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The idyllic mood of the day was spoilt by the evening news today. Starting from tomorrow, our district is going into complete lock-down, a strict one at that, for all of one week. Though things had been gradually ‘unlocking’, and life was slowly limping back to normal, with the fresh increase in new cases of Covid-19 and the fear of community spread looming large, the government, rightly so, has decided to take the necessary steps of shutting down everything in a bid to contain.

The news set our – the L&M’s and my – minds racing. Do we have the necessary things to see us through the week? The response to that one question throws our approach to life, and things in general, in sharp relief. ‘We don’t and we are doomed,’ is the L&M’s bleak outlook on the situation, whereas mine is a more upbeat, ‘We ought to be good or else we’ll make it good!

Do we have enough rice? He wants to know. Of course we have enough, my reply leaves him unconvinced. You see, we were supposed to go grocery and vegetable shopping tomorrow or rather, order it online. Neither are going to happen this week. Still it is no cause for worry. There is fish in the refrigerator, some vegetables too, plus some greens in the garden. The confidence with which I say it mollifies him somewhat and he goes off to watch television.

Meanwhile I am busily calculating how long the rice will last, but only because I don’t want to have an ‘I told you so!’ on my hands in the following days. The world hasn’t come to an end yet, and is not going to in the next week. There will be one shop open in each area, and on top of that, the policemen themselves have been tasked with delivering in case of an emergency. Where is the cause for worry?

While in school, I came across a quote from Leonard Louis Levinson. I liked it immensely for some reason and had it jotted down in many of my notebooks.

“A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them.”

I fancied myself to be the optimist in that quote during school and college days and would tell my buddies so. I think I still am one, which is a good thing really. Though I wouldn’t call the L&M a pessimist, sometimes he is rather close and at such times it is my being the cloud-walking optimist that comes to the rescue.

© Shail Mohan 2020