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COVID 19 : Vulnerable and Viral – Ambika Ghosh

The CORONASCARE positive or CORONASAFE positive? Which one are you?

According to Science, Light is said to travel fastest in air. And now, the panic of public is travelling faster than the pandemic COVID-19 outbreak.
Your eyes are glued to either television news channels, or on the worldometers page or you are being an addictive consumer of a toxic blend of misinformation, disinformation, truth, rumours and lies on the social media. The reason is just one which is not that simple and straight- To check real-time world statistics on Coronavirus affected patients.

The consequences are critical. Panic is at its peak.

It is a race of numbers that we are on.
Leave aside the figures and frenetic pace of agitation for a moment now.
When was the last time we actually paid heed to world hunger statistics and empathized with those who died out of hunger daily?

One of the worst days for Coronavirus was the 10th of February. On that day, 108 persons in CHINA died of coronavirus. But, on that same day 26,283 people died of Cancer, 24,641 died of Heart Disease, 4,300 people died of Diabetes and Suicide, unfortunately, took more lives than the virus did, by 28 times. Moreover, Mosquitoes kill 2,740 people every day, and Humans kill 1,300 fellow humans every day. Did we care to pay attention to the numbers? Or did you find the numbers not that large?
Corona is certainly ruling on our priority charts now. Media and its agenda-setting function hence proven.
Did you get a feeling of a lump in your throat last time when you borrowed the counter from your friend and puffed on the cigarette with style?
Did you have a heartbreak recently that made you feel like not staying alive anymore?
Ever felt suicidal because you lost in a relationship?
Ever stopped living your life because your best friend got diagnosed with some incurable disease?
Faced bouts of depression when your appraisal didn’t go well and you lost it out to your colleague?
One moment of anger, and you lose sixty seconds of happiness. Watching just two hours of television a day can lead to an increased risk of premature death, according to Harvard researchers. Excessive alcohol consumption has been shown to lower a person’s life expectancy by about 20 years. Each cigarette shortens your life anywhere from seven to eleven minutes.

Find out a few daily unhealthy habits in your life and you would find most of you are into some of it like being in front of the idiot box for long and on the social media storm for all wrongs that are reducing our life expectancy. Unfortunately, we are casual about it.
All of the mentioned above, have been the silent killer risking our lives. We have had life-threatening situations in the past but we sort of overlooked them. We die a little daily because of our habits but who cares? The struggle for survival is ongoing since ages, the struggle for existence has been there forever, right since the time food chains were adopted in the natural ecosystem.

We haven’t taken them seriously ever.
When you have LIFE, you will have LOWS but then your lows must not loom larger than your life.
The present catastrophic calamity that the world is facing has been accepted by one and all on different notes. Some view this as negative from the economic aspect, some take it as a life-threatening situation, some are so casual about the lockdown, and some are really concerned about the underprivileged sections.
It is indeed a crucial phase and we are going through trying times. Patience and perseverance to act on exigencies with efficiency is the only key that can unlock safety and security for self-sustenance. This is the time for mankind to prove that we can fight against all odds, come what may, we shall overcome. This is the time when our physical health becomes equally important to us as much as our mental health. No, Please, I don’t want to sound like a counselor who’s coaching you on your improvement of mental health. I would love to be that friend of yours who is suffering from the same storm but chooses to see it differently. I would love to be that friend who takes your hand and assures you to be your side when no one’s there.

Don’t let your emotions driver your inner self succumb to fear, panic and depression. It is about choosing a mindset daily. It is also deciding to pick up happy vibes when the entire air engulfing you smells of negativity and melancholy. I am the kind of person that has always tried to attend conflicts, manage crises and uncertainty through creativity. Try taking up a creative task. Hostile situations have never been able to take away from me, my calmness and composure. I have always found peace within myself in the worst of situations. I understand the issue is grave and serious, and a lot of us are going through immense pain, but as Michael Jackson says ‘We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”
Recalling Bob Dylan…
”There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’, It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, For the times they are a-changin’….
“The only constant in life is change” said Heraclitus.
Changes, big or small, we are made to face them daily. Depending on its proximity, one gets affected. A simple change can have a huge manifestation in someone’s life. A bigger change might not even touch us if we decide to stay away and unaffected from it. Moreover, the way we deal with it can actually decide how badly it would impact us in the long run.
COVID 19 is a crisis that can now only be won by solidarity. It’s the support of one and all that could sustain our lives. Solidarity in opinion, solidarity in action, solidarity in thoughts.
Am I talking about the change in the environment only? No, it’s also the change that we are seeing in us, anxiety, terror, tension that has ransacked our day to day lives.

We are a bunch of hypocrites. Yes, we are.

The other day I heard my friend working for a MNC complaining of his hectic work schedules. Not being able to invest time back home with family, missing out on quality time, running out of me- time, blah blah…… I could see the desperation in his eyes expecting an approval for a vacation so that he could plan some family time. The same friend is now getting mad at home not being able to figure out how to utilize this quarantine time at home locked up with family! He is bored of life and monotony that life has in offer at this lockdown period.
Life is what you make out of it.

