The indistinct voices of the young boys playing in the playground are audible. They start playing early in the morning till the sun rises to the peak, to return after noon when the heat of the sun is more merciful. The boys who came to play only during weekends come every day now that the schools and colleges are closed down indefinitely. Sans classes, sans exams, it is an early summer vacation. Suddenly among the young boyish tones a new and angry voice of a policewoman can now be heard. She charges at the boys swinging her lathi, a couple of boys get a taste of the lathi on their shins and behinds, and taking cue from this the rest of the boys run helter-skelter scurrying in every direction like mice.
“Any plans of marriage?”, a friend pinged followed by tongue out emoji.
To which I replied “I’ll probably plan it if we survive this apocalypse!” *eye roll* and put an end to the undying question that haunts every eligible bachelor/bachelorettes.
So many such instances owing to the raging pandemic – Corona Virus.
The Prime Minister’s address to the citizens on 24th March at 8 PM declaring a nation-wide lock-down for the next 21 days does not come as a surprise. It was expected any day as the number of infected persons around the country was rising alarmingly and exponentially. Urgent decisions were to be made.
The disease which started inadvertently in China has crept out of its borders and spread stealthily world-wide and before people could brace themselves, reality hits hard on the face. Notification from my news app informs me of the rising numbers of people getting infected, of people dying, of lock-downs and quarantines. The way the disease spreads is more mortifying than the disease itself. While people comforted themselves with “It’s in China, it won’t affect us”, “It’s just a flu”, “It only affects the old and the weak”, and also relieving themselves with the fact that it is news of elsewhere, the reports revealed cases approaching nearer to us and before we knew it, the news which we talked of matters in China, South Korea and Italy has reached our own country, our states and towns. The promising advantages of globalisation proved a major bane in the present situation and the containment of the disease seemed nearly impossible. As people fly across countries they transmit the virus like pollinating the germs all over. And sure enough travel had to be shut down across and within the countries.
Given that every human is a potential carrier and the spread is through air, the only solution seems to be to get the hell away from one another – social distancing, washing our hands and not touching our faces, besides there is no vaccine or medicine except to treat the symptoms until the patients recover or perish. But our ways of life have been so accustomed to the necessary hang-outs, the compulsory must-watch movie at the multiplex, the new restaurants to be tried, the can’t-sit-at-home attitude proves difficult to give up. People simply cannot sit at home, more so when they are forced to it.
As I watched a news report of a policeman literally begging the general public to stay at home as they thronged the streets was distressing. The people still do not realise what is coming. Several messages are circulating in social media, supposedly put across by the people who had seen the worst of the situation, warning the noobs of what lay ahead and not to repeat the mistake they had committed, were ignored as rants. And yet people roam free on roads recklessly compelling the police personnel to resort to violent means making them blow a punch here and swing a lathi there. Some thoughtful policemen even went as far as making the loafing vagabonds clean the roads. Purpose served!
Meanwhile there are some other good fellow beings that are taking social distancing not only seriously but also are taking it to the next level through their tremendous contribution of memes for social welfare. There was never a happier time for these brainy folks who got food for their creativity and shared hilarious memes day in and day out to our pleasure. Whether the gravity of the situation was diluted in humour or was it a means of comfort in times of terror and panic, I cannot say for sure.
On a personal front, I could not be happier with all the reading time I got. It is an introvert’s dream come true situation. I believe there could not be a better time than this to lie back and reflect. Make the best of the time to take a step back from the outside world and take a peak within ourselves, figure out what we can do with our time when we have the luxury of spending it, discover ourselves and find the peace which has been so elusive to us.
It is like mother nature is teaching her most notorious children a lesson. In all this we seem to have failed to observe that she is being kind! What is needed of us but to simply remain at home! When the doctors, the police personnel, the vendors and workers are striving hard for our sake, is it so hard to stay at home and try not to add to their burden? Is it not our bounded duty to make their efforts not go in vain and act responsibly? We are blessed with a roof on our heads, plenty of food and resources for our luxuries and entertainment at the tip of our fingers. We are nowhere near hiding in cellars, fearing terrorists, capture, air raids, with lack of food and means. If people are bored and still complaining about being “stuck” at home then it is time to question ourselves as to what are we without our jobs, malls, multiplexes and restaurants. The lock-down seems to have stripped us of the world we have created around us and brought us down to the bare necessities – roti, kapda aur makaan (Food, clothing and shelter)!
The earth is breathing easy, now that the teeming crowds are curtailed, the streaming traffic is down, and the concrete forests are hushed to silence while the most dangerous creature on earth is driving to hiding in his lair, chained by his own misdeeds, enclosed within the walls of his bloating ego he has built around himself and humbled by the taste of his own medicine. There is quiet outside as time stands still, while the hum and roar of vehicles and machines is replaced with chirping of birds all over, horse runs fearless and free on the roads and dolphins returned to the coast of Mumbai!
THE EARTH IS HEALING!