Life at the time of the Corona

By Jenniefer Dkhar

Deaths in different parts of the world are enough to scare people from all walks of life. COVID – 19 walks into our lives with such speed that it has already devoured a large number of human lives. The deadly virus spares none. It does not matter whether one is rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, old or young, literate or illiterate. All that it has been doing is to infect everyone and anyone who has been callous and who has not paid heed to protective measures. Yes, protective measures, for no vaccine and no cure has been discovered yet. All that people across the globe are being advised to do is to follow stringent preventive measures that would not only protect oneself but most importantly protect the larger populace from being infected. Therefore, citizens are asked to maintain hygiene and cleanliness; from washing hands with soap/hand wash frequently, to wearing masks, to using alcohol based hand sanitizers, social distancing and staying indoors.

Today, the entire world is on a lockdown in order to break the chain of the deadly virus that has crippled humanity and gripped us in fear. Sad but true that no one knows what lies ahead and who would be the next victim. Glued to any form of information about how far the virus has managed to infect people, how many casualties are there so far and following government directives are what most of us are doing. It pains one’s heart to watch the news flashing on our screens telling us about the number of people dying, the increase in the number of those who are infected with very few recoveries.

Yet, what is even more disturbing is to watch our fellow Indians – the migrant labourers from different parts of the country returning home to their villages. Men and women, young and old and even expecting mothers walking back to their villages as they are left with no work and no food. All share the same story of the need to defy the honourable Prime Minister’s lockdown to stay wherever one is, as they are stranded with no work, no home and no food. It is sad but at the same time very alarming to see a huge crowd gathering together in one place for the fear of being infected by the virus stands very high. While the homeless are either provided shelter and food there are still a great number of them who are behind. It is for people like these that we need to come out of our safe cocoons and come to their aid. These are trying times for the citizens of the country but times of compassion that will teach us lessons that would last us a lifetime.

In this hour of fear and apprehension, one feels comforted to see compassion and fellow feelings all around. What one has always been sceptical about has been replaced by a sense of positivity in the way people are treating one another. The newspapers and news channels are no longer filled with news of pain, torment, fear, anxiety, brutality, rape, murder, harassment, violence, theft, burglary, discrimination, distinction, lack of fellow feeling, the divide, that we inflict on each other. In almost all the electronic and print media, we see solidarity and humanity that is eager to battle the menace and havoc created in all our minds. Of course we are hurt and offended that some of our North Eastern people have been attacked by mainland people for their looks especially in times like these. But we hope the law will take stringent actions against such racists and put an end to such social discrimination that we from the North East have been subjected to time and again.

However the larger picture now that we are brought face to face with this threat to our lives are the conscious efforts to help. This time the offer of help is not a mere exhibition by those who have and can afford to, but, a heartfelt initiative that has its root in the heart and soul of people with a conscientious mind. Hence that ray of hope in the goodness of humankind is still alive. When COVID – 19 is hovering around us everyone is eager to come to the rescue of those who are poor, helpless, downtrodden and less privileged. In spite of the virus being the harbinger of death yet the one thing that it has failed to dampen is the spirit of the people. Humanistic values and instincts that God has created comes to the fore. The benevolence and fellow feeling seen through the numerous outreach towards those in need is genuine and sincere. Proudly one can say that humanity is not lost.

This is the time when all of us need to acknowledge, appreciate and salute our front line warriors; our doctors and nurses and the entire medical fraternity, the security personnel as well as all those who are involved in providing us with all the basic necessities and essentials.  A special salute also goes out to the media persons who are constantly on their feet to cover the news/events on a daily basis in order to bring to light the events across the length and breadth of the country as well as the world, at the expense of their health and lives. Our medical stalwarts in particular are exposing themselves to the deadly virus right from the time that it surfaced. They have been constantly treating infected patients exposing themselves to infection and sacrificing their lives for us. These are the ones that require optimum safety and security. Therefore the government must provide them with Personal Protective Equipment Kits that will shield them from being infected. At the same time, while the government must do its bit, we the people must also do our share by staying home and staying safe. Yes, “Stay home and stay safe” flashes on our television screen 24X7 for the safety of the self and for the safety of our near and dear ones in particular and humankind in general.

Today the two words that are quoted and practised worldwide are “social distancing”; the one weapon that could annihilate the virus. Tragically, prior to the outbreak of COVID – 19 to socialise, to meet and interact with people, to visit houses of friends and relatives, to have a get together has been the practice. Today we are to break that norm. Today we are to maintain our distance and stay away from any gathering and keep at least one meter distance from one another. Ironically, to survive and to live we must no longer socialise. We must stay indoors. In fact we must not even shake hands while greeting each other. Thankfully, science and technology has developed to the extent that we are at least able to communicate with one another through various medium and forum. However this virtual communication and interaction cannot and will never replace the warmth and tenderness of a coming in together of people in person, in flesh and blood.

COVID – 19 and the lock down has in a way allowed families to sit together, have their meals together, pray together and spend time together. As of now we are moving into uncertainty and the unknown. What will happen next is left to one’s destiny. What would the world and life be after this is a matter of conjecture! How did the virus surface? Who is responsible? What was the cause of its existence? These are pertinent questions that will need answers for sure but right now the need of the hour is to break the chain and kill the virus. It is important for each one of us to be more responsible and conscientious towards ourselves and our fellow human beings. This is the time when we need to stand firm, united and work and pray for one another in order to survive.

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