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Care in Quarantine

Asmita Pal

We talk about the quarantine.
We talk about no meat
and how many eggs
and having Maggi for dinner.
We talk about families
and casualties,
lines and disinfectants.
The country being ruled by a pack of dogs
with well sanitized paws.
We talk about movies
and boredom
and Instagram
and irrelevant attempts at remaining relevant.
We don't talk about
the comb with my hair
on your dresser,
or your smell slipping away
from my T-shirt.
We don't talk about the silence after 'goodnight',
the looking up at the ceiling,
the substitute side pillow.
We talk about tiffs and
how closeness could solve them,
how tiffs exist because love does.
But we don't call it that anymore
because love demands touch
and all I have for a touch are smudged fingerprints on my home screen.
We talk about the day
praying it was not too different from the day before,
hoping tomorrow brings no surprises.
We tiptoe around yearning
lest one of us elope in the night
with a backpack full of sanitizer
and try to make it to Delhi or Kolkata on foot.
We say 'I'll take your leave', not ‘goodbye’.
We leave the video on
and let WhatsApp and Zoom calls disconnect us.
We say the trains from here might start soon but that's a bad idea.
We say everything we would have said anyway
but with a careful selection of 'if's and 'maybe's added for a buffer
lest one of us decides it's too hard and quits.
For two people who’ve been waiting six months to be together
we're not sure now's a good time to give it a name.
So, we call it care
and hope it survives the next day.


16 comments

  • Excellently expressed. Keep it up. Wait for more.

    Samir Bhattacharyya
  • Great writing, keep it up. Look forward to more ones. Best wishes

    Subhajit Roy
  • Beautifully expressed. Poignant. Wonderfully relatable!

    Vijay Kumar
  • Excellent! Keep writing! For yourself and for us!

    Sandip Daruka
  • Touched the chords of my heart. Keep writing. It releases the pain.

    Gitanjali Bagchi
  • Touched the chords of my heart. Keep writing. It releases the pain.

    Gitanjali Bagchi
  • True tale of the time …

    This is beautiful, and keep it coming

    Shumon Sengupta
  • Superbly written & resonates our state of mind. Keep writing.

    Avijit
  • This hit delicate nerves and made me shed some inadvertent tears I didn’t know i needed to shed. So so beautiful ❤️

    Simran
  • This hit delicate nerves and made me shed some inadvertent tears I didn’t know i needed to shed. So so beautiful ❤️

    Simran
  • Last two lines took my heart. It’s beautiful.

    Anamika Pal
  • “We don’t talk about the comb with my hair on your dresser, or your smell slipping away from my t-shirt” – these two lines resonated with me the most.
    Keep writing. :)

    Vasundhara
  • A solitary existence, a sanitised long distanced love for Covid 19 times, expressed simply and beautifully. Just love it.

    Shreedevi Nair-Pal
  • So beautifully and autentically penned….loved reading and am eager for more.

    Papiya Ghosh
  • So heartfelt,so poignant,so true….

    Indrani Roy
  • it’s beautiful. “Love demands touch” – that will stay with me

    Susmita

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