When news of the Corona Virus affecting a country miles away emerged around New Year, little did we know, that life as we know it, is about to change. Change it did, and beyond our wildest imaginations. As the virus spread its grip across the world, India fell under its radar too, late in March. The Government sprung into action at the earliest, implementing a country-wide lock down on 25th March, advising and ordering citizens to stay home until the lockdown is lifted, and ever since, a whirlwind of emotions and reactions have emerged amongst people.
Being adaptive is the core-competency of Indians, then why are we over reacting?
As the crisis continues, it is clear that the lockdown may not end anytime soon, and even if it does, “normal life” per se will take a while to return. For the next few weeks, being locked in is going to be the new normal, and instead of complaining about it, it’s time we stop putting our individual demands on the back-burner for a while, and look at how we can all collectively overcome this threat. Despite the critical danger we are all facing not just as a nation but as humanity, several citizens continue to step out, blatantly denying the seriousness of the issue.
Attitudes such as “Nothing will happen to us”, “The Government is over reacting, the situation isn’t as bad”, “Death is inevitable, what has to happen will happen” continue to float amongst some, reflecting an approach that isn’t just careless, but highly destructive too. We aren’t immortal, and that this deadly virus doesn’t differentiate between citizens – no matter where they hail from, or what their belief systems are. It isn’t a game of destiny and karma that we are being subjected to, but the earth putting its inhabitants to test, and the only way to excel, is to simply stay home. Ignoring the rules only makes one a rebel without a cause, who doesn’t just put their own life in danger, but that of their families, neighbours and fellow citizens too.
“Ask not what a country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country” John F. Kennedy had once said, and now is the time we truly have a chance to show what we can do for the country. Who would have thought that the biggest sacrifice the country would ask from us, would be something as simple as staying at home and washing our hands, ensuring we don’t get sick. No matter what your political ideologies are, when the nation is under a threat so grave, you don’t chose a side – for there’s only one side left – that of being a true patriot, a hero who stands up for the safety of the nation, simply by standing up for his/her own well-being by staying home and staying safe. This war-like situation we are in, doesn’t require grand acts of bravery like picking up weapons or joining the army. All it requires from us is to be vigilant, understand the seriousness of the issue, the role we play, and the impact our actions can have on the country.
Each one of us is significant in this fight against COVID-19, and for the first time, united we shall fall, divided we must stand (in physical terms). We have all read stories of revolution and bravery in our ancestors’ fight against the British. Here we are again in a bigger crisis, the lives of citizens and the future of our country at stake, but this time, revolution doesn’t require us to sacrifice our lives, all it’s asking is for us to sacrifice a few luxuries that we certainly can do without, for a few days. Haircuts at the salon, food from restaurants, movies, parties, and coffee shops are all things we can live without for a while, and complaining about not being able to live that life when several fellow citizens are fighting for their lives, and several others are risking theirs to heal the former, is insensitive.
One may argue that the economy is taking a hit, or that the poor are suffering, but what jobs are going to wait in the future when there are no lives left? People aren’t being robbed of their rights and jobs, they are being protected from a catastrophe that is threatening to destroy the same things that some are using as an excuse to oppose the lockdown.
Being strong is the only option, let us accept the fact.
Agreed that it isn’t easy to make an extreme change in our lifestyles, but is staying at home indeed as bad as several of us are making it to be? A little change in perspective is all we need, to look at the opportunities we have. We may not be able to do things we did earlier, but never again will we get to spend as much time as we do now with our families, or even our own selves. With the comforts, entertainment, and technology at our disposal right in our homes, should we really be worried about staying inside, especially considering how several medical professionals and essential workers are putting their lives at risk every day. If we think staying home is as bad as being jailed, it calls for some deeper self questioning. Is it right to act so entitled during a crisis?
