on lockdown with the rest of the world…

Week 1: a Saturday evening sunset at Redondo Beach, a site that is now closed

Week One (March 16-22): Two weeks ago, all schools in Los Angeles and most of California announced closure – initially for a few weeks, but now with a “probable return date of May 5” – and life as we knew it, came to a screeching halt. On Saturday night, René, Minal, and I drove to Redondo Beach to view the sunset. The drive took less than 35 minutes on freeways scrubbed of traffic. The next afternoon, we hiked in Eaton Canyon, but had to dodge crowds that congregated on the trails. Even though the trails were wide, no one could maintain six-feet distance.

Week Two (March 23-29): All readings, book festivals, and workshops were postponed or cancelled and fell like the collapse of a card house. I drove by Trader Joe’s to pick up supplies, but was deterred by the line of people who wrapped around the building, standing six feet apart. All public parks and trails were closed. One afternoon, while I walked in our neighborhood, a helicopter circled low to make an announcement through a speaker: Please return indoors. And mid-week in Karachi, on the other side of the globe, Ammi, my mother bumped her eye against a tree trunk and had to be rushed to the hospital. She is healing and remains strong, but her accident is a reminder of how powerless we are at a time when hospitals are unsafe and travel between nations is near impossible.

Week Three (March 30-April 5: Starts today. I have no idea what this week will hold, but I am aware that my family is lucky because we have most of what we need. Beyond my bubble, the pandemic is wreaking destruction on a global scale: international borders are closed; the death toll in Italy has surged past 10,000 while New York City is under quarantine; and a mass exodus is taking place in India as migrant workers scramble to walk home when the government ordered a 21 day lockdown for 1.3 billion people.

L: a dove on my patio fence; R: empty frozen food racks at Trader Joe’s