Corona Virus- new vocabulary

These terms were unheard of or were at least not oft heard hitherto:

(1) Janta curfew- In our lifetimes, we have at least heard if not experienced first hand, curfews that are marked by deserted streets and intense patrolling. But Janta curfew, meaning curfew imposed by public on themselves voluntarily has not been heard or seen before. It’s about self restraint and self discipline.

(2) Lockdown – We must have heard and seen lockouts, but lockdown? It’s an eerie feeling and scene, observing a lively city like Mumbai completely shutdown and coming to a standstill!

(3) Social distancing – Man is a social animal and he likes to socialise! What’s social distancing? Neither heard of nor experienced heretofore and is an absolutely novel thing for everyone! Socially connected, yet distanced!

(4) Quarantine- Not that this term didn’t exist or wasn’t heard before, but it was more in the context of hospitalisation and sickness! To quarantine absolutely healthy individuals just because of their travel history is an absolute novelty!

(5) Corona – I always thought that this was a new virus strain, unheard of or unseen before; ironically, there was a post doing round in social media carrying an extract of an NCERT text book. Published several years ago, it has a mention of Corona virus, it’s symptoms and possible cure! Quite eerie so to say!

These terms apart, the total shutdown of bus, rail and air services is absolutely unseen hitherto before. There is already new slangs finding way into our day to day conversation. As someone wrote that Prince Charles has ultimately got “coronated”! Wry humour, but captures the sombre mood of the present times!

Let’s see by the time this malaise bids us adieu what new suffering and learning will wreak it on the mankind?

Cheering our heroes!

There are few moments in life that leave a deep imprint on one’s mind. The response to Prime Minister Modi’s exhortation to observe a Janta curfew and to come out in balconies to cheer the unsung heroes – doctors, nurses, delivery boys, security guards, bankers et al – who in these times of highly contagious Corona virus are serving the community by risking their lives, was overwhelming to say the least.

We have experienced bandhs and boycotts in our lifetimes. Also, curfews aftermath a riot or an act of terrorism are not uncommon. Many of us have also had the first hand experience of blackouts during the wartime (I have very faint memories of 1965 war, though 1971 wartime I remember distinctly). But this response to PM Modi’s call was most unusual and unique in more than one sense. The entire country chose to observe the self imposed curfew throughout the day and as the clock struck 5 in the evening, it’s as if the entire sea of humanity came out clapping, banging thalis and blowing conch shells to celebrate our unsung heroes. This was hitherto unseen and reaffirmed that whatever be our internal differences , when it comes to a call from the nation, we set aside all our differences to be one – the Indian!

While only the almighty knows how this Coronavirus episode will end, the nation by responding to this call of our PM, demonstrated that the nation is aware of the dangers and consequences, but the nation will fight together and win this war against this enemy of humanity- COVID 19!

Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and catholics are the way we live each day,

When it’s a call of duty for our beloved India we keep all this at bay;

Together shall we fight any enemy be it as dangerous as Corona virus,

And at the end “Jai Hind” will prevail as India will surely have its own way!

COVID 19

These are difficult times, in fact, hitherto unseen in our lifetime. A city that never sleeps, Mumbai, is completely locked down like the rest of the country. And to say that people are damn scared would be an understatement. People are terrified for they are not sure what it is all about and how is it going to end? What will be it’s toll and whether it’s consequences will only scratch the surface or the damage be lasting? Leave apart the economy, the dollar or salary cuts- our very existence seems to be in some sort of jeopardy!

As someone said, when this year began about 3 months ago, there were the usual resolutions – I will exercise daily, won’t eat junk food, finish at least 1 book every month, make a point to call up my aged parents once a week at least etc. All these resolutions seem so meaningless today when the main concern is, “Will I survive Corona scare?”

Outside, it all looks so clear and serene; in fact, Sky is bluer and so is sea, roads and streets are quite and air healthy to breathe? Yet there is that eeriness, clearly highlighting that all this serenity and calmness are unnatural, with something inauspicious in the offing!

Hopefully, Indians will demonstrate to the world their fighting spirit and resolve in defeating the menace of Corona virus. Also, we will all be wiser that notwithstanding tremendous technological and medical advancement, the life has become more fragile and uncertain and all this learning will lead us to live a happier, healthier and more meaningful lives.

This is totally new and not seen before,

It’s something we all want to throw out of door;

Corona virus, please let us live our lives peacefully,

We didn’t invite you ever, why you gate crashed to make us sore?

It’s in our hands to observe safety and defeat Coronavirus. Let’s join hands – not physically as physically we should maintain distance, but in spirit to demonstrate that in adversity we Indians are one! Jai Hind.

Oh Corona!

One of the big fall outs of the current Corona virus situation is the need for social distancing. People are being advised to stay indoors, work from home, avoid travel and not to go to crowded places or large congregations.

The maid doing household chores at our place travels all the way from Virar by train and has no option to avoid crowded places (read train here) or travel and doesn’t have the luxury of working from home. Ditto our driver, who also comes from Nalla Sopara. Our milkman doesn’t travel from a distance, but has to come nonetheless to deliver milk at our place. Roads are slightly less congested and traffic lighter, but cops and traffic boys and girls are still required on the roads to manage traffic, especially on difficult stretches. There are social media posts on doctors taking all the risks and serving humanity. Above all, there are daily wage earners – construction and road workers, vegetable and fish vendors, auto and taxi drivers etc, who simply cannot follow the advisory to sit at or work from home for they need to go out to fend for their daily bread!

