respective destination I might be visiting. Yes, something as simple as the breeze on my face. Because we are currently living in a world where you cannot step out without a mask covering most of your face. I implore you to not cancel ANY trips. Go on that Goa trip that was planned for the Valentine’s Day weekend this year. It’s R’s birthday trip on 14 February. You will feel guilty later if you don’t go. Not to mention, travel will be non-existent in the coming months. I know you feel uncomfortable around strangers, but IT DOESN’T MATTER. Soon even a trip to the grocery store will be a challenge. So, don’t let go of any opportunity to travel. Say yes to that trip to Gokarna that G invited you to on 20 February. Yes, it does sound very last minute. But, don’t read so much into it. Say “Yes” for a change.

Letter to myself
Picture Credit: Akanksha Ghansiyal

I know, just recently you have come to realise ALL the benefits of exercise and fitness, and you have been looking for the best regime. It will still be possible after a weekend trip. 

Stop lounging everywhere. Yes, I know you need to catch up on your shows during weekends, but move your ass off the bed and get OUT! GO watch movies, go restaurant and pub hopping, visit parks, meet your friends. 

Treasure the time you spend with friends and family

SPEND AS MUCH time as you can with the ones you love. Tell mom you love her more often. Tell dad he can scold you later, and gently punch that chubby stomach of his, because you like to see it wobble. Have mock fights with your brother more often, tease him as much as you can on your trip together, because that moment is precious. You will not only not get it back again, you will also not know when you can do this again. Do not miss the chance to enjoy your life as much as you can. Go on a date, that date with S that you keep planning but never go on.

Picture Credits: Akanksha Ghansiyal

I understand this makes it sound like I might be dying. But while waiting for this lockdown to end, I have thought long and hard about this. About how short life can be. About what is important, who is important, what I need to sort out, what I need, and what I want in life. And that’s what the advice has been tailored around. My clarity on what is important to help you appreciate those moments and people. 

Watch what you want, not what you SHOULD watch

Watch better K-dramas. I understand you love to binge-watch shows but, pick better ones. Also, just because you have time doesn’t mean you CANNOT leave shitty shows in the middle. Please break this stupid rule of yours. It doesn’t make any sense. If you’re not enjoying it, just wrap it up and go out instead. Yes, I know how you keep making excuses to not do that. But, trust me—after 3 months of being forced to stay indoors, just thinking about the act of getting ready to go out sounds orgasmic. 

Make these small changes in your daily activities

  • Hug more often.
  • Kiss as much as you want to.
  • You must be reading a lot of news anyway, so I am just going to confirm your fears and tell you—yes, things are about to get worse. Try to not get anxious. Have patience with yourself and the situation around you. Concentrate on the things that you CAN control. Things that you can change for the better.
  • Take a little longer in the shower. The whole idea of ‘getting started with the day’ should bring more than just a little excitement. So, enjoy the entire process of ‘getting ready’. Pick your playlist and dance along. Be patient with your cat-eye liner, wear those ‘earrings’ you’ve picked out for your OOTD, take time to brush and style your hair, instead of yanking it into a pony, choose the brightest shade of lipstick you have, and don’t try to dim the colour with a tissue. Nothing is too much, it’s all only in your head. Wear your favourite right shoes, put on those shades, and get ready to take over the world. Because you can!
  • Wrapping your hair and face in the auto to protect from pollution? Sure. But, don’t forget to enjoy the ride. That field right next to the HSR main crossing smells like weed, right? In future, you won’t be able to smell that freely with masks on. Or the ripe mangoes in the heat of summer. Tell Ak, you miss her. Tell her that your shared auto rides have been really fun and adventurous with her. 
  • Hug R. Try to not scream and scold her. Let her be. You will miss her idiosyncrasies later. 
  • Hug M once at least. Both of you are awkward bunnies, but it will be nice to see her annoyed face once before she leaves. Making her uncomfortable is your favourite pastime right? Take full advantage of it!
  • Give Vinu a hug. Relish each and every minute of lunchtime with your lunch buddies. 
  • Don’t start stressing as soon as you enter yoga, YOU ARE ON TIME. Twist and turn with G. I know it’s hilarious to look at each other while doing those poses. So, laugh more, fart and burp more during the hour. Don’t hold it in. Although you do have to hold your poses for a few seconds.
  • Remember that watermelon juice after every yoga session? Drink slowly and savour the cool sweetness. 
  • Book your app cab ride and stop cursing so much if it takes too long to arrive. You will miss even this. 
  • Remove your face gunk and clean up every night.
  • Read your newspaper, talk with your roommate, and journal more. 

Live life with joy and enthusiasm. So that when it all changes a few months later, you won’t look back and say, “If only I had….”. 

With lots of love,

A (just a few months older)

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