Covid-19 and our lives looming between Hope and Despair!
How many of you remember hearing the word coronavirus or pandemic for the first time? I first heard it in February and didn’t bat an eye. I went to the cafes, met with friends, visited relatives, and went for long drives too, just as always did. I quit my job, moved to another city, and was planning to migrate to another country. Life just continued how it always was until we actually started taking the pandemic seriously. I don’t think any of us were being ignorant, we were just not ready to believe that there could actually be a pandemic in this age and time. In no time, we were fully engulfed by the fear of the omnipresent Covid-19 which was threatening our way of life. Soon, Modi Ji addressed the nation to announce a lockdown for real. The strictest lockdown possible in the whole wide world. The lockdown didn’t come as a shock as we all were in a way waiting for that announcement to come and halt our lives.
Now it has been almost 50 days that we are locked down which has been extended twice and might get extended once or twice again. There is so much that has changed and so much that probably will never change and then there is this long for a few things to change for better. Let’s take a tour of the last 48 days of the lockdown.
We Got Tamed
Yes, a country of 1.38 billion people was locked for real. Unlike England or America, we were not allowed to stroll the roads, or go for a jog, or even go grocery shopping. The authorities suggested us to go online for essential services too and all those who could, did. The roads were deserted, the shops were closed, the public transport had been suspended and everyone was at home except a few.
The Serial Offenders
Life seemed like the first day of school where some of us fully obeyed the lockdown orders and then there were some who do not like to be told what to do and so they went out. Those who did, just like it happens in the school, got punished. Some got fined and some got beaten up, either way, the lockdown was to be taken seriously.
We Were Bewildered (Migrants Everywhere)
Within the first couple of days, while millions of us were sitting caged inside, we saw the news about migrant workers. Thousand of them gathered in Delhi, demanding to go home. They were demanding to go home when everything had been shut down, including the public transport of all kinds. They were promised food and shelter but there weren’t willing to listen.
Let’s March Home
The migrant workers, relentless to bow down to a virus that could kill not just them but also the people that they were going to get in contact with, started their journey home, on foot, and a handful of them on their bicycles. For some, it was about a handful of miles but for most, it was a journey of hundreds of miles. They neither had food nor enough money but something instigated them to start a senseless journey towards home. Unfortunately many died on the way. Miraculously some reached home and along took the Covid-19, not just to their homes but to their villages and districts too.
Govt Made Promises
The Modi govt assured those who stayed that they will be provided with shelter and food. The govt also promised food to everyone in the country. Yes, thousands slept hungry in the last 48 days but the govt is doing everything they can to save us from the jaws of the monster called Covid-19.
Humanity Wins (well in patches but it’s a win)
It was clear that feeding millions of daily wagers wasn’t something that the government could do alone and so the public along with the NGOs shared the responsibility with the government to do whatever they could to help whomever they could. People kept paying their household help despite the fact that they were not able to work and people donated wholeheartedly to the PM Relief Fund so that we could help each other in such difficult times. But it cannot be denied that millions of Indians have been stranded in the middle of nowhere and slept hungry many times.
The Curious Case of Tablighi Jamaat
When India was almost sure that we will be able to flatten the curve, we got to know about a mass gathering in Delhi. This one gathering gave such a catapult to the Covid-19 positive cases that we are still trying to recover from the setback that we got. The latest news is that many of these attendees who had been detained and put under quarantine are getting to go home after completing the quarantine requisites.
Indians had started working from home even before the lockdown had been officially announced. And after 48 days of being locked, the corporates have realized that they can function effortlessly from home too. Hopefully, after all of this is over, people will realize how meetings are a huge waste of time, how work can be done remotely too, and that one doesn’t really need to travel hundreds of miles to get the job done.
Depression, Anxiety, and Uncertainty Overpowered Sanity
Halfway through the lockdown, we started hearing the stories of India not sleeping, people being uncertain about their future and everyone being irritable and erratic all of a sudden. One thing that we had always taken for granted finally showed how indispensable it was. This thing was freedom. We also started getting more and more cases of domestic abuse and the whole world was reporting a spike in these cases especially under the lockdown.
Millions Lost Their Jobs and Our Economy Had the Worst Hit Possible
During the Covid-19 Lockdown, not just Indians but millions around the globe, either lost their jobs or received a downsized salary. Many still aren’t certain whether they will have a job next month and many are fearing another salary cut. Some have been asked to take voluntary leave and many have been asked to start looking elsewhere. The situation is giving such a hit to the economy that the financial gurus are doubtful that we will ever have a recovery of what’s being lost.
While a fistful of cities in India declared themselves Corona-free, entire India got divided into three zones. The red ones were the ones in a complete and the strictest of lockdown, the orange zones had some respite and could make small movements which included the opening of some offices and shops in these zones. The luckiest are the people in green zones as life is closest to being normal here. However, it is hard to say whether life will ever be even close to the normal we knew only two months ago.
We Lost Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor
India woke-up to the news of losing Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor. Irrfan Khan who aced, not just the local but the international cinema too, through his powerful acting skills that moved you with every character he played on screen, passed away on 29th April. Rishi Kapoor, the official romantic hero from the Kapoor Khandaan who not only kept us entertained through his seamless acting but also through his witty and in your face Tweets, left for his heavenly abode on 30th April. Condolences to the families.
Then Came the Liquor Shops
India is trying to gradually move to normalcy. No, the virus isn’t even close to being controlled but you cannot cage your population forever. The politicians have now started to say that people will have to learn to live with the virus, which means, go out and do your thing. The ones who are strong enough will survive and those who are not will have to fight a difficult battle with Covid-19. So, the liquor shops opened in the country after 40 days and thousands thronged outside wine shops for hours to buy, including those who didn’t have the money to buy food in these 40 days and were being given ration by the government. The so-called social distancing went for a toss and people were all over each other to get SHARAB.
So many other things also happened in these forty-something days of hell. The pollution is almost dead, people can see mountains from their windows in some places, people are finally getting to spend time with their families, women are finally cleaning their own houses, they are cooking, well, not for their families but to upload videos on Instagram and Pinterest, the TikTok viewership has had an unprecedented catapult, education has gone fully online, elderly people living alone are having a very difficult time surviving without their domestic help which is sad and we are all waiting for the world to announce that a vaccine has been found and that we will soon be able to resume life.
No one knows if we will actually be able to resume normalcy any time soon or not, but, not just India, but the world is hoping to go back to normal. We now know the value of relationships and love, we are learning to value time, we are learning to value our own attributes and credentials and we are learning to respect each other’s space and preferences. We have been designed in such a way that we only learn the hard way and maybe God is teaching us a difficult lesson.
At last, I want to say, stay safe, stay home, and pray for the universe to heal soon, so that we can start healing as well!