School and college children can rejoice this unscheduled holidays; IT folks can work from home; white collared people can relax at home and enjoy this break; but in a country like ours, there’s hardly any social or governmental support system that can help millions of underprivileged, daily earners, high at risk denizens sustain this sudden stoppage of normal life!

Corona virus has brought to the fore the extreme vulnerability of the mankind to survive in the face of adversity. This Corona related emergency will end one day, but misery of humans may not if we do not imbibe the learning from this! And mind you it’s not just about personal hygiene, cleanliness and healthy lifestyle habits! It’s about how we treat our natural resources and planet in general! It’s a message that has doom written all over it and only mankind can reverse this!

Read a beautiful verse sent by a friend on WhatsApp yesterday that reads:

Corona virus- 2

India has declared Corona virus to be a national disaster. Just heard that Cr PC 144 has been promulgated that bars assembly of more than 4 persons. Already offices are allowing work from home, invoking backup contingency plans (BCP) for the activities that cannot be carried out from home, have banned international travel and severely restricted domestic travel. Schools are being closed and so are the malls and cinema halls. Haven’t seen such an emergency in my lifetime at least.

Social media are replete with preventive measures and possible cures as also rumours. People can be seen wearing masks and wherever one goes, one is welcomed guess with what? Hand sanitiser! There’s fear all around and I think public at large is at wits end about how it all is going to end?

There’s popular singer Narendra Chanchal praying to Mother Durga to save the world from Corona, while a former colleague, who has since taken to Sanskrit and Bhagvad discourse full time has penned Corona Kawatch in Sanskrit literally meaning “Protection from Corona”.

On personal front, a mild round of common cold almost drove me to panic and if I hadn’t felt relief on the second day, I was almost on the verge of going to Kasturba Hospital for test, such is the extent of dread!

Mankind has always faced adversities

Wars that have ravaged them

And diseases that have killed millions

It’s been quite often rather than seldom!

When we thought that advancement in science

Has almost eradicated all the causes of misery

From nowhere emerged this demon called Corona virus

Will it make the mankind a history?

Small small things that concern hygiene

Can save us from this disaster

Let’s be aware, careful, alert

And Corona will be a slave and man the master!!!

I will go to office and observe the rules of hygiene and live each day as it comes. I will pray and hope that like all the adversities, we shall overcome this too and emerge winners!

Coronavirus

First it all started with jokes. “Coronavirus will never affect a Bengali. In Bengal, they always say eta koro na, ota kora na and so they are quite used to Corona!” Second joke doing round was “ Coronavirus will not last long; after all which made in product China lasts long?” Third was a bit of self deprecation. It said, “ we Indians, thanks to the street food, unhygienic conditions in our cities and our overcrowded public transport, have a natural immunity against any such virus!

Slowly the reality started biting. Europe came under the impact of this virus and last heard, Italy has shut down for good. But real issue emerged when the virus started showing its virulence near home and Dubai, the travel hub for Indians started reporting cases. It was matter of time before it reached India from there and expectedly, Kerala reported the first of India cases. It’s continuously spreading its wings with the Indian tally now crossing three digits, with first of the cases now being reported from Aamchi Mumbai!

Economy, that was already in the throes of deep recession is going to go down further. Relatively untouched sectors such as aviation, travel and tourism, hotel industry etc are in for a long period of uncertainty. Worst, the Government has decided to cut off India by refusing to issue visas and even OCIs, not requiring VISAS, will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days on arrival in India.

Well, it’s a real threat and there’s no point in downplaying it, especially when WHO had declared it to be pandemic! But being an eternal optimist, I hope that with the onset of summers, the virus will start getting destroyed, though it’s not confirmed by the medical authorities. Also, may be there’s learning for us Indians to improve our awareness about hygiene (spitting, urinating, shopkeepers selling foodstuff with flies all around, coughing and sneezing without covering mouth and nose etc) and realise the fragility and uncertainty of life and to live life king size rather than indulging in petty stuff. Who knows when Coronavirus virus or even more dangerous stains in future will end or seriously impede our lives!

گو کرونا کی لہر ہے منھ زور
کیا کرے عرض ہم اس آفت پر
پاکے رہتا ہے آدمی قابو
ہر بلا اور ہر مُصیبت پر

Beautiful and an optimistic take on currently raging Corona virus read in an Urdu daily, which is loosely translatable as:

Though Corona is in all its fury,

What can we say about this crisis?

Such is the resilience of man,

He overcomes all the problems and all the crises!

Life will move on and this is at best be a temporary blip that will soon go into oblivion. Let’s be cautious but not stop celebrating life!

Happy Holi

جب حالات ہو جا رہے ہو بد سے بدترین
کو رونا ، معیشت، فساد جیسے مسلے بہُت سنگین
شکر ہے اُپروالے کا ایسے مے آئ ہے ہولی
اُمید ہے کالے بادل چھٹکر فضا ہوگی رنگین

The above can be loosely translated as-

When things are going from bad to worse,

Coronavirus, economy and riots are serious matters;

Thank god for small mercies ,

In comes Holi when happiness is all that matters.

Happy Holi to all!