As we write this, the coronavirus crisis continues to make dangerous headway into Southasia; over 1800 cases of COVID-19 infections have been reported in the region. After weeks of hedging, most governments in Southasia have begun lockdowns of cities and borders in an effort to ‘flatten the curve’, or suppress the outbreak of COVID-19. Colombo, where Himal Southasian’s office is based, is entering the sixth day of curfew, and us, our second week of working remotely.
Countries have started closing their borders to visitors, and in some cases, their citizens. Services and businesses are winding down with no clear indication of when or if they might restart. Like most of the world, Southasia is undergoing a collective shutdown of a scale not seen in generations. Such a jolt to our routines, our plans and our way of being is certain to leave an imprint on us and our communities.
Pictures of empty streets and squares fill our online feeds, and many of us are now confined to our homes. Meanwhile, our socially distanced life goes on. It is these stories, across private walls and beyond national borders, that we want to bring together. We want to know how Southasians, at home and abroad, are living in these times of coronavirus. How are you staying connected with your friends and family? How similar is this to the last curfew your city saw? Have you discovered new books, old friends? Are you among the lucky ones who can work from home? Are you sick of your Instagram feed yet?
Send us your writings, photos, artwork, and short videos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written pieces could be personal reflections, quick commentaries, extended arguments – form is not a barrier for us as long as the writings are between 500-1500 words. Photos should aim to tell a story about you and/or your community, and what life is like post-lockdown. Please keep the videos and audio notes under a minute if possible. A selection of these will be edited and published on our website and on our social media pages. Like COVID-19, we have no deadline at the moment. We look forward to your stories.