Lucky for Andrea, the day the lockdown was announced she was at her home in Chennai. She remembers this tight feeling that encapsulated her chest as she heard the announcement being made. “I thought to myself- this is what people in J&K are living through. I wondered what would happen to all the daily wage labourers, and in hindsight, it turns out nobody really thought about them at all. I had a lot of anger towards the system, I had a lot of guilt that my life was good while so many others were suffering for no fault of their own; I had a lot of anxiety about the future, I felt helpless about the fact that no matter what I did to help others, it would never be enough,” she looks back.
“To be honest, it was never the pandemic that I feared, it was the lockdown.”
“This lockdown has taken a toll on every single one of us,” explains Andrea, “including those of us blessed enough to have all our needs met. It has slapped every single human ego out there: how can anyone ever be sure of anything anymore?! In a way, this entire experience is a great cosmic lesson: that nothing is ever in our control. It is merely an illusion of the ego. And how did I cope with it? Yoga, reminding myself to be grateful, surrendering to the powers that be, and a whole lot of baking!”
The real horrors is not the virus but the issues that are unveiling around it
Andrea was a part of Arivum Anbum, directed by Kamal Haasan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in India, featuring 12 artists and was released on YouTube this April. The hard-hitting song captures the ground reality of the pandemic and how the solution should be rooted not just in intelligence but also in love and compassion. “Implementing first world ideas are not going work in a country like India, where there is a population of 1 billion people. These measures are impractical. The real horror is not the virus but the issues that are unveiling around it, real humanitarian crises. If you see Arivum Anbum you’ll understand what I’m trying to say. Social distancing and self-isolation is a privilege.”