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'Letting the world know we will be back!'

May 21, 2020 09:27 IST
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'The world outside my window now is mostly uninhabited, barring the few masked figures that skirt around my shadow as I walk the empty roads for the occasional grocery run.'

IMAGE: Customers queue up to have their temperature taken outside a hairdressing salon in Singapore. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

People of Indian Origin and NRIs describe the impact coronavirus is having on their lives.


Khyan Kotak, 20, Singapore

Initially when the news of the virus came out, I didn't think much of it.

But as time progressed and things got worse, the reality and the ramifications of this virus started to become very real.

I am a theatre student/practitioner from Mumbai living in Singapore.

In theatre we have a tradition, whenever the theatre is empty, we are always sure to leave one light on.

Typically, it is on a stand in the centre of the stage. This light is known as the ghost light.

There are many stories of its origin, but its meaning is unmistakable.

It means though the theatre is empty, we will return.

So, here's to us: The actors, the technicians, the directors, the carpenters, the designers, the dancers, the teachers, the students, the freelancers, those on tour, those at sea, the electricians, the stitchers, the makers, the stage managers... THE ARTISTS.

Photograph: Khyan Kotak

Many of us, myself included, have taken big hits during this virus.

Financial and emotional weights have come crushing down, as our entire industry has been reduced to nothing but a bunch of ghost lights.

Those ghost lights are temporary place holders. They are a sign.

We might be down now -- but our passion, our creativity, our drive is still center stage.

We will be unplugging those ghost lights in no time.

But for now, here's a ghost light to let the world know we will be back.

IMAGE: Free meals being distributed to the elderly in Singapore's Chinatown. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

On the personal front, as the quarantine gets continually extended, I find my anxieties to be on a tumultuous climb.

The world outside my window now is mostly uninhabited, barring the few masked figures that skirt around my shadow as I walk the empty roads for the occasional grocery run.

Life seems quite mundane, a repetitive Kafkaesque cycle, that we have absolutely no authority over.

I find myself struggling to stick to a routine, clinging to the last shreds of my life before this but, I guess as humans always have, we have to adapt to this new way of life.

Very recently I spent my last few moments as a teenager stuck indoors.

Nobody to celebrate with, well, not physically at least.

I was reminded of something though, as I received texts after texts through the day wishing me on my birthday... I was reminded that I am loved dearly.

Though there was a physical absence of my loved ones, I felt far from lonely or alone.

And in that moment, I learnt to cherish the small things in life. The moments of interaction between individuals, a warm hug, a kiss on the head and the endearing circle of my friends and family.

Till things tide over and return to normal, till we can see each other again, here's me signing off.


The United Kingdom: 'Our world is coming to a complete standstill'

The USA: 'Indian Americans collected 6 months of groceries'

France: 'These are strange times'

Hong Kong: 'This virus has taken over the world'

South Korea: 'The virus has always felt at arm's length from me'

The USA: 'We are now the eye of the storm'

The Netherlands: 'As a healthcare worker I feel the continuous gratitude of people'

Luxembourg: 'Normal may never comeback'

The USA: 'A new reality is forcing its way into our lives'

The United Kingdom: 'Life, as I have known it for 16 years here, has changed'

The UAE: 'We pray for the return to normalcy with high fives and hugs'

China: 'We can't even take a U-turn'

Ireland: 'Only positivity can keep us going'

The USA: 'The worst is Monday mornings'

Production: Aslam Hunani/

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