By Rameen Khan

Imagine if 2020 did not turn out the way it did
Imagine if there had not been a virus, the coronavirus, COVID-19
The deadly pandemic that forced us back into our homes
Our homes that became our safe havens, our retreat, our refuge and a means of protection, shielding us from the unknown.

But at the same time, clipping our wings and our freedom and confining us within our beige freshly painted walls
We watched the world change around us like a time lapse
Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second
While we could do nothing but watch in fear as if it were a horror movie; we were sitting on our comfy velvet couches cuddled up next to our mothers or fathers or brothers or sisters while praying for the storm to pass and the rainbow to appear.

Reflect upon the irony of the fact that staying apart made us stronger
It is said that “United we stand, divided we fall” but when our hands could not interlink in solidarity, our hearts did
When candle-lit dinners or lazy-late morning brunches were not an option, we turned to technology.

This taken-for-granted miracle that connects us to our loved ones on the other side of the world, in the blink of an eye
By pressing a couple of buttons, our mundane lives suddenly began to shine like the awakening of the world every dawn.

However, just like the disappearance of the sun at sunset marks the end of what we call a ‘day’, unexpectedly, everything we ever knew to exist closed down
From shops to banks to even schools – everything that comprises a society.

Let’s not forget the restricted access to our sacred places of worship that ground us to our spiritual roots
Intertwined, they cascade down and make a home in the earth to nourish our soul
Whether it was shoulder to shoulder in the mosque, church, temple or synagogue
It all seemed like a fairy tale, a dream, a fleeting impression that was just out of reach.

Picture in your mind, what is left when there is no security guard to check your bags on the way out of the store and who makes your heart race that little bit faster even though you double-check your bags beforehand to assure yourself you are not a thief?
What is left when there is no lollipop lady to help you cross the road even though you are certain you can do it yourself but just want someone to give you a warm and tender ‘good morning’ to brighten up your day?
What is left when the hospitals are full? When the whole world seems empty, but the emergency ward is mounting with sick people who are known as the ‘infected’ but who missed the chance to say ‘bye’ to their families?

Consider this – the very desire to fill the existential void strengthened our spirits
The wish to reconnect, hand to hand; the wish to take our masks off so we can actually smile to our neighbours and see their cheerful faces too
The wish to wake up to hear the hustle and bustle on the street, school bells ringing and dogs barking to the postie who drops the mail off each morning.

Not to wake up to news of another thousand cases in the country
News of more sick people who are not only being translated into numbers that we fearfully present to each other on exponential graphs that rocket into infinity, but also into living corpses that show us that indeed, one can be alive on the outside but simultaneously dead on the inside.

Although we mourn the weight of the losses that stopped us frozen in time and rendered us clueless, afraid, hopeless, with the burden of a million rocks placed on our shoulders
Our governments and systems of leadership always seemed to have the answers but even they were darting here and there in confusion.

Although we were divided, what united us was the wish to see the world again, in person and not just from our bedroom windows
The wish to live life to our hearts content and embrace new opportunities
Run free in the luscious green fields with our hair dancing in the wind and blow bubbles that are transient, ephemeral, transitory, like this moment in history.

The wish to dip our feet into the crystal-clear waters of the beautiful beaches where the sand meets rolling waves
Two entities so distinct that still find a way to meet and say ‘hello’ at the shore, showing us that there is always hope
Always a glistening light to search for amidst the darkness of the vast blanket that is the night sky.

Imagine if 2020 did not turn out the way it did
Imagine if there had not been a virus, the coronavirus, COVID-19
The deadly pandemic that forced us back into our homes but also, the deadly pandemic that opened our eyes, that transformed our perspective of the world and what it means to truly ‘live’.

Imagine, we would not have discovered such an amazing story to tell our grandchildren
A thriller that our little ones can curl up next to us and listen to, a history lesson, an adventure story.

Imagine if we were not thrust into a reality where life and death merged into one, bleeding confusions of happiness and tears, laughter and sadness
Then how would we be able to say at a bittersweet family reunion that we made it?

After all, it was only when our world was haphazardly turned upside down that we gathered the courage to fix it and turn it back around again
Just imagine.

Rameen Khan: I am an emerging teenage writer with a passion for poetry as a gift to express one’s opinion. My greatest inspiration is undoubtedly, the beautiful work of poet Rupi Kaur.

I wrote ‘Imagine’ because I want people to become comfortable with novel and unusual perspectives pertaining to the coronavirus. I aim to stimulate readers to imagine what life would have been like if COVID-19 had not occurred. In general terms, I aspire to emphasise that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’; every seemingly troubling situation holds the possibility of something good. I hope that readers finish my poem with a sense of optimism, despite the uncertainty of these unprecedented times of 2020. Without a doubt, during lockdown this year, I realised the significance of poetry as a healing form of therapy and strongly encourage readers to embrace writing as a source of genuine contentment amidst inevitable obstacles in life.

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tazmeen’s friend
tazmeen’s friend
11 months ago


11 months ago

This is so so amazing!

11 months ago

Wow this is amazing!

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