The Pandemic

By – Anwesha Kiran, Bhubaneswar

Corona virus has shown us a lot in these three odd months. Like a relentless, all-powerful (and perhaps the most successful) colonial master, the virus has spread throughout the entire globe, taking no prisoners in making prisoners out of all of us.

The earth has come to a standstill. The busiest places around the world, from Times Square to Mecca to the Puri Jagannath Temple: all stand deserted today.

Shut in our homes with practically no contact with anyone outside except for virtual connections, it is a strange time indeed. It feels almost like living in a dystopia; with everyone except immediate family out of reach.

Watching and talking to everyone through a screen makes us feel like we’re watching everything happen through a window: tapping on the glass, getting an occasional smile and a wave back, but never really a part of it. It serves to show why virtual connections will never come close to real ones.

Chatting will never be the same as a conversation, a video call will never substitute a meet up for a cup of coffee and watching movies at home is just not the same as going to the cinema. It really makes you stand back and take stock of all the wonderful things that we had taken for granted, and appreciate the beauty of simple things.

Cooking a meal of comfort food together with family has taken a whole new meaning; connections among members are getting deeper and differences getting dispersed.

In these dark times, there is light in the fact that we’re all together in it, and this too will come to pass. We have seen many good samaritans donating large sums of money for testing kits and medical research.

Healthcare personnel are working around the clock with no regard for their shift timings or working hours, saving as many from the clutches of death as possible. When all this blows will be over, the world will be deeply indebted to them.

We’ve seen tremendous examples of kindness that makes the heart swell with happiness: people taking care of strays despite the risk of contracting the virus, people leaving food and water as a ‘thank you’ for deliverymen who have continued their service uninterrupted even in the face of such risks, the police and the media working together to bring to the attention of the government the plight of the homeless and the daily wage workers who were locked outside their homes and states during the lockdown.

While on one hand we have these extremely fulfilling bits of news, there’s some that are disheartening as well. News of doctors being chased out by their landlords because they pose a “risk”, or India’s longstanding history of communalism showing it’s ugly face even amidst such a huge pandemic which definitely does not discriminate between religions, or the news of attacks on policemen. Such news does soften the impact of all the good news that we get to hear. But we trudge through the debris of the casualties of the virus, amidst the good and the bad, trying desperately to cling on the good, in denial of the bad, sometimes, further towards a day when this will all be over.

We introspect, find ways to better ourselves. Fighting with our thoughts that might’ve seemed nondescript once but weigh heavy on our minds, now that we have plenty of time on our hands to stop and think. We find hobbies to better and new skills to learn, not just because we’re passing our time but also because we’re terrified. Terrified of what kind of world we will step into once this is all over. Where will this leave us? But, like rock god Freddie Mercury sang: the show must go on. And it will, as we all play our part in it. Together, we will make it work. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel isn’t as dark as it seems, so long as we’re together. Let this pandemic stand witness to the resilience of the human race.

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