Living History – Asavari Joshi, DLF Phase 4
Life during Corona.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
The lockdown is easing, but not the coronavirus. Even so, this “mahamari” too will one day become yesterday’s news. That doesn’t change the fact that we are living through a crisis the like of which hasn’t been seen in generations. One day, a century later maybe, when the longest-living among us too would begin to die, newspapers would commemorate the event as the passing away of the last of the people who lived through the world-altering Covid-19 pandemic. In brief, big-time history is happening now. And we are trying to prepare a part of its first draft by putting a set of questions about ‘daily life these times’ to people from diverse backgrounds.
Today, it’s Asavari Joshi. At 21, she works as an assistant dance instructor in a prestigious school in Gurgaon in the Greater Delhi Region. Although of course she isn’t going there since the time the lockdown began in late March forcing the closure of many institutions, including schools.
Ms Joshi lives with parents and grandmother in a sprawling apartment on the 21st floor of a residential high-rise in DLF Phase 4. In fact, this evening she nonchalantly shows on WhatsApp video chat a panorama of the so-called Milleneum City as seen from her balcony—the pictures are taken through the phone screen that connects her to The Delhi Walla. It’s a fantastic sight that has to be personally seen to be believed. The city is descending into the lap of the looming night in a dazzle of tiny glows—it’s as if thousands of stars have descended on the earth. While the sky is luminous with a pale blue shine that you might have seen in the work of certain French impressionist painters. “The absence of pollution is making the scene look like this,” notes the young woman. The other night she spotted a barn owl perched outside her window and she instantly took its picture (see last pic below).
Inside in the drawing room, Ms Joshi settles down by the bookshelf and starts to play her guitar. Here are her responses.
5 outdoorsy things you’ll do after the pandemic is over.
a) I’m dying to meet my friends, so will do that first.
b) I want to continue my guitar and singing classes in the studio (which isn’t very far from home though). Online is not as fun.
c) I So badly need to go shopping for summer T-shirts.
d) I am dying to have a good Chinese meal in Big Wong or at the Palms Club.
e) I wish to fly to Dubai to be with my father. I haven’t seen him for five months.
The view outside your window at the moment.
From my 21st floor window I can see people walking down on the ground. I hope they are wearing masks. Some, I think, are not keeping a safe distance between themselves.
The sky is blue and clear. I can see birds flying.
There are tall buildings all around.
What’s going on in your mind right now?
I’m thinking about a concert I hope to organise with my cousin brother—he’s a jazz guitarist in Berlin. This is actually my dream. I imagine myself singing and playing the guitar in the concert. I hope coronavirus will not stop me from making it come true.
Objects in your house that give you solace in self-isolation.
My guitar, my books (especially the ones by David Walliams, Roald Dahl and Ruskin Bond), my colouring book, my writing notepad and Alexa.
4. (Pic by Asavari Joshi)