Covid changed the lives of most people, some for the better and some for the worse. Ani Choying Dromla took this difficult time to take a breather and help those around her as much as she could.
Our lives took a different path during this pandemic out of necessity. Covid has snatched our time, loved ones; destroyed our plans and various opportunities in life. But surprisingly, it has been a blessing in disguise for Ani Choying Drolma.
Before Covid, Ani was busy with her tight schedule of concerts, recording of songs and working on her ongoing projects and social work, but Covid gave her space and personal time which was missing in her life.
During the initial period of Covid, she was in China for a concert and there was some news prevalent at that time about Covid, but she thought the situation would be alright and returned to Nepal via Hong Kong. And then she was invited by the Indian government on the occasion of International Women’s Day and went there with a friend along with her team. They visited Shirdi Sai Baba along with a lot of other old temples in India.
Ani also had plans to collaborate with Mohit Chauhan but the situation was getting really worrisome in both India and Nepal. The news reported a lockdown was imminent and she decided to come back and Nepal declared a lockdown just two days after her arrival.
“It doesn’t sound good but I was craving for some me time. I have always wanted to stay at home and relax but it was not possible due to my commitments,” says Choying, “I was happy when lockdown was announced and during the first month I stayed in Shivapuri. The main advantage I had was the accessibility of transport wherever I wanted to go and I am really grateful for that.”
The scarcity of masks and essential medical supplies was alarming, so Ani took the initiative to provide masks and medical supplies to needy people. She was delighted because she could help others in these difficult times.
“Like I said before, it doesn’t sound good, but sometimes other’s misery gives us an opportunity to do good work. It is bad that somebody is going through misery and difficult situations, but then people who are fortunate like me, we are in a better condition financially, physically and socially to provide help and support to them,” she remarks.
Like most of us, Ani also spent her spare time in taking care of indoor plants, trying out new recipes and giving time to her hobbies. “I was busy taking care of my indoor plants and it gave me this immense peace to take care of them and this pandemic also taught me to take advantage of even difficult and trying situations,” says Ani.
Due to the scarcity of masks and their soaring high prices, Ani along with her friends decided to make masks and PPE kit on their own and distribute them to front line workers and various hospitals around the country. But it wasn’t easy as her peers and relatives were worried she might get infected with Covid.
“I have purchased masks at exorbitant prices and I have even paid fifteen hundred for a single N95 mask which when I think about it today, was a huge amount to pay, but at that time I had to help people. I had to ask for help from my friends for supplies of masks and it was hard to provide them cash as banks were also closed. But I am glad that I was able to distribute them to a lot of people,” she adds.
There was this belief that the second wave of Covid in Nepal wouldn’t create havoc since everyone had got the hang of it. Even Ani hadn’t expected the situation to go from bad to worse, but lack of oxygen and ventilators created an unprecedented emergency and the result was a large number of deaths due to shortage of oxygen.
Later, Ani was meditating in Helambu, away from it all, but when she heard about the deadly situation, she returned immediately and was ready to do whatever she could to help. She bought ventilators, oxygen and other essential medical supplies and embarked on a journey with her friend to various parts of Nepal. She traveled from Kathmandu to Sunauli, Jhapa, Surkhet and Butwal with all the essential medical aid.
Regarding her post Covid plans, Choying wants to minimize her concerts as well as her travels and wants to enjoy the luxury of spending her time in nature. Moreover, she also has plans to handover her projects to others, and work more on her health and build up her stamina.
“The best luxury anyone can afford in the 21st century is to be in the lap of nature but not many can afford it. I regard myself as among the few of those lucky people who can spend time with nature in my country,” says Ani, adding, “This pandemic has made me think about my purpose and to captivate positivity around me. So I want to work on that.”