Starting early December as I returned from Australia, the news of something amiss in China had started filtering to our news feeds. As days progressed and we moved into a new year 2020, the excitement of my new book release and my son deciding on his further course of study, all were reasons for us to feel happy about the rest of the 366 days. 2019 had been kind too and we hoped that the same benevolence would continue. I never forget to thank and say my prayers for the small yet significant mercies which Almighty showers on us through time.
Food to go on our plates, jobs to keep the home fires burning, health to keep us fit, sanity of thought to do good wherever we can – the list even if unexciting is significant.
Thus, when the COVID 19 threat loomed over us and the WHO finally declared it to be a pandemic, much damage had already been done. People had travelled across nations, continents and had unsuspectingly infected scores around them, with them, through them. India with its huge population and a reaction time which takes long to register was no different. As the government geared up to declare it a national emergency the news was trickling in – from far and wide. From our districts and our satellite towns that all was not good. With information pouring in from our overindulgent news channels, the authenticity of everything became suspect.
Our collective psyche of never following up on anything – whether work, information, duties – the whole gamut of operations and activities is also evident in our news reporting. Sensationalizing, trivialising, instigating and presenting facts to suit their own TRP’s all reveals a dangerous concoction which smells of sabotage and sickening interference of money and power. Channels after channels would report and then let it be. Follow ups on information given one day and disclosed as ‘breaking news’ would never ever be followed up even in the next bulletin leave alone after 24 hours. Screaming reporters, one sided argument, illogical inferences collectively lead to damage of credibility. It’s a dangerous and unhealthy trend if news channels start taking sides. The casualty is truth and authenticity. And as for Trust, it just disappears.
With my faith in our news reports severely trampled, I resorted to the next line of information which has since been my most reliable source of information. My father’s expert and dependable medical inputs as another small country in far away waters tackled and dealt with the same menace and my husband’s daily and extremely busy routine in the wake of a complete nation-wide lockdown.
We had heroic stories of police personnel and doctors and health care professionals and essential and critical government departments and their officers and staff and railways and transport and farmers – again an endless list of heroes who did not wear capes but had their masks on and some protective gear, sometimes probably not – who started working and putting things in place.
With the abnormal situation at hand, the challenges were unique too. Each tried to battle their own wars as things started to unfold in the hours of the lockdown announcement. While the nation and its ‘janta’ gasped at this development, all officers and men in the essential services list did not even get time to absorb fully the magnitude of this announcement and were huddled in midnight meetings which haven’t stopped. Doctors and health care workers took upon themselves the challenge of being in hospitals every single day, bravely battling what has till date been the biggest test for humanity.
Each day throws up a new trial and each such encounter makes all concerned devise methods to deal with it. In the midst of arguably the most exasperating times, a majority of the public has been cooperating but annoying cases and instances of uncouth & uncivilised behaviour from sections of people across the whole Indian diaspora in our country set us back by several days, each time we were irresponsible. I was hoping that an unforgiving virus and a catastrophe of this proportion will instil in the so-called learned leaders of religion, communities and sects a sense of balance and sagacity. Alas! I guess we are eternally hopeful and bashfully naïve.
The wisdom and logic of a requirement of social distancing, zero congregation, less movement out of our homes, cleanliness always and everywhere – are lessons to be learnt now and learnt fast. You cannot hide behind religion, communities, angst, worry, imaginary injustice, fear, faith, lack of civic sense, hooligan mentalities and oafish arguments to justify the risk, which your actions are putting and exposing others to.
Remember that this virus hasn’t discriminated against any race, any religion, any community, and country. In fact, it has systematically decimated all boundaries and except for the country where this virus originated, we can blame no one and hold no one responsible for our predicament circa, today.
But we can decide how it defines us though.
Responsible behaviour, community thought, rational conduct, honest reporting, humanitarian deeds, random acts of kindness – BECOME HUMAN again, people!
The world needs that more than anything else today. Stop making it to be about me & us, against me & us – make it for ME and US but as a collective good, as a civilised society. Hope you all are looking around yourselves?
No one is missing you – at least Planet Earth isn’t. It is in fact heaving a sigh of relief that this virus has grounded us all.
Amidst all this awful gloom, there resonates amazing hope and dear fellow Humanoids, please do not give yourself too much credit. Don’t forget we came after the Earth came into existence.
For me that’s a very humbling thought!