The Clarion COVID Call: Sinjini Sengupta

“Virus, yes.

But so much more!

Clarity. Conscience. Courage.

The kinds that only a catastrophe can bring.

Change. Chance. Crisis.

That which makes you sort life all afresh, this time with clinical precision.

You ‘need’ it or you ‘want’ it, you ask your child, and you stop mid-sentence surprised how you never thought of it before now.

Like you never thought of so many things…

When the choice comes, choose people not things, you hear you say.

Times have changed, and so have you in it.

Help is not what you seek but what you offer, and realize how they are but the same.

You rise above pettiness almost like you’ve been knocked awake from a slumber.

So long…

So long due.

Were you lost? Found, now?

Wisdom, not ego, becomes your lighthouse.

Prayer your guiding light. Prayers.

No, not at the altar. Deeper, deeper inside. For is there is God, She must be there!

It is not just your heart which has changed.

It is your life, too.

Life, away from lifestyle.

In which you let your eyebrow bush, in which you let your hair dry in afternoon breeze.

Food is now for different too, now that it’s your own cooking, now that your meals are down to single orders.

You place that order, to take that order. You bow to your own authority, to what is good for life to which you can only surrender. A choice that you must.

You pick your clothes from the stack, those that wash clear and dry soon. Clothes, for comfort, against the warm towel fresh out of sunshine.

It is so easy to breathe these days, without the smoke of angry traffic.

You sit cross-legged over tea against the fading evening and watch the sun and moon see eye to eye.

Rare, yet real. Now. Like people in your home, after so long.

For that new car can wait, that new mist, imported, that vacation. Now that you are home.

That you even thought gifts in metals, stones, flights…

You laugh and you go back inside. To the business called life.

You can now tell that indispensable from the fat, frill and fancy. And that is such a freedom.

You wonder what is essential after all, for now even the Olympics can wait, even the year-end ledger, the elections. Even the heroes.

For now, suddenly, those who give have become our new hero.

And superstars wash clothes, sweep floors, do dishes.

But then there is shadow under a lamp.

A looming danger.

Like a panther in the dark.

Close, closer.

It can pounce any moment now.

And inside you are scared. Very, very scared.

Be aware of that fear.




Name it.

Feel it in your body. In your breath.

Because it is okay to be afraid.

It is necessary to be afraid.

And it is silly to pretend anymore.

Really. Know what? It isn’t great to live in denial. It never was. We know that in our gut, each of us. Even if everyone around made it look cool.

Like blind leading blind leading blind leading blind…

Open your eyes, now.

Let tears flow, if they will.

Cry into a pillow. Or beat the shit out of it.

Rage, cry, scream.

Break the chain. Of pretense.

If not now, when?

If not you, then who?

Own your fear.

Live in that fear, and grow from it.

Into grace. Into gratitude.

Into wisdom, of lack of knowledge.

Know that we do not know everything, and that it is okay.

Know that we can seek.

And that a wise man from the faraway land of Afghanistan once said, “What you seek is seeking you,” and he did know a thing or two about feelings.

Know also, that we will live only if we are important.


Not at work or at home. Not in the political scene, in the casting game, office politics.

But in the real.

In the real scheme of things.

And the only way left to be important is to be helpful.

To clean up.

To stay clear.

To transcend.


For it is important to be a part of the universe, as much the universe is a part of us.

Here is something going on, for sure.

Something big.

Something bigger than us.

Bigger than each of us, bigger than all of us.

We are but a tiny part.

Here is what I ask of you… don’t distract yourself. Don’t look away.


Stay in this realization. Of being tiny, of being vulnerable. Of being afraid.

Stay awake.

Stay awake in humility, in awareness.

Stay alert.

In transformation.

Choose what you want to become, when this is all over.


Choose better.”


About the Poet:

Sinjini SenguptaSinjini Sengupta is the award-winning author of “ELIXIR” which is a literary fiction themed on womanhood and dreams also adapted into a film that screened at Cannes Film Festival and won a number of international accolades. She is a multiple times TEDx speaker, a columnist with a number of leading publications and a workshop facilitator. She speaks and teaches workshops on gender sensitivity, emotional wellness, public speaking and creative writing. An alumna of Indian Statistical Institute, she’s an erstwhile Actuary with a long-spanning career in Insurance pricing. Named “Exceptional Woman of Excellence” at the international Women Economic Forum, Ms. Sengupta has won several national and international awards for her work in the space of writing, public speeches and social columns.

She’s currently working on her book and talk series on Women at Workplaces, also featured as a recent TEDx.





Disclaimer: The featured image is only for representational purposes.