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The second wave and the satire of positivity

In the already overburdened population that was teetering along with poor and inadequate infrastructure, this pandemic may just land the felling blow.

Published: 02nd May 2021 04:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd May 2021 05:04 AM   |  A+A-

A woman receives the COVID-19 vaccine in Thane

A woman receives the COVID-19 vaccine in Thane. (Photo| ANI)

We keep hearing and saying, "Let us be positive." Let's say we are tired of it. After being ravaged for centuries and across epochs by all kinds of contagion, we must have thought that we had learnt our lesson well from history.

But all those stern reminders come to naught during the corona pandemic though we are in the 21st century, an era of unprecedented technological, scientific and narcissistic progress. Humans have never been bigger, faster, healthier and smarter. Humans are essentially everywhere now. They are deeper into the oceans and higher up in the sky.

They are looking for newer places to infest and populate after they have wrung this planet dry for what it's worth. This is the essence of being human. We are the most opportunistic vermin to have existed in the known history of the world, only more nefarious and aesthetically appealing than one can imagine.

This pandemic has opened a can of beans when it comes to human behaviour and spilled it over right on our faces. It has revealed our true colours, unfortunately; the skeletons keep tumbling out of the closet and it’s not pretty. Beneath the flimsy veil of compassion and the human spirit, the true underlying decrepit and dying soul lays unmasked.

It is atrociously dark and deeply saddening for those who still have a scrap of conscience tethered into their minds. Conscience, my friend, if you mistakenly have one, needs to be discarded! But for others, it’s time to make hay while the sun shines.

In the already overburdened population that was teetering along with poor and inadequate infrastructure, this pandemic may just land the felling blow. Too many infected, too many dead, too many dying and too few beds, too less doctors, nurses, medicines and oxygen.

We had one year from the first wave of corona to ramp up our healthcare facilities and had the examples of other developed countries gripped with second and third waves to learn from. Yet we failed to take note of it all and fell prey to the illusion of being immunologically superior.

This, we ironically infer, is due to the deplorable and unhygienic living conditions we are forced to live in. Such an impossible yet collective short-sightedness may lead to an unheard of catastrophe.

But wait: It’s not all dark and murky as it seems for everyone. There are individuals who are profiteering in this winnertakes- all business. Life can indeed be a zero-sum game sometimes. X's demise is surely another Y's opportunity. Let us refrain from moving into the controversial area of who X and Y are!

Back to basics: Not everyone is losing everything. Some are gaining propitiously. For every person getting a hospital bed anywhere, there might be a middleman earning a big chunk of money from the hospital expenses incurred by the unfortunate and ignorant patient and his relative. Simply put, it really costs to be ignorant nowadays.

For every physician who dies or suffers in the line of fire, there's a self-proclaimed quack, especially one with his own hospital setup, who might be making a killing (pun intended) out of it. For every daily wage earner who earns nothing due to the restrictions underway, there are people who are stockpiling and black-marketing important anti-viral and other life-saving medications, building up a fortune.

For every corpse carried out from the morgue, there might be a staffer or a middleman again getting their purses bigger in lieu of avoiding a post mortem of the body. For every poor man in a shrivelling economy, there are those who are turning billionaires at a freakish frequency, not all of them benefitting from the pandemic.

Every time the government tries its best to curb the situation, we, the masses, fail to follow the rules and then blame it on the administration. The last year has been filled with self-obsessed, self-patronised, overwhelmingly irritating know-it-alls, i.e. glamorous individuals who know COVID-19 inside out, much more than the virus itself.

The pandemic has given innovations to many, news ideas of debauchery, fraud and extortion that are far more concerning and probably long-lasting than Covid itself. Can’t thank the virus enough to strip humanity off people, exposing the basic tenets.

So, for a generation of people who are fixated with the Epicurean abbreviation YOLO (You Only Live Once), this might bring a sense of absolute freedom and rashness or serve as a terse reminder if taken in a literal sense. This is the lifetime to 'go big or go home'.

This is the time indeed to move up the food chain, in a world where big fish eat (sorry, read it as devour) small ones. Free time, screen time, easy riches and luxury are any time better bets than burning pyres, wailing voices, dusted families and social chaos.

These times, if not anything, are a lugubrious expose on the scavenging and parasitic mindset of our base nature. Maybe humankind has evolved from the shadows, or maybe we are our shadows. There's no true way to tell - especially in such troubled times.

It’s never too late. Can’t we again join hands for a collective humanity? Can't we learn from our mistakes? Millions of identities and names are turning into numbers each day. So, while there’s still time, at least for once, let us look into the mirror.

(Views expressed are personal and solely belong to the authors)

(Dr Mayank Rai is a practising psychiatrist at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar. He can be reached at rai.mayank0@gmail.com)

(Dr Debanjan Banerjee is a practising psychiatrist at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences, Bengaluru. He can be reached at dr.djan88@gmail.com)



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