Sunday, 3 May 2020

Corona Chronicles - The Face of Humanity

src: Dreamstime

The colleges are shut down. Families are locked in. Streets are swept free of traffic. Hugs are more threatening than soothing. Social media has more tasks than Bigg Boss. Patience is being tested in households rather than traffic jams. Sanitizers have become more valuable than oil.

We're living in the pandemic phase. Controversies, misinformation, and fear are casually doing their rounds online. The 'new normal', we call it. Although coronavirus reigns over our lives and it has locked us in our homes, I sink into my bed in sheepish relief.

Somewhere amid the Whatsapp forwards, we've stumbled upon this period being labelled a 'necessary evil'. It having reduced the carbon footprint, brought in laws to improve hygiene, freed the wilderness from their hideouts, and even given a much-needed break to several busy bees from their hectic work-life.

But none of these was the reason behind the tinge of relief in my mind.

If you remember it, life wasn't all rainbows and unicorns before the nation went into lockdown. We lived in a calm amidst the chaos. Or maybe the calm was an illusion. For, the normal we knew had our phones flashing with grim stories every other day. Minors were raped, students were thrashed, minorities attacked and what not. 72 years had passed since Independence and partition. Yet, communal violence had found its way back to the country.

Over a span of four months, an outrageous act passed by the parliament had brought a significant population out on the streets. Protests, clashes, and lathi charges had become words of daily usage. The photos floated in media resembled nothing short of war-torn sites.

Gone were the days when our worry was merely circled around unemployment, recession, or women's safety. We worried now of a violent and barbaric society. Perhaps it is best not to delve deeper into the incidents bygone.

Today, that time feels like a trauma of the near past we got a temporary respite from. Our focus has shifted to dealing with a contagious virus by staying indoors. This new normal was manageable. It was much unlike the pre-pandemic days.

From the bread for the daily wagers to the transport of essentials, we listened to the help being given to the needy every day. We heard of heroes who went out of their way to offer a hand to the sick. We heard of donations offered by people from every walk of life. Even social media was circulating words of love and support.

It sort of felt unreal to not read about crimes and atrocities. But it was a welcome change. A small relief to the mind though in a time of illness. And so, in the comfort of my bed, things seemed better, ironical as that may sound given the circumstance. But alas, the respite was only short-lived.

For, soon enough, grim reports had made their comeback.

In this war against the virus, the soldiers in the forefront we owe our lives to, the very health workers, have been under attack. A religious gathering has caused communal hatred to return, with the victimized community even being denied treatment in certain hospitals. Further on, an incident of lynching has raised a political blame-game. And meanwhile, arrests relating to the pre-lockdown protests continue to take place, raising several questions.

I was wrong. A lockdown amid a pandemic was no reason for negativity to rest. Neither is it a time for us to keep our vigil down. It's funny how things are different now, and yet the same in many ways.

We may not be able to join forces against the evil in these times. But if nothing else, this time has revealed many faces of kindness. Much of which was clouded by the ill-willed thus far.

While we survive this pandemic, and before we return to that frenzy of a constant fight against the pitfalls of the system, I wish to laud and celebrate the goodwill that still lives.

This is to all the people who've stepped out to help and support their fellow beings, be it in the smallest of ways. We need you. We need you desperately in this world where hatred and vengeance are making a firm stance. We need you to join forces with the passion and outrage that drives us otherwise.

We need you because you are the only hope to a better world.

We're living in the pandemic phase. We cannot resort to the ways of the past immediately, neither can we continue in the present ways for long. We're in a state of limbo. So we wait.

And while we wait, let's keep a look out for humanity, lest it dies in negligence.
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