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It’s a war against COVID: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

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This time will be remembered-9

By SUNITA VIJAY 

My husband rejoined office after a long gap. The feeling was similar to what one has when one prepares a soldier for war; his bag filled with arms and ammunition against the invisible enemy: COVID-19. Instead of water, food, fruits, it had all defensive tools to fight the foe – hand sanitiser, tissue papers, gloves, spare masks, Dettol spray, hot water flasks, mouth wash, mobile cleaner, lens cleaner and other gear to be used as and when needed to fight tooth and nail. If leaving for office was a task, wearing a mask and soaked in fear, the home-coming was also an experience. I welcomed him with a very uncomfortable gaze, although I was waiting at the gate to receive our soldier returning from the battlefield, to take him in by first sterilising his shoes and hands. Poor thing hesitatingly entered his own home with apprehension as if in a stranger’s territory. My daughter and I looked at him with fear and mistrust as if the viruses were sticking out from him on all sides. Somehow, he was accepted, we took him in from a door that is not in frequent use. Without wasting a minute, he was pushed into the wash room that is nearest to the outside yard. He was inside this germs-shedding zone for thirty minutes making all sorts of sounds of bathing, washing his clothes, cleaning the washroom, and making it germ free before leaving it. Finally, a sterilised man came out. He had his food and some relief from the doubting Thomases – two pairs of eyes peering at him, scanning his performance in eradicating the germs. Poor man! I visualise a similar scenario in each household.

Our planet is under attack. We are all warriors, each person a soldier fighting for self, family, country and the world. A minacious silent enemy with humongous malicious intent has stormed us. It is looking for new prey each day. It is hitting the young, old and the vulnerable dreadfully and indiscriminately. It intends to bring this world to a standstill. It is freely flowing in the air, travelling at a fast pace. It enters the body and changes its temperament as per the host and plays havoc on the system. It is clever and sharp. Its wish is to shatter humanity. It wants to break us. It is playing an ugly game with our psyche, devastating our mental health.

These are strange times with no respite from its inexorable clutches. It is slowly and steadily tightening its grip closer to our necks, to suffocate and take our breath away. Hundreds of messages flow each day via WhatsApp and other social media platforms on how to combat it. It’s a war like situation. Each day we fight a battle. We have our defensive tools, the most potent ones being hand hygiene, coughing-sneezing etiquette, social distancing, disinfectant, masks and hand sanitisers. These are the only armour that may protect us. We have learnt a lot during this time. We have strategies drawn out to handle our daily stuff; we are learning new ways to conduct ourselves in office, public and at home. The present-day crucial task is to protect ourselves and others from this contagious, invisible, merciless virus which is moving faster than our anticipation. It has left us bewildered with its evil personification. We see no light at the end of the tunnel. It is making us move away from other humans and from the human touch. It is distancing us.

These are memorable days. Who will survive, who will be gone, no one knows. The only aid is to work on and by ourselves! There’s no guardian angel to help us. We have to become a knight in shining armour to help ourselves. We need to build our immunity and mental strength. We need to stay patient and cheerful. The best brains are working day and night to find a solution. We have to learn to live with it with new ways, methods and lifestyle. We will not bow down. We take this challenge. We unite to win this new age war. Have we humans ever given up! We have always risen from the ashes.

These are trying times. No denying the fact that we have miserably failed somewhere in keeping our Earth healthy. We couldn’t maintain the harmonious balance between our desires, aspirations, ambition, and developmental needs vis-à-vis nature. Maybe this crisis is here to teach a huge lesson.

Whatever has to happen, will. However, we ought to try to be the new ‘we’. We are the directors of our lives. We need to change the focus. This time will pass too. Our Earth will breathe again without fearing the enemy, and so will we.