Difficult Times, Tough Measures

The world around is calm, with the unexpected breeze blowing on Mumbai skies. The incessant honking is replaced the chirping (rather cawing) of birds (my locality is home to more crows than any other birds). The silence can be deafening. The echo of every sneeze, that comes out from the kitchen windows when tempering spices, makes all hearts skip a beat or two. None of us really know what happens when you are ill with the corona virus; and with my family orthopedic and dental clinics shut, it seems like one can have no other serious illness except this one either!

Although much a need of the hour, as we failed to understand the gravity of the situation in the first place, I still believe the lock-down was unplanned and did not consider all interests. It is easy to sit in a plush metro city apartment, with no power cuts, work laptop that let’s one work from anywhere (please stay at home this time) and have a peaceful night’s sleep knowing that the pantry will last me a fortnight.

But spare a thought for those in toxic relationships, living with domestic abuse and communities with common washing and bathing areas. There are people of wealth stuck in PGs that offer shelter but no cooked food or provision to cook anything either. Then there are those without income who’d rather brave the hot and humid weather and walk for hundreds of kilometers and perish than pay rent and stay put on one hand, and on the other there are people who left the country on their own accord and are now shooed away from their adopted dwelling, only to find comfort in their motherland (with a lot of grumbling and name calling, of course). Finally, as news trickles in, the worse hit are probably those with habits. With no means to combat or deal with potential withdrawal symptoms, vices are leading people to consume poison that can kill instantly!

I read a lot of posts where people talk about equating working from home, either availed as necessity, or convenience (basically by choice) with a situation to work from home where there is no social life. Till I remember, this concept was to boost work life balance. With very little life (and I mean social, not biological), the balance is tipping precariously. Please watch out for signs of emotional duress, and talk to people. There is social distance, but not societal distance.

As I was gripping my self for another anxiety attack, I decided to make a 3km walk to my house from my mom’s. A hapless rickshaw driver pulled in just 500m away and asked me to pay 20 bucks extra. In the 10 minute ride, he managed to explain how he had braved beatings from the cops twice, just because there wasn’t enough to feed his three-year-old. Despite all the risk, we have to brave uncharted scenarios. Stay safe, stay positive and like all else this too shall pass.

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