Waking up by twelve in the noon, after my very own abysmal sleep pattern, the first thought that popped in my head was the deadline concerning my design brief. Let alone certain exceptional cases, isn’t procrastinating and rushing the work to the very end a classic human trait? Stepping back to my mundane life after a brief eight hours of sleep, determined to at least figure out the mere basic concept for my design problem, I quickly jotted down a customized time slot for the various productive tasks with some leisure hours and sat right across my laptop staring. In a flash my eyes rolled on to the muddled unmade bed, which the inner OCD soul could not take the sight.

Winner | RTF Designer’s Days of Quarantine 2020

Category: Essay Writing
Participant: Vaisnavi Giridharan
Profession: Student
City: Chennai

I spontaneously cleaned the room, straightened every single crease on the quilt, and placed the pillows at a considerate acute angle perfectly center, leaving equal space at each side of the bed. After all my whims and fancies, finally satisfying my compulsive behavior, I went back to staring at my screen to spark some kind of abstract. Moreover, this time for a change contradicting form follows function, I tried deciding my form first and further eventuating its function. And after three hours passing by I ended by with amazing doodles and constantly oscillating my focal point from the ceiling to the sill of my bay window with random thoughts going on in my head. Eventually coming out of my dreamland cause of a notification which reminded me to continue my daily streak. Realizing learning German was the only sole new thing I picked up during this quarantine, I quickly glued to it and started translating “nein, keine ahnung“ in Duolingo app. At the end of completing 10 levels, establishing myself at the top of the silver league I decided to resume the staring job.

Whiling away all the precious time I ended up figuring that all I need is some fresh air and change of place to ignite the thought process. Of course with all the global pandemic scenarios taking place, certainly cannot afford some sumptuous pub or café. So I quickly grabbed my stationeries, sketchbook, and site analysis sheets headed to my terrace. Now feeling on top of the world, having a new focal point to gaze upon I gave a fresh start to resolve my form. As I looked out all the small buildings that are considerable at the ground level, made me to compare all life misery similarly. Once we break them into small pieces and view the different perspectives, it is easier to solve them. But the prime question is, will this same funda work with this catastrophe. In classic ethics, a thought experiment known as the “trolley problem“ where a runaway trolley will run over five people unless it is switched to another track which would result in only one death. Drawing parallels to this ethical dilemma, our pandemic scenario has diverted us from the track of normal life in order to save lives from the virus. But in this same process we have switched over to a track that destroys livelihood, wellbeing, economic value, and all other goods we care about.

Everyone got their own struggle due to this pandemic yet the people who are most affected are the daily wagers and the migrants who have been made stranded and robbed of their daily income depriving food, basic needs, and transportation witnessing the greatest exodus in decades. Comparing myself to such plights I felt all relieved, cause all I go through is staying like a prisoner in my room engaging myself to the tunes of my mood. Nevertheless certain questions strike and gives me disturbing chills always. When will this end? Or is this the end? What about the goals and dreams of people which are halted all this time? Is it possible to get everything back to square one? All these questions made me to learn more about the previous pandemics in the hope of finding something relatable. Doctor Jeremy Greene, a historian of medicine at Johns Hopkins explained that an end can occur not because the disease has been vanquished but because people grow tired of the panic mode and learn to live with the disease. Will the people be able to adapt to such instances ever? Wearing masks every time I attend college or meet my friends, sanitizing now and then made me realize it kills the josh of going out and rather preferring to stay at home. With all the well-known, prominent companies settling down to work from home forever, will about to graduate students like me ever experience what exactly is to work in a workplace at their workstations along with their colleagues taking breaks and chilling out? And at last my thoughts narrowed down to educational trips and vacations, will that ever happen with a ban on gatherings of people for a couple of years or until the scientists develop the vaccine? With all these questions my fear of missing out escalated. But on the other hand, I was low key habituated to this quarantine life too.

As someone who considers herself politically and socially engaged, it was hard to accept the fact that I am loving this whole staying at home like a couch potato, occasionally doing something productive, moving my limbs. I also relished in the peculiar sense of this bracketed time by treating myself with delights, baths, and random binge watch. With a virtual debate going on in my head comparing the merits viewing both sides of a coin, my phone buzzed with my mom demanding to come home immediately making me realize that I successfully whiled away a couple of hours again literally doing nothing, except for those philosophical questions and thoughts helping me in no possible way. After passing my mom’s one hundred and one cleansing phases, I settled down next to my window with my sketchbook finally having some commitment to finish my task, but then another notification made me all lost again. Scrolling down my Instagram feed, I realized one of my very own random doodle could be considered as my form. In a fit of excitement, I quickly assigned the functions arriving at a plan satisfying both aesthetics and function. Appeased with the outcome, I stole a glance outside my apartment’s window, where a truck rolled by and a man wielding a fat blue hose spraying a mist of disinfectant onto the pavement and sides of the buildings. As I watched, the deep thoughts which I had earlier struck again, thinking about doomsday and concurrently having a vision of DEADLINE written bold and bright with red ink.


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