Surviving the Sweet Serenade of COVID-19

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The day before nationwide lockdown was announced by our Honorable Prime Minister to contain COVID-19, it was like any other. People went about their business as usual – those engaged in manual labor went in search of work, students and tutors went to their respective educational institutions, those working in the offices, those working in private enterprises, etc. went about their daily business. In the evening, just before the nationwide lockdown was announced people sat down for a cup of tea, coffee or their preferred brew along with some snacks, perhaps discussing current affairs, with the growing COVID-19 pandemic making up a small part of that discussion. It thus came as a shock to everyone when something that was an afterthought in their minds occupied center stage after our Prime Minister’s announcement that the COVID-19 virus had reached our shores and the pandemic was rapidly growing. Taking a bold decision, he announced nationwide lockdown immediately without prior warning so that the lives of the people could be saved. Nothing else mattered once the pandemic took over the world’s stage as a villainous lead actor. The lockdown meant that not a single soul was to walk the path outside the house. This is the very picture that we - the present generation, who are witnessing the birth of history, shall narrate it to our descendants, that it all started on a normal day. We shall be the storytellers of tomorrow – much like our ancestors were to us.


At the same time, we need to understand that the current scenario we live in isn’t something unique to our present age but is something that has happened time and again. Pandemics have changed the way of life , throughout the ages – this current pandemic is no different. However, we must ensure that we keep our minds in the right perspective – that is, instead of focusing on the negative aspects of this pandemic and the doomsayers, let us rather choose to focus on the indomitable and resolute will of humans who throughout the ages have braved much worse pandemics than this and come out stronger. The way we perceive our surroundings will play a vital role in our storytelling when we recount our experiences, years later. 


We also need to keep in mind the especially vulnerable minds of children who might be traumatised after hearing countless warnings of impending death and destruction from their elders, parents and guardians. The constant berating of young children during this crucial time might lead to them losing their innocence which is something that we need to preserve. Therefore, it is best to draw their minds away from the current situation and engage them in activities and games, giving them the space to learn on their own and also to introduce them to the current reality where COVID-19 is rampant in such a way that it does not traumatize them or take away their innocence. You and I need not make use of violence or harsh words thereby aggravating the already intense situation. Why not give a chance to our imaginative power by becoming a storyteller and painting the stories not merely in grey but in different vibrant shades.


Let us also ensure that our worldview is not soured and rather than complaining about being locked inside our homes, let us instead count it as a blessing. Before the lockdown, many of us would have dreamed, hoped and pined for a respite from the humdrum of daily life because the fast pace of modern life sometimes leaves little room to slow down and appreciate the intricate nature of life. How long has it been since we stopped running the rat race – running after a promotion, running after jobs, running after good grades, etc. Perhaps, this is nature’s way of giving us a chance to slow down and retrospect as well as introspect. This lockdown, let us make the most of it by trying new things like – learning how to bake, how to cook, gardening, cleaning, lending a helping hand to our parents in the kitchen, spending time with them, pursuing our hobbies that we put on hold, learning to play an instrument, memorizing short bible verses, trying to improve our vocabulary by learning new words, etc. There are hundreds of options in front of us and thus, shouldn’t moan or gripe the fact that we’re not able to step out of the house. Let the Government, doctors, nurses, and medical staff do their best to combat COVID-19 outside while we do our bit by staying indoors and not spreading the contagion. 


It is human nature to be naturally pessimistic, to focus on the negative aspects of a particular thing – whether it be the present pandemic, or economic situation of a country, relationships, the struggle for getting a job, etc. It is high time, we choose to focus on happiness in the present, because happiness is not something that will fall on our laps one fine day. Happiness is a choice – it is a decision that we have to make every day when we get up. For the sake of simplicity, let us say that there are two types of people in the world – every morning when they wake up, one says, “Good morning God” and happily gets up, ready to start the day – while the other says, “Good God, it’s morning already” and wearily makes an attempt to get up, already discouraged and bitter that he has to go to work again. Let us therefore make an attempt to emulate the first type of person – there is already too much negativity in the world that we are living in. Let us arise and strive to make the most of the present, appreciate the fact that we are alive and choose happiness over sadness.


I would like to conclude by saying that, life is ephemeral – nothing lasts forever. And I do not mean that in a defeatist sense - for just like the scorching heat of the sun gives way to the cool of the night, or sickness gives way to health, so also the current pandemic that has cast a shadow over our lives will not last long and sooner or later we will go back to our former lives. But, while we are battling the pandemic, together as the human race, let us not lose hope. Let us keep the candle of hope burning bright in our hearts encouraging each other during this difficult time. Remember, if diseases are contagious, so is hope.


Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Dr. Aniruddha Babar, Dr. Pfokrelo Kapesa, Webei Tsühah, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.