For the first time in nineties, there are fewer people and lesser cars on roads. Beneath the quiet calm, there lies a wave of fear and anguish in society. The whole world is grappling with an invisible, lethal enemy trying to discover a way to survive in this threat posed by a virus.
11th March 2020, World Health Organization declared COVID-19 aka Coronavirus as a ‘global pandemic’. In such an overwhelming country packed with people in great spirits to work earn and travel, COVID-19 created an absolute mayhem.
Now there lies an unhinged society where usual rules do not apply. Homes are the new offices and schools, your smart phones are new meeting rooms and classrooms, and taking a break on weekends from our usual hectic lives has become history! Now, shelves in grocery stores are picked over, devoid of all essentials, especially hand sanitizers that weren’t an ‘essential’ before the arrival of this contagious disease. And of course, the toilet paper drought people suffered from, in western countries. Boundaries marked by ropes, glass partitions between clerks and customers, money boxes to exchange currency contact free are some protective measures for business. Social distancing is a bit of an illusion in a country where there is no sense of personal space, where the population is 1.3 billion and there are approximately 464 persons per kilometer!
In this shutdown of world, staying in four walls is the new normal. Even seeing a small group of pedestrians on footpath, makes us paranoid. The constant flashing of the increasing new Coronavirus cases on our television screens is setting us off in direction of fear and trepidation. Both the TRP (television rating points) of news channel and the number of viewers of online streaming services have increased by double by the advent of this pandemic.
The data given by World Health Organization on ‘Pandemic risks’ reveals that there will be income losses, increase in absenteeism and most importantly, as a result of social distancing measures that interrupts transmission, disruption of economic activity. Per-capita gross national income of countries will see a downfall; entertainment events in film industry from the theatrical release of major tent poles to launch of film festivals and TV conferences are cancelled or postponed that will result in huge losses. Sports and entertainment, travel and tourism especially airlines that will have to pay maintenance charges of grounded airplanes will face unprecedented crisis. With planting season approaching, not to forget the backbone of our society, our farmers whose hard work has been decimated by Coronavirus outbreak. Some have dumped their harvest, others have held off harvesting in the first place.
Keeping aside the negatives of this unforeseen havoc, there are people on the frontline, our superheroes, who are risking their lives everyday to save millions of lives. Doctors, nurses, police and military forces who are staying away from their families to help other families deserve a big salute for their courage and appreciation for their compassion. Not only them, we are forgetting the researchers, scientists and volunteers who are exerting themselves day and night to formulate vaccines and drugs to readily fight COVID-19. A ray of hope has emerged after Oxford Scientists have injected first dose of vaccine in clinical trials. The race for Coronavirus race is a global effort for mankind.
While we are hunker down in the safety of our homes, the Earth and its elements meanwhile are finally stretching their legs in the absence of man, healing and celebrating itself. Satellites revolving in space show cleaner air. The Air Quality Index of national capital is usually 200-250 on normal days while after the lockdown it was reported as low as 7! Not only it is clean, it is quieter. The hustle bustle of city, the honking of cars and buses have been replaced by the sweet chirpings of birds, wrestling of leaves. The canals of Venice, Ganges and Yamuna are benefiting from the lack of traffic. Sea of pink flamingoes have flown from Gujarat to Mumbai, otters in Singapore, deer in Japan, staying inside make us realize how beautiful the outside is! Apart from the real Earth day celebration this year amidst lockdown, there is one behavioral change we humans have adapted to. Shutdown has made us rethink about our wants and needs. The shopping is only of essentials making people realize the excess in lives. From limiting our excessive packaging material we are more on the greener side.
Some mental challenges that come with pandemic are PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which are common in health workers and self-quarantined people. Going to market is a calculated risk, the fear of touching your own face, forgetting to wash hands, wearing masks, the terror of catching virus and transmitting it to loved ones, loss of health, money and life can strike psychological ailments. Some of the things you can do to prepare yourself are-
- Connect to yourself by practicing meditation, by reading self help books
- Connect to others by talking to your near dear ones.
- Connect with actions by keeping yourself busy with daily chores
Avoid news if you feel attacked. Try reading news once a day and not hearing it every time you switch on the TV.
The portrait of this world fighting with coronavirus is a multi-faceted painting. We are confined in our homes, but in some ways we are more connected than ever both to ourselves and others. Some of us are optimistically waiting to go to our offices, schools and colleges while some of us are experiencing fear, boredom and anger. Yet we create our own possible image of the world through our different perception and creativity. It helps us wrap our minds on what is happening.
As it is said, “every cloud has silver lining“, pandemics have forced humans to break with past and imagine world anew. It is like a gateway between one world to next. I would like to emphasize that if you are reading this blog, you are alive and life is the most valuable asset you have with yourself. It is on us whether we choose to walk through it, dragging our carcasses of hatred, anger and frustration, or we can walk through it with sense of euphoria, gratitude and an imagination of a better world waiting for us. It is on us to take responsibility of ourselves to enrich our minds and body with soulful literature, music and exercise so that when this danger ends, and we all resume into our daily lives, isolation does not burden you with a plethoric trauma. Remember that there is no lockdown on love, care and compassion. Give as much as you can to yourself, your family, and the world.
Name of Author-Tanya Verma
ARPB Blogger ID: ARPBGZ146