Just when I was getting excited about a whole new year, the worrying news of a weird virus started trickling in. Horrible videos of some ‘wet markets’ of the enigma called China were circulated and grimaced upon by even the hardiest. I totally avoided that psychological carnage.
By the time the first month of 2020 lazily passed us by, I was neck deep in preparations for my book launch and another event conceptualised by me but executed for another organisation. The crazy schedules shoved us into February. Again, none of us were thinking too much about that inconsequential sickness, or so we thought. What a laugh, the C virus must be having now! No one was taking it seriously till a month back and now the whole world’s under lockdown. Well, almost!
Before the ides of March could spring any ominous surprise on any of us, the WHO declared what we all already knew but were wishing away. A pandemic was on us and with no cure in sight for some time, the scare became real. The precautions needed were something we all knew. Basic and compulsory hygiene but in the fast-paced life of ours, tissue and wipes had replaced the good ol’ soap and water routine.
With the scare came the need to educate an uneducable public. We thought ‘social distancing’ meant not meeting anybody but being everywhere else. Some even thought ‘social distancing’ was for the ‘poor’ and the virus loved the ‘rich’ enough to leave them out of its sphere, so many of the rich and famous continued to party, sing, dance and throw elaborate gala events. The excuses were also novel of these ‘poor’ little rich things – a daughter-in-law’s family union, a political celebration. Then we had the never-say-die crusaders who decided that the C scare wasn’t for their tribe and allowed millions to jeopardise another few million.
While dealing with all this chaos, we banged some plates and rang some bells and went on to light some lamps. We did not understand the meaning of a ‘lockdown’ for quite sometime and even now continue to get in that leverage with a ‘pass’ even when the routine relaxations in daily timings can work.
Amid all these tumultuous happenings, we had those few thousand nee millions of dedicated doctors, nurses, health care workers, police personnel, administrative staff, sanitary workers who continued to keep us afloat. The small signs of systematic and logical behaviour came from many quarters as townships took charge and the simple folks took lead to regulate, influence and restrict, oversee and help put unusual systems in place.
With no precedence of such an event in many of our lifetimes, every moment was an experiment, every problem required a novel solution, no SOP’s were available – we were all in it for the first time which in itself was a first!!
Experimenting with new realisations, readjustments, understandings, relationships, bizarre situations, atypical roles, the list is endless.
It has led to extraordinary thoughtfulness, appreciation of small mercies, accepting of change, tolerant of each other, empathetic of those who do things for us as a routine, grasp of seriousness at the threshold, again the list is endless.
Well, the long and short of it is that the C virus had actually got me before it said it’s “hello’ to my country for, not taking life and everything which comes with it for granted is second nature to me and many others like me but it has still made has stop in our steps and listen. I am listening hard. Are you?