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)