Mar 30, 2020

The End

The last few years have been tough.
But let's admit it - The last few days have been harder.

5 days ago, our PM did it again. He delivered a primetime speech, filled with enough anecdotes that included breaking Corona into an interesting acronym, to shut down our country. 
Yes, we had to shut down. Because let's face it. Our healthcare infrastructure is not prepared to handle an epidemic, let alone a pandemic.
Yes, we need to do what we need to do to prevent India from becoming a powder keg for the deadly virus.

My beef is with the way our PM does this. Sure, this virus much like black-money and corruption needs be to nipped and tough measures need to be taken. 
Like demonetization, he gave a country of 1.2 billion just 4 hours to shut down and stay home for 21 days. 
He had to be seen taking a tough and a much-needed stand. He had to be seen in control. 
But what ensued was utter chaos. Today, he came out with guns blazing defending his decision. Who else thinks our PM hasn't learned any lesson yet. 

Thousands of cities and towns across India has seen a crisis on the scale of what happened when Partition happened. Millions of people scrambled to stock up on essentials and more. Often stripping shelves bare. The early birds got the ready-to-eat packets and then more. The later birds were lathi-charged and if they were lucky, stood in lines 2 meters apart for hours to get milk and the bare necessities. I know because I stood in a line for 3 hours myself. 

And we're the lucky ones. 

The millions of migrants that build and run India heard half the first half, panicked, picked themselves, and ran. For their lives. It was either stay home and starve to death or flee and die in transit. For millions, this is still the prevailing truth. 

To the millions (in India, and billions across the world) who aren't quarantining themselves, declaring their travel history, or are otherwise continuing with their daily lives with a cavalier attitude I wonder- 
What will it take for them to take this outbreak seriously?

Where the politicians left, our media cued in with their own brand of paranoia and fed on the collective fear of apocalypse. Astrologers and your helpful chatty neighbor have been having a field day predicting all sorts of bullshit. 

But enough of the negativity.
As the world learns to stay, work, and play from home, I want this post to help you count your blessings. I know I do.

  • Most importantly, I am thankful that I am healthy (at the time of writing this post). I ask that you join me in silent prayer for the lakhs who are fighting this virus.
  • I am thankful millions like me can work from home. Unlike the tens of millions more who cannot. It would have been unimaginable to work from home even 15 years ago. Today, I don't even have to step out of my home to be productive. 
  • I am thankful that we have a roof over our heads. A safe haven. Unlike the millions in countries like Syria and Iraq and the millions of refugees, the homeless, the disenfranchised, and the persecuted. Apart from making sure we stay safe and clean, we don't have to worry about a drone or a missile strike killing us when we least expect it.
  • I am thankful, and this is for the millions who are actually taking this seriously, that we have the mental and emotional awareness of what we are going through and the gravity of the situation. Unlike those suffering from mental illness or are otherwise unable to understand why their worlds have suddenly changed.
  • I am thankful that I have the intellect to discern information from propaganda. I am glad I question and like to verify the facts instead of consuming every piece of information we're fed now. Being able to separate the fake from the truth is such a valuable trait. 
  • I am thankful that I have the money to buy what I'll need to ride this wave. I silently pray for the millions who aren't sure if they will be alive in 30 days from now.
  • I am thankful that my family, friends, coworkers, and loved ones are safe. I can't imagine the grief of those who lost someone close to their hearts at a time like this.
  • I am thankful that I am able to stay in touch with all my loved ones. I am thankful for all the love and prayers. I am alive only because of your prayers and I hope to be able to return all the love I've got.
  • I am thankful that we have millions of people who are doing what they need to do so that I can write and you can read this post. I am thankful to all the millions who are keeping our cities and towns powered, sewage clear, and water running. Asians, unlike our western cousins, don't use TP.
  • I am thankful that we have doctors and healthcare professionals working round the clock doing everything humanly possible to heal the sick, save the dying, and immunize the rest of us. 
  • I am glad we still have millions of good Samaritans helping our communities stay afloat, at these times. Cooking, cleaning and doing everything else we cannot (or would not) do. 
  • I am thankful that I am able to spend more time with my loved ones at home. I regret not spending enough time with my dad in his final years. I don't want to regret not spending time with family anymore. I am thankful for technology that enables us to be as connected as ever, even during an unprecedented crisis like this, to everyone and everything that matters. 
  • I am thankful we have stopped polluting our skies and clogging our roads, even if it is for a brief moment. Can I say how wonderful it is to wake up to birds chirping rather than the horns blaring?
  • I am thankful for this time of quiet introspection and solitude. Unlike the millions whose lives have changed forever.
  • ...

This list is long.
But you get the drift right. I want our rally cry to be one where we are positively encouraging. We can't shut all the negativity out, but we sure can drown them.

Recently a client of my company said something that struck me as profound - She was relating how she likes to end every conversation, digital or otherwise, by saying 'Choose Joy'. I was inspired. 
Like a lowly candle tearing into the darkness, I want to raise my voice. This time for more goodness. I choose joy.

And beginning with this post, I've decided to not write politics and social satire anymore. 
My readers get more than their daily recommended dosage of that from other sources online and offline.

I'm retiring my brand of satire here because I've grown weary of readers sending me veiled threats. 

Starting as soon as next week, I'll be back. With the renewed focus of a little candle in the darkness. 

Until then, stay safe and be thankful for the little joys of life. 
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