The Lockdown Effect

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MASOOMA SAKRIWALA

I was sitting in my college canteen 2-3 months ago and my friend showed me news regarding ‘some virus’ called the ‘coronavirus’ that had spread in China. Call me self-centred, or just ignorant, I ended up disregarding most part of the news while my taste buds were busy enjoying the delicious Szechuan Hakka Noodles made by Gopu Bhaiyya, a North-East Indian, who had come to Mumbai to earn a living. Little did I know that just a couple of months down the line, I would have zero access to my favourite Chinese food and little did I know that this tiny, microbic entity could shake-up the world.

It has been two weeks since I’ve been ‘locked down’ in the comfort of my home, but I can’t stop thinking about those who not only lack the comfort, but also shelter above their heads. With the news about coronavirus hitting websites and social media platforms and getting most of us anxious and worried, it is always better to know the right information regarding this virus and the disease it is spreading across the world. Although it can be a tough task to figure out which source is to be trusted in the times of notorious rumours that are taking the rounds on the Internet and while the [other] media being nothing but propaganda, we can achieve the quest of obtaining reliable and credible information with our vigilance. Certain official government websites and some news channels that are widely believed to be unbiased could be a good source of information. Keeping in touch with people who can give us personal accounts of their first-hand experience about how they are dealing with this situation might help as well. Apart from that, trusting your instincts and being aware about yourself and your surroundings and keeping social distancing — better still, physical distancing — would also be effective.

CONTROVERSIES  

Even though this virus is believed to have originated in China, there have been many debates and controversies about its origin and other political connexions with the virus. People from the East have been victims of racial discrimination all over the world since a long time now, but with the spread of COVID-19, it seems as if the entire world is against people who look somewhat similar to the Chinese. Such people have not only faced verbal discrimination and abuse but they are also prone to physical assaults and harassment from those who have been waiting for an opportunity like this to occur. In India too people belonging to the North-East face various kinds of harassment and even accusations of ‘spreading’ the virus merely because of the fact that they appear like ‘them.’

There is also a whole lot of controversy about coronavirus being the product of biological weaponry and its connection with the ‘hotspot’ or ‘war-like’ situations between China, Japan, Taiwan and America. Although the debates about its initialisation and origin would continue until they die down with time, it is always wise to know the truth behind such a skewed activity that aims for nothing but genocide.

Whether or not coronavirus is a biological weapon that has proved to be a source of destruction and degeneration for so many regions in the world, it has certainly taught most of us the greatest lesson possible — the value of life, its unpredictability and the inevitability of death. Until now, most of us had become so complacent with life that we ended up thinking that in this era of advanced technology humans are the most invincible creatures on the planet. But, with the coming of a deadly disease like COVID-19, it seems as if nature has its own way of teaching humans — that irrespective of their authority and power that they have on Earth, they can never defeat Mother Nature. Nature will always be a gentle, also tough reminder, to us that we are only guests in this world and Mother Nature is our host, although we had been conditioned to think about it the other way around.

WHAT IT TAKES TO BE BETTER HUMAN BEINGS

After our Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the nation-wide lockdown, considering the intensity and the dread that this deadly virus was causing, it came unto us as a chilling picture. I am a resident of Mumbai and I have never seen the city so quiet ever before. The otherwise busy streets of Mumbai and many other cities, towns and villages looked like they had come to a halt. As I am writing this piece, most of us are currently locked down with either family, friends, or alone. Whatever the situation maybe, this is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on ourselves and on our surroundings. If we look at the brighter side of this grim situation, we will definitely be able to explore so much more about our personality and the hidden skills that we possess. Maybe, we would even get to know more about each other because now is the time when we are able to spend most of our precious moments, or quality time, with our loved ones. We can value our existence, the presence of our family and friends in our lives and, most importantly, the ultimate power of Nature. This is the time that we have been craving for a long time, and now that we have it, one hopes that we make the most of it.

Sweet are the uses of adversity, yes. The Bard was absolutely right.

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