From the Diary of a Teenage Girl: A Trip to Remember

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My lock down experience is nothing less than an adventure like a roller coaster ride.  The adventure is not only limited to my expedition to the most craved destination, but it is also a journey through my human revolution.  I used to think that wouldn’t it be wonderful if all my wishes are granted by waving a magic wand?

I am just an ordinary teenage girl, but according to my family and friends, I am a critical analyst and forthright in my views.  Well, these are just a refined version of who I actually am.  The ground reality is that I am a grouch, who always finds something or the other to whine about.  I would blame people and situations when things do not turn out the way I wish. 

I hated to be under constant supervision of my parents with their ‘Thing to Do’ List.  I couldn’t take their nagging and their sermons of how to behave like ‘Miss Goody two shoes.’  Our day to day arguments would revolve around our conflicting views.   It would not be so bad if things just ended in our daily family drama.  My lecturers would not let me live in peace.  They would torture me with the assignment’s deadlines, test dates, and the never-ending project works.  I wonder if God created teachers so they can snatch away the smiles from children’s faces.  Arrghh….

I used to think that I could fix everything if I run away from the situation.  I wanted to break free from the shackles of the supervision of parents and teachers.  Just then, I stumbled upon a solo trip to Ladakh on Facebook.  I thought that this was the only chance I had to uncage myself.  Despite the looming fear of the spread of Corona virus in foreign countries, I packed up my bags against my parents’ wishes.  I assured them that I would be back home soon.  I further convinced them that the Corona virus would not stand a chance in India because we were one of the hottest countries in the world.

Never in my wildest dream (um, I mean nightmare) did I think that I was only changing the location of my confinement.  In the first two days, I was relaxing in the Leh Hotel to acclimatize to the low-oxygen atmosphere of the high-altitude land.   I was spell-bound when I reached Pangong Lake.  The view of mystic cobalt blue, limitless skies with cottony clouds was breathtaking.  I sat on the banks of the color-changing lake, which was submissive to the dominating, barren hills to capture the picturesque landscape.  I was enjoying my aloofness from the world.  I whispered to myself that I would not mind if I breathed my last here.  Were you listening God?   I wished that time would freeze here and now, and then I would never have to go back to Delhi to my horrible life.  The sun looked tired and wanted some rest.  So did I.  It was cold outside.  So I headed back to the tin house to warm up with a hot cup of tea.  Just then, the owner announced that there are three positive cases of Corona virus in Leh.  I still did not take the virus so seriously. 

The next day, I returned to Leh Hotel and heard of thirteen more infected Covid-19 cases.  Why would I care because my flight was scheduled for the next day?  After feasting upon the buffet breakfast, I went to the reception with my luggage.  I observed that Riggy (Rigzen Korpon), one of the office staff at the hotel, was perturbed about something.  She told me that the administration banned foreign tourists from entering and suspended all commercial flights as they were battling to curb the spread of the virus.   I was still indifferent to the situation and did not give enough credit to Corona for the possibility of the havoc it could play in my life.  I tried to comfort her by saying that Corona does not have the potential to spread in India.  She stressed by repeating that my flight is cancelled.  Do you know what that means?  I instantly asked her to open the news channel.  India was under lock down until 31st March, beginning from today.  She further added that they were shutting down the hotel as they need to obey the law.

I somehow managed to reach the airport.  The place was overcrowded, with people falling on top of each other.  I feared that the food at the café would finish by the time I reach the counter.  I thought it would be wise to store some food before the stock ends.  I used up most of my cash to buy food for the next few days.  I looked for a quiet corner where I could rest until the flights resume.  After having a heated argument with my competitor for the same spot, I finally managed to conquer it.  I saw several messages and missed calls on my mobile.  I tried to calm down my anxious parents.   I tried to console them as much as I possibly could.  For the next two days, I managed to survive on the sandwiches and tetra-pack juices, but soon the sandwiches had a foul smell, and I had to throw them away.  On the third day, I almost starved to death.  I had no clue how I would survive till 31st March without food and water.  To add to my misery, the level of oxygen was already low in Leh.  The washroom was stinky.  I did not take a bath ever since I left the hotel.  I was stuck away from home.  I wondered if God was listening when I wished that I do not have to go back to my horrible life.   I was in tears and desperate to return home.  I realized how much my parents care about me.  I promised myself that I would not complain again.  I wished with all my might to get my life back.   Just then, I thought of Riggy.  I called her up immediately.  I begged her to let me stay at her home for a few days, and I will pay her once I return to Delhi through online banking.  At first, she was apprehensive about letting me in due to Corona virus.  However, her generous heart welcomed me.  Although she lost her job, she refused to take money.  It took me four hours to walk down to her house from the airport.  I felt much relieved after taking a bath.  She offered some snacks and tea.  My parents took a sigh of relief when I told them that I am living with Riggy until the lock down ends.

The lock down taught me to be grateful for the things I have in my life rather than complaining.  Running away is never the answer to my problems.  Last but not least, it has taught me to be careful about what I wish for…. It might come true.

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