30 April, 2021 – Kolkata, India

By Puja Bhattacharjee

All I feel is anxiety and a headache. I do not know if the headache is from anxiety. I cannot sleep properly and, when I do, I dream of death and dead people. Today I spoke to a friend who told me that one of her colleagues died of COVID despite being fully vaccinated. Two of my friends have lost their fathers. A classmate of mine succumbed to COVID in the USA. She was only 28. I am haunted by her passing. She had so much potential.

I want to call a friend and talk to them. But friends are either down with the virus, or one of their loved ones is or they too are feeling anxious. I have never felt the need to talk to someone as desperately as I do now. Many states in India are already under lockdown; West Bengal just concluded its local elections and a lockdown looms on the horizon.

It is so difficult to get any work done in these circumstances. I sat down with a homeless family today. They are not afraid of the virus but another lockdown. So many of my friends and acquaintances are working hard to help people who need oxygen or a bed in a hospital. Some of them have contracted the virus but are still putting all their energy into helping people. I am not doing anything worthwhile but feeling mentally exhausted.

I find it incredibly infuriating that despite everything the country is going through right now, some people still won’t properly wear a mask.