The past few days of my life have been the most devastating. I don’t expect or wish to see anything worse than this. All of us thought that 2021 would be the year of new beginnings and that we had learnt from our mistakes. I thought we had escaped the tough times, but the universe had something even worse in store for us. The uncertainty and anxiety is back, we are back to square one. Only it is worse than it was last year.
Every day I wake up to the news of a friend or relative crying out for critical help. My whole day goes in calling helpline numbers, amplifying calls for help and writing messages like, “Please don’t panic, they will get better soon.” This is a slap on all our ignorant faces. Our privileged minds think, “The situation isn’t that bad anymore,” if only we bother to check the ground reality of how people are dying in queues, waiting for a bed in the hospital or in front of an oxygen distributor.
We didn’t care about it until someone close to us got infected by it or until the situation was this bad for us to notice. Every day is a battle to get that oxygen cylinder, plasma or bed in a hospital. Every day is a battle to remain optimistic, a battle to lift each other up and continue with our lives.
It’s so difficult to get up from my bed in the morning. The moment I open my eyes, thoughts like “What bad news am I waking up to today?” pop up in my head. Everything just feels so unimportant right now.
My eyes opened only a few weeks ago when a friend needed six doses of Remdesivir injection for her father. We did everything we could in our capacity to find them — from dialling more than 20 numbers to putting up stories on social media and reaching out to influencers. Our conscience did not allow us to just sit and wait for some miracle to happen.
The next day, I got a text again from another friend, saying, “I need an oxygen cylinder for my mother.” We dialled more than 15 numbers, amplified the requirement, but no one picked our call. Again, we felt helpless. Mind you, I am just the “helper” here and I felt helpless. I can’t imagine what the person for whom I was doing all this must be going through. If I was angry and in pain at the moment, it was not even 1% of what one would feel if one were to see if we got out of that privileged bubble of ours.
I see my 17-18-year-old friends begging for their parents’ lives and running around to find the prescribed drugs. Our healthcare system is collapsing, politicians are too busy focusing on elections instead of the lives of people. I am a part of an online group where leads and Covid-19 resources are forwarded and trust me, every minute there is someone crying out for help.
On one side, hospitals and states are running out of beds, and on the other, there are politicians attending massive rallies and being part of large festivities without wearing masks. We had one year to prepare but they failed us again. When they themselves get infected by the virus, they make one call and get a bed in the best hospitals in India, while we call more than 30 numbers and no one even picks up. This often makes me think if surviving in this country is also reserved for the ‘VIPs’. Any suggestion from the opposition is taken as a threat to their ego. How else will the current government prove that all they want to guard is their power and ego?
I hope that we now understand that politicians and actors are not Gods, so let’s stop treating them like one. If the Indian media had the guts to hold them accountable and question them, had the government cared more about the citizens than exporting vaccines, we wouldn’t have been in this situation.
There are a few angels out there helping people, providing food or amplifying requirements, but celebrities with large numbers of followers have trouble doing the same. How ironic that these politicians forget the power of public in the world’s largest democracy. All I can ask everyone is to keep helping each other, be it verifying leads or just talking to a friend who is going through a tough time. And to all the politicians, I want to say, “Keep your big headedness aside and help us, it won’t take long for us to write your names in black words in history. Don’t forget our power, in three years, you might be as helpless as we are now.”