Saturday 21 March 2020


Am I naive to call it that? Probably. But I would rather be naively hopeful during a global pandemic than be destroyed by fear of a thing I exist with daily, hourly. And that is extinction by infection. Talk about unromantic language. Some English consonants are not the prettiest sounding.

There are cars whizzing past, still. And the sound of conversation, laughter and once, a child crying next door. My mother is chopping vegetables for soup tonight. And my father is doing his floor exercises. On Friday, schools closed their gates around Britain, following suit behind most of Europe. The supermarkets are buckling under the strain but community morale and practical solutions are being invented by a world used to being superhuman, charged by motivation and productivity and consumption. Oh dear. More of those consonants.

Let’s steer towards the sea. And Venice’s clear waters.

On Monday, I had my six monthly dose of Rituximab, which depletes my B cells, and takes me on a briefly intense chemotherapy journey. Then it passes. But the meeting place of a new virus, further immunosuppressive drug therapy and continuing chronic illness is... interesting. This slow paced, enforced self-isolation life? This is my jam. This is where I dwell as a matter of course. This place is never quite comfortable in a world of motion and forward full speed ahead-ness, but it is home, for me. Am I better prepared than you for the quiet life? Perhaps. Well, except for the extinction by infection part.

The post and delivery men come and go. Retired NHS staff are returning with sleeves rolled up in solidarity. The birds were riotous earlier this week, but sounded a little subdued today. Humans, eh? they roll their eyes at each other. Just can’t tell what they’ll be up to next.

Are you coping alright? Is the quieter pace of life easy for you to adapt to? Or are you among the population who are busy doing at home work-outs, creating community cohesion networks, magazines, reading groups? I feel tired just thinking of the ways in which people are stopping, slowing down and finding ways to ‘do things’ in a time of government mandated no-doing. Perhaps this is because I have had a winter of respiratory infections already, and I have almost no energy to worry about a virus that seems to be making most people very considerate. But I gathered just enough to upload a vlog to my ancient channel, in case you want a little glimpse into my life! My skills are desperate, but there's always a chance I'll get better :)


  1. Shaista, I too already spend most of my life indoors. As writers and readers we are never at a loss for ways to pass the time. I am thankful for online, my poetry community, and the connections we have to the wide and wonderful world of online poetry. Stay inside your house, my friend. This is one germ that cannot have you. I am off to listen to your vlog now. Mucho impressed. I can barely operate a flip phone, lol.


  2. I do hope things get better for you and you can stay clear of this awful virus.
    I am sure you will love the coming of Spring. Sending good thoughts for you from
    the U.S.