What does it reflect about our values? How about taking the focus off our own selves for a while, and looking around to see how we can help. Perhaps the domestic help needs financial assistance, or a friend who struggles with their mental health needs someone to talk to. Are there charities fighting against the repercussions of COVID-19, we can contribute to? How about expressing our gratitude to the thousands of doctors, nurses and policemen, who are going out of their way to serve us? Stepping up and adhering to rules is the best we can do to help them. Each time we step out without a reason, we are carrying the risk of infecting not just our own selves, but several other citizens, thus over burdening these heroes, and that’s a risk we cannot take at the moment. Over crowded hospitals in a country as populated as ours, is a dangerous future best avoided. Countries like China, US, and Italy did the same, ensuring a suffering the world stopped to notice. When compared to these countries, India is in a much better state, and together while apart, we can work towards a healed future.
Being empathetic is in our culture, let us make that contagious instead!
As the country collectively stands to fight its biggest crisis in decades, we should all contribute towards the cause, by ensuring we stay home and wash our hands often. Do not step out unless absolutely necessary. Denial does no good, especially when you notice signs of sickness. Reach out to a doctor immediately to not just protect your own self, but everyone around you too. The days ahead may be difficult, but only as difficult as the dangers we invite by stepping out. Our country needs us. This isn’t an individual struggle, but a national crisis requiring us to be responsible, selfless and vigilant. It’s time we stop complaining, and start complying instead.
Lockdown has several significant consequences, over 5000 migrant workers have been interviewed while they were attempting to move back to their home town, and most of them never want to come back, do we know the trauma they are going through? A family walked 450 KMs to reach their home town, there are lakhs of such stories. Migrant workers are expected to smile when they are starving because the donor wanted a picture for his social media. A man resumes his work on 2nd day of dialysis to deliver pizza and becomes popular as he catches the virus in hospital and 60 people who got their food delivered by him are quarantined. Yes, this is not great thing to happen, but is this pain costlier than life?
Work From Home
It doesn't really matter where are you working from as long as you be accountable about your deliverables and continue to delight our partners and employers. This crisis, some are fortunate to get less impacted and some got significantly impacted but in majority of the cases people are not starving, which means there are several people who are making their donations, could be individuals or corporates. If someone is in a position to help, let us strengthen their capability. Let us behave as if we are going to work everyday, do more than we can do and go to extra mile to deliver better than before, because this will help us get more work to our companies and we are be part of nation rebuilding activity.
Let us wake up and accept that we may not get everything we got before, we may not do everything we did in the past and that is not going to change immediately. No one needs to tell us to take care of ourselves and be happy, it is our responsibility. Do we know the amount of money being spent to ensure our safety? Do we know the cost of our life and the cost of a police constable standing on the streets ensuring we don't become a victim to Covid-19 is the same? Doctors, police department, Govt administration, frontline workers etc, So many people need to put their life at stake to protect us? Fundamentally we all should look at this is Healthy or Safety living, NOT LOCKDOWN.
As famously said “Lead, Follow or Get out of the way” Lead the volunteer efforts if you can, follow government orders to stay home and stay safe and if you can't do both, probably something terrible is written in your destiny. This was not the first time Indian have seen Lockdown, this happens every time India plays Cricket World Cup, there are set of IPL fans who locks them down at home. We follow lockdown usually due to high temperature during summer. Yes, this is an extreme scenario but do we have a better choice?
Current situation is like changing the wheel of running vehicle. We need to take care of our people and also ensure we have better economic recovery to take care of needy. It’s purely up to people to decide if their movement outside is necessary and is there is way they can reduce crowed outside. Even if they announce lockdown closure, let us be careful with our movement outside. I will look at this as I have lot of food to eat, I can either eat what I need so that I don’t die or keep eating and die due to overeating.
We should be responsible for our lives & lives of people dependent on us.
While we are busy complaining about several good things, mother earth is busy cleaning the mess we all created and silently giving us a message that you can do what you are supposed to do irrespective of situations "only if you are committed to take action and not just complain". Let us be happy for bright future, let us learn things from our past so that we don't become virus to our globe.
Let’s consider this as full shutdown in our mind and follow self hygiene and maintain physical distance so that we have another day to fight.