Covid 19 unleashed the worst in our midst: a deep sense of insecurity over anything.
For one thing, none of us can be sure who it would strike next and to what extent it would be damaging. The corona virus scare is vicious. It is tending to be more and more of a chain reaction since this March when for the first time we had lockdown nationwide and even worldwide. Economy is at its lowest ebb, wave of unemployment surging, crimes spiking, driving men and women alike to frustration and depression.
Natural reaction for the pandemic among us has been to shut ourselves in from shopping, eating out, socializing etc. Northern Indian labour forces have faced criticism down south for years, but this is for the first time that we see a reversal of situation. Now we want them back even after the shameless unorthodox way we packed them back into trains to their villages. As lockdown eases phase by phase, the labourers are not seen returning in a hurry.
Nobody is simply indispensable and nothing is too very important over our own life. Perhaps Assamese and Biharis have decided to subsist on rations of PDS rice bags for the next 1 to 2 years ignoring our invites. Tight slap on those who want checks on labour movements. Now is truly the moment for lazy Tamil buggers to cash in. So what are you waiting for. Why can’t you simply down the shutters of Tasmac outlets and go for packing banians and knickers in Tiruppur textile factories. Why cannot you double up as kitchen and serving staff of our restaurant businesses. What stops you from giving us a nice pedicure in salons or from working the construction sites. Tamil Nadu is reeling under non-generation of income because our Bihari bhaias have deserted us. But for them, our local economy is in total shambles. This is an eye opener to anyone who boasts about regionalism talking petty politics. India is one single entity. Rest of India is waiting for our North East and Bihari, Jharkhand labour force to return to work. I hope never will they be shown disrespect or paid unjustly. I miss the courteous service of our Nepali waiters and the corner shop Momos and Pau Bhajis. Never shy of street food. Born and brought up in good old Madras, immune from anything to everything.
Together we grow, or alone we perish. Businesses continue to stay closed in Chennai even after government allowed relaxations, as the outstate staff are reluctant to resume work at our beck and call. Call center employees were mocked for their listless careers but since these online services now shut shop by 6 pm, cyber crimes spike after business hours when reporting has to wait for until next morning. No service is thus trivial. We have all been part and parcel of the same machinery that was running smooth until very recently. We could be the ubiquitous tiny nail, yet if we fall out of place, our vacuum can be felt by one and all bringing us all to a grand standstill.
This is why, we have keep this machinery of ours lubricated and functioning. The more we idle our mechanism, the more rust will we heap with our inactivity which in turn will take an even longer timeframe to recover and realign.
Let us play our role to keep things flowing, big or small.
To all those who stay away from shopping or eating out, I would plead not to shrink the Indian economy which is slowly coming to a grinding halt. Go out wearing masks, sanitizing your hands and maintaining social distancing. Help the economy expand if you can, in whatever miniscule way you can.
Sheltering overtly can also lower our immunity levels to my layman knowledge. Going out now and then can give you exposure and who knows antibodies, making you immune to the pandemic. So far as I have seen, the least exposed are the first and worst effected by covid 19. Working people and regular shoppers have mild cases even if they catch infections.
In India, numbers are rising because we are 1.3 billion nation. For such a mammoth population, 7 lakh cases is still miniscule considering especially the density of our population. Under 1.6% casualty mostly because of negligence. Covid care is too very good in India as our doctors now have developed practice in treating the viral infection. Very well tackled by both government and private medical centers, if it comes to that. Excellent recovery rate of over 80%. Coronavirus probably has mutated in India and is now like any other common virus, yet I do not want to underplay how devious and vicious it can be to those unfortunate among us.
First of all, let us believe that even if the corona virus gets us, we will be safe. And most importantly, we are saved from this horror for the rest of our lives. That we passed our exams! I know someone in late 70s who is covid survivor after having had major surgeries for last 10 years. My cousins who recovered from covid 19 say, they are relieved that their turn got over! No, do not believe it can return. You are immune for a lifetime if you get it, believe me.
Still Novel Coronavirus is beleived to stay around for another 1 to 2 years with or without vaccines. So should we live this period in fear and foul mood, crushing occupations and lives? Or shall we try to make the world a better place to live in?
- Call back your house maid if you have dispensed with her services at the onset of corona. Never cut back on the salaries of blue colour workers who make our lives easy.
- Get your groceries/provisions in the street corner ‘kirana’ stores typically ‘Nadar Kadai’ or ‘Petti kadai’ in Tamil.
- Wherever/whenever there is a shortfall due to unavailability, procure groceries/provisions online, as much as possible through desi apps. Small vendors are also listed in volumes in multinational online apps, no harm in going for them either. In today’s globalized economy, we cannot lead insulated lives by ourselves. But as much as possible opt for desi apps if you can.
- If you cannot eat out, you can still get food parcels. Never hesitate. If you stop eating out, the restaurants will cut down on food preparation and serving and kitchen staff. It will take them all the more longer time to open up to full capacity. Your demand generates employment for interstate populations.
- If you still harbour doubts, order food at least once a week online.
- If you are hesitant to shop for clothes and other consumer durables etc., in person, order online. Don’t stop shopping because you are not stepping out much. Life will pretty soon return to normalcy. Believe, you will be well alive and kicking to preen in front of your friends in your latest designer clothes. Shoes, bags, watches, clothes, cosmetics or whatever, go for it if you have not had a pay cut.
- Do not wait to change your tv or automobile. These are big industries that require your patronage. Without customers if they close, thousands will lose work.
- Use the services of roadside and other tailors, dhobis, auto walas, drycleaners, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and others adopting safety precautions. Employ them as you would under normal conditions in nonpandemic situations. Pay them fair and never bargain. Small traders and service people are most affected due to Covid 19 restrictions, remember.
