It creeped up in the news, but we always thought it was something that spread elsewhere, never close to home. I continued with assignments and life as normal. I live in Dubai, UAE, with my husband and 7-month-old daughter, and, eventually it hit, infecting people we knew.
Curfews began, we were given the green light to see my brother-in-law’s family, but we couldn’t see anyone else. We began to disinfect every item that came from a supermarket, every plastic packaging that was delivered. Seeing my brother-in-law’s family over the weekend was what we looked forward to, new faces, new environment.
Suddenly, overnight, there was a complete lockdown, which meant we weren’t allowed to leave our home for any reason, unless with a government-approved permit for trips to the pharmacy, supermarket, or hospital. Violators were heavily fined.
It challenged us. Having no outdoor space, no balcony, no fresh air, took a toll on us emotionally. We were trapped. Our door to the outside world were the video calls with family and friends. My parents were watching my daughter grow up through an electronic screen, singing nursery rhymes to her, with welled-up eyes, while I frantically researched whether it would hurt her social development.
To stay sane and creative, I began photographing my husband and daughter. I felt it was important to document such a strange time for us. As I went through my photographs, I noticed most of them were in our living room. It was where we ate, played, watched movies, connected with our family, celebrated birthdays, fed our baby, relaxed and fell asleep. For me, it symbolized how monotonous our lives were at that time. Days melted into each other.
For me, this work is part of our family history, how strangely we lived in this pandemic, hiding away in a glass box, 17 floors up from the invisible threat.