We are a bunch of pessimists. Yes, we are!

We prefer to see glass having liquid as half empty instead of half full. Amidst all the chaos and despite all the negativity that surrounds us, we never look at the ray of hope however faint it is, that could bring in sunshine one fine day. Even when the chances are grim, we forget that there is light at the end of every tunnel. Life is not always about winning the battle; it is also about failing to win in a battle, falling down harder, to gather your broken pieces and standing up stronger and swifter than ever before.
Why are we reluctant to take this lockdown phase at home as an opportunity to rediscover ourselves? Why don’t we take this as a lesson to respect nature’s fury? We have been ruthlessly harming our Mother Earth and now it’s her time to retaliate. You see, Karma is a bitch.

In the wake of the COVID 19 crisis, our priorities have changed. One uncertainty in place and how things take on a whirlwind turn. We should stop taking things for granted. According to Govt directives, Social distancing while on quarantine is the new norm. We are the caged animals now fighting to break barriers and venture out but we are doing so at our own perils. It is painful to see the negligence of literate people, let alone the illiterate men in the country. The trouble has been never the illiteracy of people but the sheer dumbness of literate people.

You are not really socially distanced if you consider beyond the geographical terms, India is going Digital, so are we. Social Media has abolished the existence of a Social Space and a Social Place. Educational Organizations promoting e-learning sessions for students, informative webinars on COVID -19 happening with eminent doctors on board. With limited physical activity out of home, COVID 19 has impacted our lives in a way that the country has seen a 50 times sharp increase in social media activity online as reported by Neilsen. I wish the impact ratio had to do something with our cognition, our alertness and awareness levels with the pandemic. We are still choosing to stay uninformed, ignorant and careless covidiots.

For a daily laborer in any city, staying home means their family will die. Why don’t we take this norm as a positive trait? Social distancing is a decision that we the privileged could take, but for the homeless? For the poor? They are still exposed!! While many are unhappy to be spending so much time in their home, we should be grateful for having a home we can go into lockdown in.

A tweet from a doctor in India, Dr. Jagadish J Hiremath, chief medical officer at ACE Health Care rightly pointed out that
‘Social distancing is a privilege. It means you live in a house large enough to practice it. Hand washing is a privilege too. It means you have access to running water. Hand sanitisers are a privilege. It means you have money to buy them. Lockdowns are a privilege. It means you can afford to be at home. Most of the ways to ward off Corona are accessible only to the affluent. In essence, a disease that was spread by the rich as they flew around the globe will now kill millions of the poor. Most of the ways to ward off coronavirus are accessible only to the affluent. A disease that was spread by the rich as they flew around the globe will now kill millions of the poor. All those who are practising social distancing and imposed a lockdown on themselves must appreciate how privileged we are.’ The White Collared quarantine as it had been coined could trace that ‘All of the office workers get to work from home and have their groceries delivered, but all the low-level minions have to keep going to work and putting themselves and their families in danger so that society doesn’t grind to a screeching halt.’
We are worried of our lives. Have we stopped for a moment and considered the plight of the poor?

Writing out cheques and contributing to funds, your responsibility doesn’t end there. Think & Act beyond. During these long periods of isolation, it will be silly to allow anxiety to take away your inner peace and let it grow.
Here’s your survival kit.

You have the GIFT of TIME!
Spend time with nature within your nest.
Try a new hobby
Volunteer-in-home
Meditate
Gardening
Arrange balcony parties
Use up your terrace for film date nights
Meditate
Read
Hone a skill
Appreciate art in the time of corona
Avoid OCD over the Virus
Talk to people
Take a trip down memory lane
Expand your library be it movie collection or music collection
Indulge in self-pampering
Talk to yourself, Enjoy your own company, Enjoy solitude, Give yourself time.
Stop multiplying your fear, instead multiply your happiness
Limit the spread of misinformation.
Detoxify yourself
And most importantly find time to love yourself
The City of Joy can never be a breeding ground of depression, panic attacks, and fear.
Allow yourself to spread happiness, cheer and positivity.

When the days are dull and you are feeling numb,
Pick yourself up, Forget the Fear
Take a deep breath, Learn to wait
Give a pat on your back, Remind yourself this moment won’t last
This too shall pass
Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our problems.
So laugh away at your fears, drink away your tears,
Enjoy your present that’s the gift of your life.
But be humane, be responsible. Do your bit and leave the rest.
Keep fear at bay, soak yourself into some good music.
Live your life a little longer and livelier and not lonelier these days
You are blessed, you are privileged
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile, even though your heart’s breaking
It takes both rain and sun to make a rainbow
Hope Dies Last Forever!
We can make miracles happen…
Faith should last long, Ignorance should not.

Pic courtesy: Wageningen University & Research (Google)

Published inFeature Writing

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