Varied Angles to Pandemic

They say, ’A show might end, but the impact never fades.’ And here Coronavirus have not yet become extinct but it has already started creating an irreversible impact amongst Indian citizens. Lockdown and quarantine are not new words now. I remember during my 10th grade, I was supposed to write an essay and I was trying to search this word ‘quarantine’ in dictionary. Never realized that, this word would one day be a lifestyle for everyone. But how are we Indians reacting to this lifestyle? Are everyone able to adapt to it? These are multiple questions which arise. And these questions get answered when you actually observe the events of past three months. 

Self quarantine at home, hand hygiene and social distancing are the three key features to prevent coronavirus from entering our body. Studies have shown that in India, 22% more people have stayed inside their homes from months of March to May compared to previous months. But there are people who do not have please to reside and neither do they have soaps or mask for their own hygiene. Being the second most populous country in the world, it is being difficult to maintain social distancing especially in the slum areas which are more prone to affection of virus. No doubt, people are able to continue their work by working from home but what about those who have to depend on their daily wages to earn their livelihood? And this is the primary reason which is causing migration of labourers from their work place to their own village. It was easy for people to say and wonder that what if this migration thing increase the affection of virus. But for those labourers this was only solution. 

There were some incidences where the labourers were dropped in between without reaching the destination despite of accepting the entire money. The migration of labourers from one city to their native places has highlighted the socioeconomic disparity that exists even today.

 Farmers too are suffering from a severe loss and are bearing the brunt of lockdown. Initially owing to unavailability of transportation farmers had to sell vegetables and fruits at cheaper price being perishable. There were instances where farmers sold watermelons for Rs 1 per fruit while so even had to destroy their produce. On the other hand consumers in the metropolitan areas had to shell out more money to buy basic food and vegetables. 

Contrary to this dire situation, amidst this entire lockdown there were some happy faces too! The kids whose exams were cancelled and the adults for wine shops being reopen! On 4th May 2020, the wine shops were reopened. But due to the excessive excitement of people, the social distancing norms were flouted. Huge crowds were witnessed at the wine shops, few of them with queues more than a kilometre which raised the concerns regarding spread of virus at many places. The decision to allow sale of alcohol stems from the  lack of revenue being generated due to the lockdown.

The students especially in 10th , 12th and final year were anxious about the exams being postponed out of the fear of losing out an academic year. There still prevails uncertainty and worry amongst the students , but with the reopening of school education through online platforms , students will not fall back and lose their time. Unfortunately online education has raised questions regarding the availability of technology in rural areas. Students hailing from modest backgrounds are finding it difficult to procure laptops, tablets, smart phones to continue their education. While students from cities are finding it cumbersome to sit in front of a screen for hours at a stretch , those students in villages are still struggling to find connectivity to education.

This pandemic period has actually taught multiple things to India. It has been a major turning point for the entire country. Despite of being a developing country, India could control the death rate of patients affected by coronavirus, compared to other countries. Multiple NGOs, celebrities, CEOs of companies came forward to support during these days of pandemic. People on their part offered to help with food distribution in their area. All of us learned to become self-reliant and realized the importance of small things in life. Amidst of all this, somewhere humanity did come into picture. (Amidst these chains of lockdown , the humanity embedded within our souls, did break free !)

-Dr. Natasha Tungare (PT)

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