Dear world, have you learnt anything? You will ask me what I’m talking about.
Today, me and you, rich and poor, males and females, Hindus and Muslims, in fact the entire world is dealing is facing one of the biggest crises of the century, and you know what it is. Yes, you guessed it right; it is the coronavirus pandemic. It is dangerous because it spreads rapidly, so even if the fatality rate is less than 5% (yet to be confirmed), the truly affected people are in millions and hence, the high number of fatalities.
It has already spread in almost 90% of the countries and territories in the world, more than 4,00,000 have tested positive; more than 17,000 have died, and most of the countries are either in a complete or partial lockdown. Although scientists are still finding the exact reason, source and also the vaccine for the same, we have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders (actually our hands: wash them properly and frequently). This is nothing less than a war-like situation, and the measures to be taken to combat COVID19 are also stricter than ever.
It is not hard for each one of us to try and combat it on an individual level. All we have to do is follow the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
In this war-like situation, our soldiers are the ones who are fighting this devil from the frontline. Yes, I am talking about doctors, medical staff, cleaning staff and all the people related to essential services. They are risking their lives to protect us and providing us services selflessly. It is a great lesson of unity, non-discrimination, and the concept of “God is in us.” This can be seen in various visuals of hospitals across the globe.
This is the time that teaches us that we all are one; we all belong to each other. A doctor doesn’t ask whether you are a Hindu or a Muslim, a Christain or a Jew and you don’t check if the doctor belongs to some specific religion or caste. You go with your problem and request them to treat you. This is the time to reflect on our old beliefs which may not be right and spreading hatred.
This is the time when we can trust what we are observing and listening, and contemplate.
Only a human will save another human, and that is what all religions teach us: to have faith in humanity and unite in the time of crisis.
Governments across the globe are taking a few major decisions and many of them have decided to lock down the whole country to stop the spread of this virus, and India is not an exception.
India had its first lockdown (Janata Curfew) on March 22, called by Hon. Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and now a full lockdown has been declared for 21 days starting from midnight March 25 2020. This is the first time when the whole of India is going through some a novel experience of lockdown in their own houses. This kind of lockdown is new not only for India but other countries such as Italy, the worst-hit country by the virus, Iran, South Korea, Spain, the USA, China, and many more.
The world is one and everyone is praying across the globe for a healthy and speedy recovery for the people across the border. The people who are going through this lockdown are experiencing the unexperienced. After a long, long time, I could hear the birds chirping from my balcony in the otherwise busiest time of the city Mumbai. It seems like nature has come alive and is ready to shower her love on us again.
Beijing observed blue sky after a long time, peacocks dancing on the roads of Madrid, there’s clearer water, fishes have returned to the local water bodies, and the air is fresher than ever. It seems as if nature has just hit the reset button. It has been observed all across the globe that how slowing down for a day and week helped us see what mother nature has to offer and what has our greed reduced nature to.
These times also made us realize whether we love the loud music of our iPhones or the birds chirping outside our window, whether the fresh air is better or the spa, whether we like the comfort of our cozy bedrooms or the rays of the sun touching our face while sitting in the balcony.
We have to decide what we want and how we want because our future depends on what choices we make today. Mahatma Gandhi had said that “there is enough on earth for everybody’s need, but not enough for everybody’s greed.”
These difficult times have also given us an opportunity to spend more time with our loved ones, family and friends at home. It has unleashed the creativity which had gotten suppressed or hidden somewhere because we didn’t get time to explore it. We have a chance to enjoy things we loved once upon a time, be it music, writing, poetry, cooking or reading.
We are learning how to work from home efficiently. These times have also given us space for self-reflection and are making us recognize and know ourselves a little better than before. It has also made us appreciate nature and our surroundings a little more.
I’ll go back to my personal experience of observing the chirping of birds which I heard the whole day and realized that they are trying to convey something to us. I felt as if they are trying to say that they are happy, free and are finding and reclaiming their lands which were there before. It was as if they tried to convey the request that “don’t cut my trees, don’t build another building, don’t bother me with your noise, don’t pollute my water, it is ours as much as it is yours. I am with you in all your happy and sorrowful moments, will you be my friend now onwards”.
Friends, the onus is on us whether we want to keep on running like a headless chicken or want to slow down a bit, realize our mistakes, learn from them and make this planet a friendly place for every living being because we are not the only inhabitants of this planet. We are only one of the species with millions of other presents on this beautiful planet earth, and all of them have their eyes laid on us with a request and are waiting for our responses.
Let’s not disappoint them.
Note: Even in the lockdown, all essential services will remain open. A brief list of things that are accessible: ration shops under PDS, shops dealing with food items, groceries, fruits, and vegetables, dairy and milk shops, animal fodder. Please visit the link for a detailed list.
A version of this post was first published on Medium.