By Shakir Reshamwala

After yet another year of coronavirus restrictions, including curfews, lockdowns, closures and travel curbs, Kuwait is beginning to return to some semblance of normalcy. Residents will start arriving to the country from August and schools are set to reopen in September, while commercial activities have gone back to their regular hours of operations.

Of course, some precautionary health measures are still in place, like wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and a ban on large gatherings, which seem sensible to avoid reverting to the dark days of the pandemic. Unvaccinated people face ever-tightening restrictions in a bid to compel them to get their shots.

For the vaccinated, things are looking up. They can look forward to travel again, despite the hassles of vaccine passes, PCR tests and quarantines. Kids can finally dust off their uniforms and head back to school to meet their (now slightly grown up) friends, get into playground scraps and savor the feeling of learning in class instead of mindless Zoom sessions.

These have been trying times for everyone, but those stranded abroad for months due to travel bans have suffered the most. These residents can finally dream of returning to their families, jobs and homes. In the pre-COVID era, this used to be the time when everyone fled the country to escape the searing heat and debilitating humidity. Departure halls used to be full and flights packed.

So it’s ironic that things are the other way round now. People are clamoring to return despite the scorching heatwave and blast furnace conditions in the country. For sure they will have to shell out a king’s ransom to get back, but it may be a small price to pay to start attempting to piece together their shattered lives. As for the unvaccinated and those who have received unapproved jabs, their misery will likely continue for a while. May God grant them patience.

It’s imperative that as we begin this new phase of our upended lives, we have to count our blessings. The pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the fleeting nature of our existence and the fragility of our relations. Millions of people have lost their loved ones, means of sustenance and even the hope to live.

We realized the true value of things that we often took for granted. So if you are healthy, surrounded by your family and have a job to do, cherish these moments. There are thousands of people in the world who would give up everything they have for these everyday joys, or to even breathe without assistance. Take in a deep breath and let that sink in.

shakir@kuwaittimes.net