Bindiya Bedi Charan Noronha
I discovered quite early that we humans are dichotomous, as is life.
I oscillate between fear of actual death and fantasy of eternal life. I strongly feel that we humans invented Gods and superpowers to protect ourselves from such unknown terrors.
That is why I write. I become the narrator, the plot, the characters, and their voices.
I create imaginary entities that protect us. I envision and bring to paper larger than life personalities, the voices who speak what I, as a reader, want to hear. I want to create a new world.
I juggle with my lesser self which pricks me, ‘Do you even have a vision? You are an ordinary girl. How will you clamber onto higher realms where your thoughts become instant realities?‘
Yet, I tread along, conversing with this young one, as she shares with me the trepidations going on in her pure and beautiful mind.
How could I explain to Simran that she might not meet the world I had created inside our doors? Should I end my pandemic story with its annihilation? Should I give it a happy conclusion? Would my belief make it happen?
Well, am I not a writer? And, can I not choose an ending I want?
Smiling at my naivety, I cross question Simran, ‘Before the pandemic, was the world normal?‘
I ramble on, ‘Humankind had reached the limit of vanity. It had become a world of appearances. Even in our third world country, the fight for survival was imitating the apparent happiness of the ‘first world’,’ to avoid the real issue. ‘The threat of nuclear bombs was replaced with the silent intimidation of viruses, biological and technical,’ I go on.
‘Then what happened? Do you think the virus was created in a laboratory?‘ poses Simran, her imagination running riot.
I am the aunt. I must be practical.
I kept a straight face and said philosophically, ‘The virus was created by the pride and vanity of human beings.’
It was a dark night, with deserted streets and eerie silence in the city. And, here I was, a writer, circling around my universe, with so many unanswered questions from a young mind.
‘I wish I could summon Superman to swoosh out of his comic and put an end to the disease,‘ I said aloud.
Elated at the prospect, Simran winked at me, ‘Let us imagine big Bruty Boy is creating a new earth, for my future. He is fed up with selfishness. Humans use animals and discard them. They abuse nature too. Aunty, what do you want to see in the future? How will you like to see the world in which I will be an adult?‘ she asks.
I am looking for answers, I am scared. I am lost between the old world of known devils and the mysterious quotient of the new world. The vaccine against the virus will come, sooner or later. But what about my fears? The cure for fear must be found here. Fear runs from fantasy, the way that ghosts shrink from light.
Someone must write stories which push away the panic. Stories of a new world with compassion at the centre of it. Stories of creative value to push away the arrogance and folly of human beings.
I need an end to the pandemic story, a finale that can be a new beginning.
So that tomorrow, when Simran asks me, ‘Will everything be okay again?‘, I will not be afraid to say, ‘Yes, my dear, everything is going to be okay again.‘
‘Simran, I know what I want to see in your future world,‘ I tell her.
I want an earth where Kindness is the King.
My fears are evidence of emotional intelligence, and I will deal with them without transmitting them to my niece. I want to give her hope.
‘Let us light up our cave with magical creatures. We will create a world of love and care. Even if some of us die, everything will be fine. Many people will live, the planet will outlast us, it will be a better world,’ I tell her.
My vision was clear and I felt strong. I realised I had found the ending of my pandemic story.
Bindiya Bedi Charan Noronha is a linguist, works in a diplomatic mission in New Delhi. She is actively involved in education and health initiatives for women and children through her organisation ‘Mil Baant Ke – Sharing with Dignity’. Her awareness of the world and passion for life find expression in paintings, poetry, articles and short stories. Her works have appeared in anthologies Musings of the Heart, Grey Constellation, Seasons of Life, and in the online forum Women’s Web. She has authored the book ‘Dream Keeper A Poetography Ensemble’, published in November 2019. Her second book is in the pipeline.
*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design or widely and freely available on the internet.*