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Lessons unlocked

After five months of claustrophobic pause, as we gingerly reawaken to a new, unfamiliar world filled with mandatory norms even as the pandemic continues to upend our lives,

Published: 03rd September 2020 06:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd September 2020 06:33 AM   |  A+A-

EXPRESS ILLUSTRATION

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: After five months of claustrophobic pause, as we gingerly reawaken to a new, unfamiliar world filled with mandatory norms even as the pandemic continues to upend our lives, denizens from different cities open the pages of their diaries to share revelatory lessons that have shaken them to the core.

Prudhvi Vegesna, Hyderabad
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the world flat by making borders meaningless, and showing us the importance of basic hygiene and sanitation practices. This crisis should be used as an opportunity to transform the creaky public healthcare system in our country by ramping up spending on health to prepare better to face any future pandemic.

Swati Naik, Mumbai
We are a part of the ecosystem and we must nourish and nurture Mother Earth’ — this is a teaching from Bhagavad Gita that I have often heard from my teacher Balagopalji through the Ekatva Gita series of classes. I have been able to see the truth of this. What has been most striking is that we, human beings, as a species are so vulnerable, yet we never acknowledge it. There is so much that we don’t know, and we don’t understand, and yet, we behave like we are in charge and the whole Universe has to pander to our needs.

Manasa Kumar, Chennai
The coronavirus has been an eye-opener— both in terms of how we need to maintain personal hygiene and how one small virus can travel the entire world if we don’t keep a check. It’s also taught us the importance of downtime, where work can be done while balancing our personal life too. I just hope we find a cure for it, and we pause and look at the world differently once this chaos comes to an end.

Padmaja, Chennai
A lesson I learned is about what public negligence can do. People still believe this is an overreaction and compare it unwisely to deaths caused by other chronic diseases like cancer and HIV. My mother, being a kidney patient, has to visit the hospital three times a week for dialysis. Our family experiences such distress every time she is out, we’ve been praying that she doesn’t get affected. I figured that the only way we can get through this is by cooperating. Help the doctors to do their bit.

Ramasubramanian, Chennai
I’ve now started taking personal hygiene more seriously. I see people are panicking. I have learned that panicking will not help anybody. This situation has taught me to be calm.

Harini Aravind, Bengaluru
I’ve seen that practising kindness is a sure-shot way to distract yourself from the anxiety. And the feel-good factor is a bonus. Be kind to yourself; give yourself yoga and meditation to heal. Be kind to your community. Offer to buy them groceries during your trip to the store. Be kind to community helpers. Give them some downtime so they can look after their families and focus on their own wellness. The kindness will come around.

Athira Ajith Shirley, Hyderabad
The coronavirus has, sadly, made people put themselves first instead of others. But on the bright side, the good sanitation practices have ensured that the roads, societies we live in, and even the elevators are safe and clean. If we stand as one unit, we can fight this and emerge as better beings.

Suvalaxmi Chakraborty, Mumbai
I am learning that Mother Nature doesn’t distinguish between the rich and the poor. Nature doesn’t pander to our egos and sense of power. This virus has taught me that all boundaries are artificial. I can see how interdependent we are. Being a student of the Bhagavad Gita, at our monthly Ekatva Gita sessions, I have learned that adversities offer us the time to turn inwards. I am spending time reflecting, being more aware of my inner dialogues and conflicts. The virus is teaching me to contribute — towards one’s own wellness, others’ safety and medical needs.

Venugopal, Chennai
I live with my wife and daughter. We generally practise cleanliness. I’ve been riding this auto for the last four years through all seasons, and I’ve been fit. The virus will not affect me because I sit in front and the wind moves behind me. This virus has only taught me not to eat the meat of wild animals.

Ankush Vishwanath, IT professional
The ongoing pandemic has made everyone follow simple hygiene protocols. Now, this cooperation is rather evident but one should follow it irrespective of the pandemic. That’s a lesson many have  learned the hard way.

Tabish Ahmed, New Delhi
I think it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to introspect about not only the relationships we take for granted but also some of the privileges we enjoy. Corona, in a sense, has become an equaliser, as a large chunk of the society, which evades social responsibility and has a massive consumption footprint, is forced to redefine and rethink its consumption patterns.

Harini Vijayakumar, Chennai
The one lesson I’ve learned from this episode is how insignificant and fragile the human race really is. This incident has very brutally put us in our place, showed that the utter disregard and uncontrolled
greed with which we tore through this planet and her resources would only fire back like a boomerang. And that we would have any space on earth only if we respect her and work with her.