- Regularly buy groceries from street vendors. Remember they got food to your table when rest of the world ceased to function.
- Patronize small professions like that of even temple priests. Every single life is important in our society needing nourishment. Every time you go out do not forget to get fresh flowers from the old lady in front of temples or enjoy tender coconut from the handstand of a coconut seller sweating under the shade of avenue trees.
- Visit temples but practice corona lockdown safety measures. Your footfall everywhere counts. It means, you are playing your part in oiling the wheels of the Indian economy.
- Ask the neighbourhood urchin to clean your car. You won’t get corona from him if you maintain safe distance. Sanitize later if you have to. Be courteous to watchmen, civic workers, traffic constables etc., who are working in stressful conditions.
- Remember small traders, business community and hawkers and sellers constitute the backbone of the Indian economy.
- One place you can stay away from is Hospitals. Avoid lab testing and opt for home testing. Now this is available in nook and corner of India.
- If possible unsubscribe from all desi and international news channels and stop buying newspapers. They are nothing but rubbish. Don’t buy whatever the media pedals. Listen to music and read books instead.
- Shopping malls are still empty. It is safer right now to go for mall shopping. Take advantage of this if you have to . Mall workers need their jobs as well.
- Remember, right at this moment, every single one around you is under extraordinary stress brought in by the novel coronavirus. Something unprecedented. Not everyone has the same mentral strength to get through this crisis without physical, moral and/or economic support. In whichever way you can, help someone in need. Make a striking difference. It matters.
- Last but not the least is the role of the health workers in our midst. Standing ovation to them for their tireless services in these hard times. Medicos or paramedics or nursing staff or civic/sanitation workers/janitors or pharmacists, they all are doing a wonderful job in saving our lives endangering their own precious lives. Hats off to them. Let us keep them in our prayers.
- Not all courses are online. Some friends’ kids who are in medical college have to repeat their year. Let us be sympathetic to these kids. 2020 is not an year to talk about academic achievements or job prospects. Staying alive is the priority.
- WFH or Work from Home has proved to an effective and ideal solution to many white collar professionals. It can be extended after the Pandemic is over once and for all, to reduce pollution and unnecessary investments in infrastructure, power usage, fuel etc. So not only is this a cost cutting measure, but an evolution in the pattern we work.
- Covid 19 also has helped some alternate professions to expand: one is that of logistics. Another is packaging industry. Online shopping has touched a peak in the last 6 months and has improved cashless transactions greatly. Whoever was complaining about demonetization and linking of Aadhar-PAN cards and Phone Pe and BHIM/UPI payments is since unheard of lol
- October-November will see high schools and colleges opening up in India, with the choice to return to the institutions left to students. Nursery, primary and middle school children will be missing one whole academic year. Which is good, take it from me. I homeschooled my son upto his 7th year in Malaysia. I was his first ever proper teacher.
- The elderly can be miserable. Take time to talk to them and reassure them keeping a tab on their health parameters.
- Hopefully interstate travel regulations will ease before December in India. From January I hope for international travel restrictions to ease. I am eager and waiting to fly back to my hubby! Yes, the trauma of divided families is indescribable. The stress we undergo is worrying.
- Top up your health insurance at the same time. Corona or no corona, it is a must. Also add riders to your life insurance if you can.
- Kal ho na ho…. well, i must not be saying this but enjoy life to the fullest when you can. Let us not wait for that special day to release our new kurta. Today is that day!
- Fitness should not take a back seat either. At least walk in your terrace if you cannot go for any other workout in gym. Or take advantage of staggered timings of your reopened gym/yoga studio. Online classes also an option
- Go back to your music lessons, art classes, other hobbies, sporting activities, clubs, cinemas, cafes, get-togethers firmly adhering to Covid 19 safety protocol. Never miss an appointment or opportunity to feel better.
- With resorts opening, book your holiday adhering to safety measures with respect to covid. Nothing like taking a break in this season!
- Cutting down on celebrations is happening but better minimize than eliminate festivity bills. Remember, the big fat Indian weddings are essentially great job spinners for people from different walks of life. Now we have sanitation booths in wedding halls/hotels etc. Catering and costumes to florists and jewelry and music bands, everyone can fit in in our gala traditional weddings.
- Improvise, innovate, do anything that can employ direct and indirect manual labour generating income. Even a fraction of resumption of regularity and normalcy is welcome move. A big shot in the arms of our self-employed and businesses.
- Keep the cash registers jingling in shops, small trades and businesses, enable cash rotation.
- Invest in real estate and stocks. Now is the right time for going for long term investment plans. Buyers market.
- Vaccines are around the corner. Wherever you are, you are safe and you will get it soon. If you are NRI based in Arab countries, rest assured, the oil rich nations will bulk buy the vaccines before rest of the world. If you are in America or Europe, then it means you are residents of nations that value human lives. They will not hesitate vaccinating their denizens in the first instance possible. If you are in India, hahaha, well we will be supplying vaccination shots to rest of the world. Manufacturing labs are ours, so rest assured. Modi ji will make sure that all 1.3 billion of us get a shot as soon as possible. Believe miracles are possible and this magic is what keeps the world going.
- Meanwhile I enjoyed the videos of peacocks dancing in the highways of Rajasthan and pachyderms walking through the elephant corridors in India, without a care in the world. Covid 19 scare has changed me in many ways as it has affected everyone around me.
- Grateful for all that life has bestowed on me so far. Absolutely no regrets. Positive thinking only. Positive vibes. Let us get ready to celebrate Navrathri and Diwali in all fanfare and welcome 2021 with a fresh gusto.
- Indian economy is everyone’s responsibility. Let’s do our bit to the nation. Let’s rebuild India!
Together let us rise and shine!