Eco-anxiety during the Pandemic

(Daniel Lee, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Eshwar Rajesh, a medical student pursuing MBBS from Madras Medical College, Chennai, India. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Outside the lobby of Med Central Laboratories, I waited anxiously on the edge of my seat. After hours of patience, the receptionist called my name. I could feel my hands trembling while I received the report. I frantically tore open the envelope and read the report “Negative for Covid19 by RT-PCR”. Do you know what that means? This was my ticket to go home after 8 months of duty as a doctor. All I saw during the 8 months were the constantly full hospital wards and unending beeps of ICU monitors.

After 12 hours of travel, I reach the Chennai airport and my driver was there to take me home. I don’t remember when I fell asleep, but I had the most beautiful dream ever – My home, my family, the green neighbourhood, my favourite food and everything else that I loved. An hour later, I wake up drenched in sweat. I asked the driver if the air conditioner wasn’t working. He said that he wasn’t supposed to use it as per the Covid19 regulatory guidelines by the government. I was slightly annoyed. My hospital has a centralized air conditioning mechanism and it has been a long time since I experienced such scorching heat. I looked outside the window, the city looked all white and grey. New shopping malls, buildings, offices and so much sophistication – literally an urban jungle! There were no greens in sight and I missed them.

In another few hours, I reached home. The neighbourhood looked different too. The roads were being dug for highway expansion and our walls were covered with dust despite my mom’s daily effort to clean it. Yes, I was immensely happy being back home but I still missed the greens.

The initial few days of my quarantine were blissfully perfect and in addition to that it started raining. No matter what the weather may be, a rainy day relaxes and soothes our soul. I missed going out and getting wet. I prayed for the rains to stay until after my quarantine was over, only to realize that it was a terrible idea. Our drainages were all clogged due to the roadworks and it had started flooding. My mom’s garden was decaying in the water-logged land and as each raindrop hit the ground, soil particles were displaced with no more trees to hold them in place.

Every day I looked out of the window of my room, I missed my usual ‘birdies’. I loved to hear the birds chirping and watching them on the perch getting ready to take off and fly around our house. Seems like they lost their homes. The more time I got time to myself, the more I saw. The more I saw, the more I realized what we have lost. The greens, happy rains, winged visitors and the feeling of home. I saw the greens leaving and the blues coming!

Hence, the change in climate often reflects a change in our mental state. But just like how we always hope for clearer skies, we can also look forward to a better and brighter change in our internal constitution.

About the author

Eshwar Rajesh is pursuing MBBS from Madras Medical College, Chennai, India. He has an exemplary academic record and impressive extracurricular talents. He is a national level swimmer and a skydiver, winner of various quizzes and seminars in national and international level competitions. He held the Limca National Record for being the youngest advance open water scuba diver in India. He speaks 7 languages and is a certified Pianist.

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