The different shades of Coronavirus

share this article

The radical changes that COVID-19 is forcing on our lives are shaking us out of our urban ruts till we’re able to see things in fresh light.

Nothing like a pandemic to realign our priorities and refresh our perspective on life

I have tried to begin this article by saying ‘As I write, I learn that …’ But we are learning not just a few but a multitude of things about coronavirus every waking minute (and probably having nightmares the rest of the time). If, one minute, you learn that some patients have been discharged from the hospital, immediately some other aspect — measures taken by governments and other institutions, the deaths, the economic woes it has wrought — flashes on the screen. COVID-19 has thrown the world into a tumult, not only because of the alarming velocity and stealth with which the pandemic is affecting thousands but also because of the torrent of information and anxiety that is pouring out of every corner — the media, social networks, our phones, the people around us.

It seems that everyone and everything is consumed by it. What stands out is how all this ferment has brought things into ‘perspective’, and how that perspective can alter. About two weeks ago, I was crushed when I finally decided to put off a holiday. I struggled with that decision. In wanting to persist with the trip was I being brave and rational after arming myself with information and statistics? Foolhardy? Foolish? Was I being selfish? Could I live with myself if I infected others? Was I overthinking it? Was I being cowardly, should I just get on the plane and go? But news, views and cues grew exponentially soon enough and I stayed put. So much so that when I found myself at a cinema a few days ago, and a full one at that, I wondered how I had dared. (I swallowed nervously a few times to check if my throat had begun to hurt. Hadn’t someone seated nearby sneezed or made noises a couple of minutes ago that suggested an ENT problem?)

However, there were other perspectives — travelers feel now is the time to take advantage of lowered fares on airlines and in hotels; they claim that the risk of infection at tourist centres is now lower as they are emptying out. Are they courageous, deluded or desperate? Is it better to be adventurous rather than antsy, safe rather than sorry or, like me, safe but sorry anyway at how things turned out?

The lockdowns and isolations have forced some to see the serendipitous side of the situation. According to social media posts, the home-bound and the restricted are discovering how to spend time with themselves, reconnect with family and friends, communicate better, appreciate nature, absorb silences, cook creatively, read and rest more frequently and give thanks for good health and positivity.

The Law of Attraction is a theory we hear about often enough these days. What you think, you manifest. When the coughing coronavirus message made it to our phones a few days ago, it was met with irritation — as if there wasn’t enough of it in the air, it had to come to the airwaves too! Even the healthy ones would fall sick, we muttered. However, a new perspective came soon enough. My help, who knows neither how to read nor when a Rajini movie has hit the screen, is aware of this new scourge because of this message. It was being issued only in English and Hindi at the time but she made enquiries and armed herself with some information.

There was another new perspective today, courtesy my e-mail. It was from a publicist for a website on which people could buy and sell pre-owned fashion. While shopping in stores is drying up due to the fear, coronavirus is a “lifeline” for online fashion, it declared. How? Because “our clothing is safer than new clothing as each product […] goes through a stringent hygiene processes […] Compare this with new clothing which is touched by multiple hands during each stage of the manufacturing process and never washed. They ensure that we, in no way, propagate the spread of COVID-19.” Incorrigible, you might say! What next? Coronavirus recipes? I searched, feeling silly, but of course, there are some — for home-made hand sanitiser.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

share this article
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor