This story is by Ashna Chand and was part of our 2020 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The door slams hard due to wind. Christine wonders, “Is it the cyclone rising from the Arabian Sea?” As she hears the loud and scary sound of thunder, she opens the one and only window and watches the town shining with the lighting. The view of the town which normally gave her peace today filled her with worries. She envisages an upcoming mishap.
Christine came to Mumbai 10 days ago for her web animation course. And soon after their induction day, lockdown in the whole nation was announced. For a week she has been lonely and upset. The 2020 pandemic hit her hard. All her dreams of traveling around the beautiful lively city along with pursuing her art of animations had shattered. As the circumstances made everything against expectations; she could only expect something negative to happen.
She decided not to talk to anyone, regarding how she feels in the new place; even not to her parents. As it was her bull-headed decision to move out of her hometown and get the course done. She believed that living in a hostel would give her complete practical learning of real situations. In fact, her training had started since, the minute she landed in the town all alone.
Christine’s mother calls her every day. However, Christine would vigorously talk to her in short. Even in such a depressing time, she is not able to express her emotions to her best companion since childhood. Her negative and depressed mind forces her to see negative in every bit of this beautiful world.
Her phone rings, “Hello”, Christine answers in a very low and shaky voice.”
“Hi, I am Anna one of your tutor. I hope you recall me, we met last Monday.” a sweet voice acknowledges.
“Oh Yes, How are you, Miss Anna?” Inquired; Christine.
I am good, thank You. I hope everything is fine at your end. I called to inform you that, I stay very close to your hostel. So please let me know in case you need any help. As you are new in the town and fortunately having me as your tutor; you may surely expect any kind of help from my side,” said Miss Anna.
“Thank you so much, Miss Anna, it is so good to hear someone so kind in an unknown town. I am grateful to find such a kind mentor. I don’t know why, but talking to you makes me feel as if, I am talking to someone very close,” expressed Christine.
“Ma’am could I share with you something; saying so she busted in a cry. I feel lonely and sad since I have been in Mumbai. Indeed, it is my dream city and I love this city more than my birthplace. But times have been very bad till now,” intimated Christine.
“I understand dear, time is going tough for each one of us. Please do not worry; we are all sailing on the same boat. Well! If you see sufferings of the real ones affected by the pandemic; you will thank God manifolds for keeping you safe and sound. Do you know how lucky you have been to reach your destined town, just two days before lockdown?” Miss Anna consoled her.
“One of my friends was traveling back to her home in Mumbai and all of a sudden there was lockdown. Since then, she is stuck somewhere in a village for 15 days. But rather than feeling sad, she is feeling happy for getting a chance to help COVID-19 patients in a nearby hospital, as she is a nurse by profession,” explained Miss Anna.
“So don’t be sad anymore, be at home and be safe, all will be fine as before. Also, keep in touch with your batch mates online, watch videos, and available resources on the website. And take this period as an opportunity to practice more drawings and digital animations, guided Miss Anna.”
“Alright ma’am thank you, I will surely start to learn the skill myself with available resources as you said. In fact, I will soon send you the images or video of the next creative sketch, Christine replied.”
“Great! Keep up with your courage girl. You will surely find your way. Hope to see you soon, said Miss Anna.”
“Same here Ma’am, it was amazing talking to you, Christine responded cheerfully.”
As soon as Christine ended the call, she reflected on Anna’s words and her commitments towards taking tiny steps forward in the path of her dream. She wondered how mere listening to a positive plan from her mentor has resulted in exhaustive energy in her. She felt as if she spoke her mind out to her mentor. Just like, she spoke with her mother all the time. Nevertheless, now she blames and abuses her for awful circumstances.
Christine promised herself to seize hold of this chance. She prepared a proper schedule for herself every day and noted it in bold and big letters and pasted it on the window of the room.
“You have been my companion in my idle hours for the last few days. Also now help me figure out the tasks every day. The scenic view that you have given me makes me feel alive and present in my dream town. The sunrise view that you give me promotes me to move ahead on my journey.” Christine whispered as she glanced at the window.
Her room window opens to the amazing view of a quarter of the sea coast and amazing skyscrapers surrounding it. And she spent hours watching it. Due to the ongoing pandemic wave, she got gloomy and fearful thoughts many times.
But now a zest of doing different tasks has given her a happening way out. So, she follows her attractive schedule that includes some workout, Morning Prayer, sketching, and her self-study course work, cooking, and dancing.
Christine wakes up early the next day and works as per her schedule. She goes through various resources online on web animation and prepares a self-study plan until their actual course from university starts. She then prepares a wonderful sketch after years. She used to love sketching and since her childhood, she made wonderful drawings. Her parents always motivated her to go to arts, animation, etc. But during her graduation, she hardly got any time to sketch. Thus instead of going for masters, she opted to finally focus on creation with animation.
She forwards her sketch to Miss Anna, and to her surprise, she receives a bunch of appreciating compliments from her mentor. Anna added her to the special group of her productive students online, where all the students share their artwork and web learnings and also give critiques to improve from each other.
Thus she posts her sketches and initial animations regularly in the group. She receives genuine feedback and finds herself learning more and more every single day.
Sometimes fast and sometimes slow, her difficult time is passing by in productivity. It is Sunday morning; Christine has completed her two months of isolation in Mumbai. Looking at her only mate in this difficult time- “the secret window”, she reflects on her initial ten days and the days later. And she notes down the differences, how she felt pressed under sorrow when she kept her mind idle and only listened to the pandemic affected sad stories.
Whereas clashing the negative thoughts, she felt drastically positive and productive after communicating with her outstanding mentor. She will be obliged and owned by Miss Anna throughout her life. She reflects how later time has been well spent in the city of dreams and helped her fulfill her dreams.
“I heartily pray that the worse conditions improve very soon. The people affected by the pandemic be cured and Almighty be with them, prays Christine.”
“During this unusual period, I have realized “the unseen truth”; which is – Isolation or Loneliness is just the matter of perception of one’s mind. It is only me who could make myself idle and gloomy or better make myself busy with something and get exposed to positive thinking and consequence, Christine says by her experience.”
She also realized how harsh; she has been to her parents. She immediately called her mother. As soon as her mother receives the call, she mistakenly asks, “What are you working on next Christine?” “Is it a sketch or a new animation?”
“What? Are you Miss Anna? Inquired Christine”
She was shocked when there was silence on the other side of the call.
Maa! It’s you. Really, it’s you who has been my true companion throughout my Isolated Journey. I am so sorry to misunderstand your true love. Please forgive me if you can.
Oh! My darling Christine, I love you as always. And you have made me proud of yourself.