At this point in time, the quarantine seems like an endless period of restrictions. The number of cases and lonely death rates still continue to rise and there could be nothing more depressing than to watch thousands of families mourn over the loss of their loved ones. Millions of people have lost their jobs and small businesses have immensely suffered over these last few months, all across the world.
Schools, parks, offices, stores, and public transport systems are all shut and I believe that this is the most deserted time witnessed by the modern world. A timeline that is so close to being defined as a war zone except for the fact that no ammunition is involved here.
Back in school, I remember, a few of us would always think and discuss during the recess hours, mostly after a history class, trying to imagine what it would be like to experience World War 3. As far as my memory can support me here, I think none of us had a concrete answer and all we could think of was our schools having to be shut down and exams being postponed. Honestly, as a kid, that bit didn’t seem unpleasant at all. It was also around that time, that we witnessed one of the biggest horrors of 9/11 and our limited understanding had an unfathomable glimpse of humans deceived as ticking time bombs.
19 years later and surfing through many disasters, here we are, yet again living in a time where the world has been brought down to its knees. We are here now fighting an enemy on a global scale that is not only invisible but also, invincible. This deadly disease has known no barriers, no caste, no race, and judged no strata of wealth. While its origin is still a subject of speculation, it appears to be no better than an uninvited angel of death.
However, on the brighter side, I do feel that this situation is also empowering us on a much deeper level. It has stirred within us a fantastic opportunity to express compassion, unity, and kindness for one another. I understand that this ideology can seem very conflicting considering the “stay-at-home” protests being driven on the streets, the rise of political chaos across many nations, and a substantial percentage of people playing “brave” assuming that the virus is impervious to them.
But isn’t this how things have always been? In any given situation, there is always a group of people who move in an appropriate direction, a segment who moves otherwise, and some who unfailingly exhibit disconcert.
And while there is just too much to focus, given the noise of information around us, I also feel that this phase has presented itself as an important time, to sit back (home) and reflect. Reflect on what is going on and what has been missing, reflect on the impact of our actions on us and on others. And to realize that besides chasing our dream for power and wealth, we also have the privilege of being “living -breathing” social people who inhabit this most beautiful planet in our cosmic system.
It is unfortunate that in the adventure of turning out better and stronger than the other, we have missed out on the essence of feeling and being contained. We have chased the race so hard that most of us have forgotten what it must be like to live with ourselves, to cherish home and our own people, to feel settled in our own space and mostly to complain less when the world is suffering together.
And as we just celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, it is both astonishing and marvelous to see the images of how the climate is healing, wildlife is flourishing and people are using their gifted imagination, skills, and creativity to make the most out of this austerity. People of some regions are even surprised to breathe fresh air for the first time in their own countries, know that skies can be really blue, and witness the splendor of the Himalayan mountain ranges for the first time in 30 years from as far as 125 miles. Incredible, right?
While scientists and nature conservationists took years to plead and educate people about the dangers of climate change, wildlife poaching, and factory farming, it took only a few months of mother nature’s imposed quarantine, to make life on Earth look hopeful again.
I understand that we are still debating if this virus is lab-generated or a mutation from an animal to humans, but what remains undeniable is that it is allowing our environment to get better and helping us to acknowledge the damage we’ve irresponsibly caused. To some extent, this does also remind me of the “time-outs” we used to get in school or at home when we couldn’t get our way through with stubbornness or insubordination. And by experience, anyone can tell you that this method always worked!
We know that sooner or later this Pandemic and as such these unprecedented days will come to end. Life will return back to chaos and haphazardness, people will regain strength, jobs will be restored, everything will be up and running and the economy will bounce back to life.
But what’s important, is to question whether or not we will get out this baited situation stronger and better. Whether we would still appreciate and support the essence of a community and most importantly, whether or not we would continue to make this world a better place in the days to come.