Krithika Sriram, Chennai
I’ve come to realise that we are now called to function on a system that runs on trust. We need to learn how to believe in strangers, be it in tiny daily interactions or carrying out work and business online. It is funny and amusing to observe how, to look out for themselves, people are now forced to look out for you and therefore the whole community. This teaches us a lesson in trust and empathy.

Shreya Nagarajan Singh, Chennai
The corona scare has taught me a lot about learning to accept our vulnerability. I see everyone experiencing similar emotions. Every time I log on to social media, I go into a bit of shock to see all our realities uniting. Being an entrepreneur, I am used to uncertainty and taking risks, but this is at a scale where the market has shifted so much that it’s really hard to foresee the immediate future and out- comes.

Sakina Ansari, Chennai
During a crisis, humanity always rises to the occasion. Access to the right information and sharing it with others is very crucial to prevent panic and negativity among the public. We are learning to be responsibile towards society. I’ve learned to spread the importance of health, hygiene, discipline, humility and gratitude, which I value a lot.

Renuka Bala, Chennai
Maybe we are finally realising the fact that no amount of money or status position is going to shield us from the force of nature. I think it’s high time we develop larger perspectives on community-building and kindness. If you were currently put in a situation where two people from Ireland landed in your apartment, would you offer support to the family (given that all of them are selfquarantined) or wreck their peace by spreading false alarms about them in WhatsApp groups?

Noufal Hameed, Calicut
Amid the news of all the suffering, I am reminded of the love within us, only if we paused for a moment, and looked within. The love that makes us the best. It is an irony that it requires great
misfortunes to bring out the best in us.

K Abarna Sripreethi, Madurai
Unfortunately, it takes a calamity to unite people. It has made us aware of the fact that we have distanced ourselves from nature. Further, in pursuit of material wealth, we have failed to realise the beauty of simplicity. COVID-19 has reminded us to lead a simple, civic and cosmic-responsible life so that many others can simply live.

Dr Anbu Subbian, Chennai
No danger can be greater than a weak mind especially if you are in the warzone. So I’ve learnt to be strong and carry on as a doctor. While we conduct our duties quietly, we the medical community, stand with folded hands and plead to you to listen, be kind at this trying time and most importantly be aware of the next person as you never know who will put you at risk or who will get you out of it. Stay safe.

Nishtha Chandel, New Delhi
I believe it will take a collective effort to save our nation and consecutively, the whole world. I have learned that the strength lies in the hands of people who understand the urgency of the situation, and can envision how devastated humanity will be, once this virus subsides.

Sujatha Murthy, Coimbatore
Crisis is a great teacher. I am valuing every bit of my life and filling it with gratitude for all that I have. We are learning to slow down and also to live in the present. I hope that we all take the prescribed best practices seriously. What keeps me going is my favourite quote by Swami Chinmayanandaji: Remember, ‘even this will pass away’.

Meher Chaitanya K, Chennai
I have learned that the importance of maintaining cleanliness is imbibed in our culture and I believe that has kept me corona-free till date. We need to go back to these basic lessons in washing hands and feet.

Padma Murali, Chennai
Not everyone gets to take time off to relax and unwind, as they work from home. For a lot of people, daily wages are essential to make ends meet — putting food on the table becomes more critical than protecting themselves against a virus. While many of us are encouraging each other to pay cab drivers and delivery men more or to give their domestic help paid leave, very few follow through with what they preach. I hope that more of us use this time to be more generous and empathetic.

Padma Murali, Chennai
Not everyone gets to take time off to relax and unwind, as they work from home. For a lot of people, daily wages are essential to make ends meet — putting food on the table becomes more critical than protecting themselves against a virus. While many of us are encouraging each other to pay cab drivers and delivery men more or to give their domestic help paid leave, very few follow through with what they preach. I hope that more of us use this time to be more generous and empathetic.

Anuja Premika, Hyderabad
In times where it’s not unusual for us to pay little attention to our own physical or mental needs, and be in a constant mad rush to move ahead, staying at home forced me to slow down, calm my thoughts, and be more self-aware. And in this era of instant gratification, it has made me realise that some things can wait.

Samyuktha Jayanty, Chennai
This difficult time has made me more compassionate, patient, alert and disciplined along with which, I’ve also realised the value of silence. It has brought the nation together to fight this calamity and hopefully every citizen’s co-orperation via social distancing will end this soon.

Inputs by Ananya Mariam Rajesh, Anushree Madhavan, Kannalmozhi Kabilan, Naaz Ghani, Roshne Balasubramanian, Vaishali Vijaykumar



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