Covid-19 times in 2020 and beyond

We learnt many new words in these troubled times - Pandemic, Respiratory hygiene, Quarantine, Discipline to name a few. This has been an unprecedented time in more ways than one and has taught the value of life to our human race, which seemed to have been forgotten in the mad materialistic rush. This pandemic unfolded when some news of this strange virus and disease was reported in media. I am not a news buff so news catches me unawares. I am normally immune to sensational news. Whenever such sensational news is able to catch my attention, I prefer to hear from my friends and fraternity. It is surprising to note what happens next --- I forget it. I was absolutely unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Every community takes pride in its genes and so the word spread that since India is home to several bacteria, viruses so we would not be afflicted since we have a lower level of societal hygiene based on our lifestyle and norms so we develop immunity since childhood. The government imposed a lock-down after Janta curfew i.e. curfew imposed by the common man (junta). Lock-down was not known to Indians yet. Indians are an exuberant lot like the rest of humanity. It is so difficult to chain them to their homes. Everybody subscribed to news channels to understand the seriousness of the problem. Children were restrained to their homes i.e. no colleges, no schools & no socialising. Initially though the kids were a little pleased but it dawned to them that a new normal was taking shape. A fear psychosis took hold of all of us. Lots of my friends advised us to stock food fearing doomsday. My wife however trusted the resilience of the community. The first day after lockdown was scary for me as people were scrambling for supplies. Now everything needed to be sanitized. It was an extensive activity and a lot of activities shifted back home. I was to iron the clothes and decided that not all clothes needed to be ironed. The domestic help was sent on paid leave. I helped with the house-hold chores but it was largely my wife who managed the show. Children demanded variety in food which we used to source from the restaurants & other eateries. My wife took up the challenge of dishing out tasty and aesthetic looking dishes to meet my children's culinary appetite. I could not help appreciate my wife's resolve and my children's belief which resulted in the culinary fest that I enjoyed as much as them. Luckily for my family, I was summoned to office within one week of the lockdown to brain-storm how we could contribute to fight Coronavirus. We not for once broke the lockdown rules which were enforced by our children. After several rounds of brain-storming, we started to develop a disinfection machine for sanitizing indoor spaces with minimal disinfectant and maximum spread. We got our act together and prepared hand sanitizers using WHO instructions for local community, security services, hospital, own teams & the district administration due to its shortage. We also made automatic hand-sanitizer dispenser, foot pedal dispensers and foot pedal operated water tap opener, soap dispenser & lifts touch-less also. We were contributing 12-18 hours each day during lockdown. All the activities were for our own staff and community at large and free of cost. The societal content of the work re-invigorated our team volunteers to do beyond duty's call and deliver. We were required to travel at the height of the spread so the team started looking at each-other about who would go. It felt like suicide but I felt obliged to go and so others joined in too. We took PPE kits also along in view of the scare. Luckily we did not wear the PPE kits we would have looked ridiculous indeed. In between a team mate tested Corona positive and all of us were sent for testing and quarantined. Those 5 days were indeed bliss considering we had not had much rest for over 3 months. The scare of the report however made all of us pray that we return to normal which fortunately happened. The experience has been an eye-opener and taught us that nature and god is all-pervading and powerful. A tiny creation in the form of a virus can bring humanity & the most powerful of nations on their knees. I asked our grand seniors if they ever heard or experienced anything similar and they vehemently said “No”. This corona virus has taught us to be in synch with nature and connected us with our family & friends as - Work is optional, Life isn't as long as you live. It has opened my eyes on the blatant consumerism that we are following as there are only a few essential things that we need to survive and thrive. Things will get better as day always follows a dark night but such an experience must have brought different learnings for each one of us based on our thought process and value system which we will surely carry with us till the end …… of our lives as humanity will continue to live and learn.

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artist, musician, writer, Luddite

Troy, United States