The mere mention of the words ‘halo’ or ‘crown’ creates an aura of wonder in the human mind. But their Greek version, ‘Corona’, has struck fear and panic deep in the hearts of people.
After more than two weeks of strict lockdown in the subcontinent, people are craving for the lifting of the ban. However, even with everyday life thrown off the track, there is a great deal to be learned from it, for every ordeal comes with its own set of lessons.
The first thing we all should learn is that we can limit our use of resources, natural and otherwise, to the minimum. The temporary closure of businesses has given us the gift of the discovery of our own resourcefulness. It has also made us realize that the rich do not deserve any superiority over the poor. Having loads of money in bank accounts is by no means a ticket to preferential treatment during an epidemic. No rich person has ever been historically recorded to have bribed disease or death into sparing him. We have also learnt that privilege extends only to the events we have control over. What’s beyond human control does not differentiate between the rich and the poor.
What this outbreak has shown us is that nobody can fight fate: what is destined to happen will happen. Fortune or misfortune find their way through anything. When nature takes its course, there’s no stopping it. But the lockdown has taught us to appreciate the little things in life that we had overlooked for long. Most of us had stopped acknowledging the significance of family and the comfort and support they provide us. But now we have begun to actually hang out with family more. Instead of hurrying to leave the house and go meet acquaintances for idle gossip over a cup of tea at the cafe round the corner, we have learnt to devote time to family. Also, we have learnt to know the value of home-cooked meals and to appreciate the culinary skills of family members.
Post-Corona, the world has witnessed that people can actually focus on what’s really important than just the mundane. We all can survive without expensive holidays, cruises, lavish parties and a whole lot of other indulgences. We have learnt that being content is a luxury we all can afford. We also learnt that we can actually do well without maliciously speaking about others, or being spitefully critical in others’ absence. This has also taught us that we human beings have a higher purpose in life than just idle talk and backbiting. We have learned that the world can live without war, without the urge to establish territories, and without the need for recognition of supremacy. The world has also learned that the lockdown world affecting daily life is just a fraction of what people of Syria, Palestine and Kashmir have experienced constantly over the last few decades.
We have learned that human beings are capable of good deeds. We have learned that not all wars are fought in the battlefield, with weapons. We have witnessed compassionate souls go the extra mile to make sure that the needy don’t struggle for square meals.
We have learned that wildlife has a right to the jungle. We had ventured and settled into their territory for so long that the lockdown prompted them to stroll down deserted city streets in bewilderment. We have also learned that union is strength, no matter people’s religious beliefs. We have also learned that it is not the survival of the fittest but the survival of the kindest.
WH Davies had more than a century ago in his poem ‘Leisure’ written:
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
A hundred and ten years later, his grievance is finally redressed in the most unexpected way.
The writer is assistant professor at MANUU. [email protected]