Delhiwale: A windowless poet’s pandemic poem
Ms Saxena, a literature student, talks about her life during the pandemic.Updated: Jul 18, 2020 05:44 IST
Hers is an extraordinary room. It is without a window. “I miss the day light... miss seeing the world outside,” admits Tanisha Saxena, talking on WhatsApp video. A Master’s student in English literature, Ms Saxena, 22, is sitting in the said room this afternoon. It is her study. Here, she often writes poems. “The absence of windows does save me from distraction, and I’m really able to concentrate on my reading and writing,” asserts the young woman.
The windowless chamber, however, is not hers alone. Ms Saxena lives with parents in a three-room flat in south Delhi’s Ambedkar Nagar, and is obliged to share the room’s utility with her father, who runs a business of greeting cards. In fact, the desk in the corner is crammed with her books as well as father’s printing stuff. She rarely sits on that table. Her favoured place is the bed—a mattress laid down on the floor—with the pillow doubling up as “my true table.”
Looking about herself, the woman talks of how tough it is to stay at home. She feels that people these days, on social media, are constantly talking about doing productive things while confined to home. As if there was a competition of how productive one can be while indoors. It has taken a toll on her. But she has a coping mechanism—poetry. “I feel an unbearable pressure of doing things when I actually don’t feel like doing them at all. It is then that the poems I have written help me regain my confidence.”
Ms Saxena is also fast learning the fragility of things. “Earlier I would have ambitious ideas for my future; now I try to make only short-term plans.” For a long time, she was looking forward to that faraway day when she would have a job, that would enable her to make savings to fund a dream world trip. “But now it’s like... what do I have to do tomorrow.”
Ms Saxena wrote a poem in the early days of the pandemic, even as she was learning to live with the “constant fear of contracting the virus.” She agreed to share it with us.