We are not sailing in the same boat… 

 Contrary to what many may like to believe that we are sailing in the same boat, the fact is all of us are caught in the same storm, but our boats are different. Some are in sturdy vessels that have greater chances of withstanding choppy waters. However, there are many sailing in light boats that can easily be toppled in the storm.

Coronavirus, and the resultant lockdown has affected the lives of millions across the world, but the circumstances are different for everyone, and so is the impact. The pain and the suffering is not the same for everyone. There are people like me who are privileged to be living in comfortable homes; on the other hand there are tens of thousands living in cramped conditions. For many of us there is little to worry about money or food. We are lucky to be well stacked with groceries, our fridge loaded with fruits and vegetables, but there are millions going through the hell who do not know where their next meal will come from.

For us it is the fear of disease, the worry is to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the virus, but for millions it is not just a question of life, but also of livelihood. And in the absence of jobs it will be difficult for them to keep the body and soul together. Hunger and starvation is very much real for the poor. Of course, the virus doesn’t make any distinction between the rich and the poor, but the lockdown does. The worst sufferers have been the migrant labourers who came on the roads without proper food, water and transport when the lockdown was announced; many of them still stranded or trying desperately to reach home. Financially, physically and emotionally drained, they are in a pitiable condition.

Carrying the analogy of the boat further, sailing in a sturdy boat, having a sound financial condition is also not a guarantee that the ride will be smooth. How people negotiate through the storm also depends upon their nature and perceptions. Our reactions are different, so is the journey through the storm. Some have made peace with the forced isolation; others are complaining of boredom and feeling restless. For some it is an opportunity to reflect, relax, read and write, for others it is a torture to stay at home. There are couples rustling up recipes every day, for them it is time to connect, spending quality time together. For others staying together 24×7 is torturous. There has been a spike in domestic violence, men ventilating their frustration on women and kids during the lockdown.

It is a fact that all of us are caught in the worst storm of century, how and when we come out of it only the time will tell. As we sail through the storm, certain things may be beyond our control, but it will help if we do not panic, have faith and stay safe .And also, if we are lucky to be sailing in a strong vessel, we can try to reach out to those in distress, help them in whatever way we can.

(Published in Times of India.indiatimes.com on May 9. 2020)



32 Replies to “We are not sailing in the same boat… ”

  1. Ma’am you have described the current situation very well in your words. It is true that migrant laborers are the worst hit with this lockdown. Though many organizations are reaching out to them , but still it is hard to survive without a job for the daily wage earners.

    1. Absolutely, the cthe poor migrant labourers are the worst hit.Struck up without jobs and money for weeks, they are trying desperately to reach home, sometimes treading miles together on foot.A great human tragedy!You are right Khushneet government and various organizations are giving help , but it is indeed sad to the people earning their living, howsoever small, turned into beggars at the mercy of others.

      1. Thanks DR Minoo. … the sight of the poor migrant labourers trudging on foot, on their cycles , loaded in lorries trying to sneak into their home states is so pathetic…so unbearable that no words can explain their tragedy and misfortune.A monumental failure to address their issue in time!

  2. Storm is the same but boats 🚤 of some are stronger than others than it automatically becomes the duty of strong boat ( Ship 🚢) to carry with it the small boats to a safer destination
    It behoves the Great
    Behave like the Great

    1. Wow Mrs Chopra, this is so beautiful , almost like a verse, “It behoves the Great…. ” Yes , this is what it should be.

  3. The article is a good pointer to the well placed and the strong to help the weak and the vulnerable. The sturdy boats of the well to do can act like Noah’s Arcs in sheltering the homeless and the needy from the the storm of the Corona Pandemic.

    1. Wow Praveen .. you have put it across so well, only a literary person of your caliber can do that. Yes , if we are in a sturdy vessel,we should consider it to be our privilege to help those in light boats.

  4. Rama ji, very nicely written article. It really touched my heart. Daily we see accidents on TV in which so many labourers die. They don’t have shoes also to walk so much. What is happening is explained very well.

    1. Thanks Rita for reading the article and leaving your comments.Yes,it is a tragedy unfolding everyday…sadly, there seems to be no end to the suffering of poor migrants in near future.

  5. Ma’am you seem to be very sentimental in writing this article.After the lockdown was announced, labourers had no work,no wages,no shelter and not even much to eat.They migrated.But were not much welcomed in their parent state either.The situation is very miserable.

    1. Garima, not just I, but each one of us feels the same. Poor are the worst sufferer, most vulnerable in any crisis.If we are lucky to be in a better position , we will feel good by doing our bit. If we are in a position to help, why not…

  6. Dear Rama ji ,I must say this article is an excellent.Words have come right from heart as these must have touched each and everyone.The article is worth reading neither once nor twice but multiple times.It will leave its impact on all its readers. THREE CHEERS

    1. Oh thanks ma’am. It touches a chord with you , because you are so compassionate.. not just feel but do for the poor and needy.

  7. Thanks Alka for all the encouragement and the kind words.Yes, the government , various charitable organisation and people are coming forward to help out the poor in the hour of need, but the task is humongous. Hope and pray the crisis ends soon .. too much of suffering

  8. Rama I feel this is your one of the best written article. Straight from the heart but I differ on the condition of migrants who do not have any boat to sail Their condition is too pathetic to be described in words and seen on television Your heart cries when you see thousands of them walking empty stomach with small children for days or crammed in overloaded trucks God knows if they will ever reach their homes. My heart cries for them and how I wish Government becomes more sensitive to their plight and give them physical social and financial support

    1. Neena , you are very right . The migrants have no boat..somehow struggling to swim through the storm… we are witnessing heart rending sights everyday of migrants … walking on foot … loaded in lorries ..desperately trying to reach home not out of choice but compulsion..no job, no money… huge cost of lockdown and brunt is being borne by multitudes of poor

  9. Writers do not stay on ivory tower.Being a writer he or she is more sensitive about things happening around us and so is Rama , a brilliant writer.
    God sent misery was cruel but the way it impacted on thousands of people was cruelest.Disease named corona 19 spread all over the world like a forest fire. People who were sick, hungry unemployed, wanted to atleast die among their own dear ones walked thousand and thousands miles with their pregnant wives and old mother’s on their shoulders .
    One more thing, I would like to add in your article is the mention of piles and piles of dead bodies of sons, husbands, mothers and children and what is most painful is their dead dreams, aspirations and ambinations

    1. Oh Mrs Behl,there are tears in my eyes as I read your comments..it is so moving ….true, distressing is saga of dead dreams, aspirations and ambitions of tens and thousands…My sincerest regards to very sensitive soul.

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