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Can We Please Walk Out Of This Lockdown As A More Sensible Planet?

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

20.05.2020, 12 noon

Mumbai, India

Just to report, I spent the last 2 days in procrastination and here I am, making my fourth attempt since yesterday at writing this journal entry. Some days are like this, you know, and it’s okay.

“Learn to forgive yourself” ~ I find myself telling people this a lot of times, especially through my company AkkarBakkar, where we publish stories written by everyday people. We promote the idea of sharing your story with the world and taking pride in your vulnerabilities, but often enough, unfortunately, I’m not able to apply this theory to myself. It’s hard sometimes, more so now, after I’ve spent 75 days in a house arrest declared by me, myself. 6th March was the first day of my self-quarantine. I say quarantine because, before that day, we were all out in the open, interacting with all kinds of people with the virus already in the air. So, I had been exposed I’d say. 

So, here’s the thought that’s giving me sleepless nights - a time that I feel is a chance for everyone in the world to unveil the most human side of their personalities, what are we doing with that opportunity?

A time when philanthropy and empathy should come together and do a dance to make the world a better place, why are we doing the opposite? Suddenly, we’re all on ground zero with different start lines, but we are massively co-dependent for the future we’d create for ourselves together. We’ve heard this a lot in political speeches in the past but never have we ever felt so united before. Today, we are truly ‘one’. The young, the poor, all genders, the jobless, the leaders, the politicians, the countries, the children - every single one of them, including the artists, the rich, and the middle-class. It doesn’t matter in what category you fall. The truth is, one move by anyone affects your future directly during this time. 

I find it appalling that a country (India) is locked down do strictly because the sensibility of the citizens can’t be trusted. As if we don’t care at all about living our lives to the fullest; and we’ve proved it again and again in the past few days. Some countries are allowing citizens to go to parks, their offices, and maybe bars, trusting them with the responsibility of maintaining ‘physical distance’. India just can’t take that risk. 

Why? Because a minute of easing lockdown leads to massive queues with people sticking to each other, traffic jams, and on the other hand, a month of lockdown increases domestic violence cases by 100%. This is the state of our country in a nutshell. There is no aar ya paar because, on every side, there’s a ditch. I almost feel bad for the authorities in power sometimes because when they sit on the table to define policies for this country successfully, they have to keep the stupidity of human beings in mind. So we can complain all we want about the extended lockdown but the fact that remains is that we’re just a bunch of high school brats who need to be kept in check. Without such strict rules and regulations, I’m not sure what would happen with this pandemic in this country.

And it is our fault that we need to be begged to be responsible citizens. To say the least, it’s a sad state of affairs. 

Hopefully, we’ve had our learnings from the two months of this house arrest because if we haven’t, I don’t know what kind of a crisis we’re waiting for to correct ourselves. We’ve been breathing clean air devoid of the pollution, we are arresting people who are breaking the code of conduct, we are living a sustainable life so the home chores don’t pile up, we have finally understood the meaning of ‘less is more’. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit- if after a few months of living such a life does not result in a planet of sensible human beings, I don’t know what it’ll take. If we’re able to continue living this life, we may save the planet one day and the global climate crisis will be a thing of the past. It’s the planet giving us a chance to live a more fulfilling and long life, I guess. 

I just finished watching Michelle Obama’s documentary yesterday on Netflix - “Becoming”. I think I cried more than I watched. I don’t know whether I cried because I related so much to every word that this fine woman uttered in this documentary, or because she was so hopeful about the generations to come and I see no hope, or maybe watching the way she treated the people around her with so much love and affection filled my heart with warmth? She said it in the context of America- that there are decent human beings and there is a lot of good out there. I take that in the context of the world at large and my country I guess. Sadly, I see none of the two in practice around me, outside of my house (if at all, there will be an ‘outside’ anytime soon). 

The helplessness is striking me hard. With the domestic violence when you’re home and massive spread of coronavirus if the lockdown is lifted. I can’t see this as an easy problem for any country to deal with. 

If you’re reading this, do leave me a comment with your hopeful messages to the country, to people locked down in the worst scenarios, to the people making big decisions for their companies/families/country during this time to keep going. 

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