Lessons Learnt From Coronavirus
The sunset looked gorgeous. I was relaxing in my room with enough food and drinking water to last me a week at least. Anyways, if I wanted something, I could easily hop into my car with my husband and get hold of all the essential items, yet I complained about the weather, the lockdown, my inability to go to the park, complained about the adjustments I had to make in my daily routine etc. etc. In fact, my list of grudges hardly ever sees a full stop. Well, as we all know, India has declared twenty-one day total lockdown, the world’s biggest to cope with the rise of Coronavirus. 1.3 billion citizens of this country have been asked to stay indoors.
Little did I realise that I was way more comfortable than those thousands of migrant workers walking back to their native villages from across India. This lockdown has thrown them out of their jobs; wages have been stopped; there is no means of transport; supplies are running dry and miles to walk in the scorching heat with their belongings on their backs and family members including toddlers on shoulders and children by their sides. They have decided to walk back to their homes rather than die hungry. Of course good samaritans and policemen are offering food and water to these migrant labourers. In fact, frontline heroes like doctors, nurses, paramedics, railway workers, aviation staff, drivers and workers at the sanitation department are all out there facing the odds every single day and serving our great nation at all times.
On looking back, I feel I have always been dependent on my domestic helps and street vendors for making my life so very smooth and easy. But most of us have been ungrateful and thankless to them most of the time. We expect them to deliver the best of services at the cheapest rate without a single day’s leave come rain, sun, ill health or some misfortune and now without them, I am quite at sea and finally understand their importance.
With my domestic help
This Coronavirus has definitely unfolded some harsh realities of life before me and in the process has taught me some of the best lessons from life. They are as follows:
First and foremost, I have learnt that life is uncertain at all times, nevertheless let us learn to embrace the same with positivity. Afterall life goes on within us and without us; it doesn’t pause for anyone or anything. The doctors, nurses and the entire staff at the various hospitals across India are risking their lives every single day so that all of us can remain healthy and safe. They are dealing with something which has no cure at the moment, cut off from their families, yet serving all their patients with so much of love and tenderness. They are spreading positive vibrations in all directions amidst uncertainty, chaos and confusion. God bless them and their families.
My next learning has been – good health is true wealth. We can hardly enjoy our earnings, success, fame or for that matter relationships if there’s no health. I believe happiness is the highest form of health apart from being physically fit and disease free.
Most of us wake up in the morning hale and hearty with a shelter above our heads, a job or a business, food to eat, clean water to drink, a family to fall back on and yet we are hardly grateful for the same. Only at such times do we understand that some unlike us may not see the sun rising the next morning while there are others who are cut off from their families and are risking their lives while performing their duties. Waking up with gratitude is the beginning of a beautiful day which in turn begins with a beautiful mindset.
Sometimes we are so tied up with our job, earning, position, status and that massive ego of ours that we forget to enjoy the little joys of life, forget to nurture our relationships or rarely spend quality time with our family. It is only during such times that we understand how much our near & dear ones mean to us. As they say, in times of test, family is the best.
Health and happiness begins with our thoughts in our minds. You and I have a choice at every step of our lives. We can choose to be frustrated in the midst of luxury and comfort or choose to get up and get going like those migrant labourers even when they are surrounded with so much of uncertainty. May God shower them with His blessings. Our job is to fill our cup with love, faith, gratitude, positivity and compassion so that it overflows and we become a service to mankind in times like this. I know it is easier said than done. Nonetheless, self care is extremely important. In other words, we need to take care of our physical and mental health. Being active, eating nutritious meals, being calm & composed and a good night’s sleep nourishes our mind, body and soul.
What if these migrant labourers were passing through my neighbourhood? Should I just stand there and pray for them or should I offer some drinking water and refreshments? While it is great to pray for the well being of everyone, in times of crisis like this one, immediate help may be required.
We can choose to be like the policeman who made these migrant labourers (with baggage on their backs) hop on the road or like those foolish people who sprayed them with some harmful chemical or else we can choose to be different – we can offer some help to these people in terms of money, food, shelter….anything which can make them feel better. Helping others makes this world a better place, builds stronger communities and is the secret to a lifetime of happiness.
Life is but an endless journey full of ups & downs, joys & sorrows, but it can also be that of discoveries and experiences so that we learn to face the challenges, learn from our mistakes, learn to celebrate every moment and in the process enjoy the journey. Afterall, happiness is a journey and not a destination.
The journey inward means being the master of my mind, living in the present without the stress of the past or fears of the future so that one is able to utilise his or her energies in the most optimum manner. We have such beautiful examples set by our brothers and sisters coming from the Defence, Police or for that matter healthcare background….the more chaotic the situation is outside, better do they emerge in handling their respective circumstances and thereby perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Unless and until we are sorted inside, it would be difficult to care take of ourselves without which we would only be adding to the commotion outside without contributing anything substantial.
As someone rightly pointed out that on announcement of the 21 day lockdown, none of us rushed to buy properties, jewellery, clothes or cars. Instead we bought rice, wheat, vegetable, fruits and dairy products. In fact while the western world is fearful of this deadly new found disease, in India it is the fear of hunger which is greater than that of Coronavirus. I once remember meeting a young lad selling roses at the traffic signal who asked me if there was any medicine to curb hunger. Most of the daily wage workers with hope in their eyes and prayers on their lips left for their villages in search of food. They could not let their children go to bed hungry. Some who were left behind in the cities have to wait for six to eight hours in front of shelter homes just for a handful of cooked meal. The plight of women and children are greater since it is next to impossible to be a part of such a huge crowd of men. What will be the condition of these people at the end of this 21 days of lockdown? Hunger, misery, disappointment are written all over their faces. Coronavirus is a serious threat to our well being, but a more fearful disease is that of hunger and poverty. In our country, nine out of ten are labourers who belong to the unorganised sector with no security of job. They earn their wages daily and hence are called daily wage workers.
Sorry to say that we may love food, but we hardly ever respect the same. Every year around the globe about 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted and just one third of the same is consumed by us. Respecting food ensures a better future.
My greatest lesson learnt so far has been to feed the hungry, at least once a week.
So untill we meet again, let us wash our hands regularly; wear masks when coughing; sneezing or venturing out; avoid close contact with people; stay home; stay safe; don’t panic; spread awareness and positivity. Take care