Nursing the 'New Normal'

img1 Julian S Das
07 Jun 2021

Among the many blessings that the curse of corona has brought to our drawing rooms, and I believe it has been a basket full of blessings, one that would stay with us for a long time to come is to appreciate the little moments of joy, little acts of kindness, little gestures of selflessness, little sighs of relief, little words of consolation and little relations which had kept us going during the worst of times.

No doubt, we realise we are not living in a safe world, and one could ask when was our world safe for us and for our generation? There is the stench of death all around, and one has to manoeuvre in order to escape being caught by the hard-to-escape viruses of our own making. We are living in a dangerously haunting times, each moment counting precious, to keep the oxygen going as long as it could, to linger on in the world that we loved to hate. Fortunately or unfortunately, this is the only world that we have (the dream project of living in the moon, or for that matter in Mars is only a theoretical possibility, which does not seem to come true for our generation), and we cannot afford to hate or run away from it.
It is not easy to swallow the pain and agony around, especially the undigested torments and sorrow after the sudden departure of our dear ones, untimely dragged out of their prime of life, to a land far beyond our imagination. We still see the covid-corpses (are they all not human persons with souls and identity of their own) dotting the banks of the Holy Ganga, as if the sacred waters of the polluted Ganga is a fitting antidote to the virus. About four thousands of men and women succumbing to the virus each day is not the kind of reality that anyone would ever imagine, and yet with a few drops of forced tears our national leaders can still claim that the nation had won the covid battle. 

It is not easy to accept that one of the most emerging super-powers in the world has become so powerless before the Corona virus, during its 'second coming'! It is not easy to guess what is in store for the millions who are still keeping their fight on, even when they know that their leaders would not move their little fingers to get the system give the best treatment to every citizen infected with the virus.

Still we come across people who do not know that our dear one’s have changed their permanent address of residence from this world to the other, and we find it hard to put up with the quasi-serious words of condolence, and yet we put up a big show by forcing a wry smile as a sign of acknowledgement of their courtesy condolence message. Perhaps we would come months and years later that some who had been closely connected to our upbringing had left this world several months or years ago, and no one ever talked about them, because they had carried with them the curse of corona charred in chimneys, after waiting for days.

But while the world is slowly getting enveloped by darkness of uncertainty, insecurity, lingering sense of where we are heading to, it may be better to keep us away from all that his happening around us, and insulate us for a while to take stock of what is happening to us, our dear ones, and especially those who are still fighting fierce battles with the virus, knowing too little if all their efforts would bear any positive fruit. And we cannot afford to forget the frontline worriers, whose stopping would mean, doubling of the death rate and positive cases in the country. What has the government or the nation done to the thousands of nurses, doctors and health-workers who work round the clock, to keep the virus under control! Banging the plates or ringing bells alone cannot take away the fatigue and frustration they go through day in day out.

While combating battles of one kind or other, we realise that very seldom we live life as we always wished to; unfortunately the great dreams we had been moulding and shaping for years seem to have hit the rock bottom of our collective amnesia, and it may take too long for it to recover from such comatose and see the light of day. The great and noble words of planning for our future have gone into futile results. We are running each day from pillar to post to meet the demands of the family, office, neighbourhood and all other secret assignments, in order to keep our sight away from the pandemic.

We have already begun to plan about the "new normal”, which is sure to upset all that we have learned all these years and force us to start from the scratch. Surely our children would be in a much better position, as they can easily adapt to changing times and circumstances, and we can see their wicked smiles, even as we struggle to change things which, we are sure, are not going to work, very much like straightening a dog’s tail, and telling the young people that famous adage 'old habits die hard'. But we have not thought of resisting the protocols of the new normal, but are left to decide, whose protocols and dictates we must submit to.

We know what had happened when we blindly followed the dictates of the national leaders, who imagined their words would have magical power (as if they had a genie at their backyard, to tell them solemnly, 'your wish is my command'), very much like Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret (desire making the universe to provide us with what we seek whole heartedly), but ultimately we realised that the protocols and the decisions made with consultation with none, boomeranged, putting the whole nation into a laughing stock, and so today there are less and less of advisories coming from the Home Ministry on how we need to conduct themselves, and what the states should do in order to keep the virus under control. Is this not a great blessing, that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have realized they are not superior to the virus. 

Thanks to the first phase of the corona visit, the big-wigs have had their moments of enlightenment. We await such blissful moment on some of the North-Indian chief ministers and central ministers, who need to come in headlong collision with the reality of the virus, which has a different logic and logistics to be manipulated at will. Perhaps that day is close at hand, when the people would be able to decide for themselves, how they can combat, not only the evil-minded, maleficent leaders, but also the innocuous virus.

Even as we went through the agonising hours, days, weeks and months of the lockdown and the accompanying misery, we realised how we had missed the meal together with all the family members, how we had missed the pranks of the little ones on the elders, the culinary-wise unlettered husbands trying the frying pan and getting their hands burned, watching the same movies on the television for the umpteenth time and yet not getting bored, having the much deserved siesta after frugal meal, trying the plastic cricket bat with the five-year old and getting clean-bold, trying to make a Tiktok and getting fired by the wife, we will remember these little moments of happiness for many generations to come.

Many of the Church-based centres across the nation have begun tele-counselling facilities open to the public, and given the quantum of people who are suffering from what may be termed the 'corona-syndrome' (even normal fever or cough or cold or fever is construed as possible virus attack, and starting self-medication, based on several Whatsapp videos circulated freely, from Ayurveda to Siddha, Homeopathy to Home remedy, Yoga to diet control), we wonder if people would come forward to make use of this facility to unburden themselves and get going in life.

Surely counselling can be a very useful tool if those who are mentally infected by the virus and are carrying viro-phobia in their hearts, come forward to seek necessary help, to come out of such unfounded fears and take things with a positive outlook. Unfortunately this being a telephonic help, we are dealing with the faceless human beings who may require more than words of consolation and encouragement.

What perhaps the need of the hour is to boost positive energy into our families, communities, villages and cities, so that we would be able to overcome the covid-syndrome, befriend the virus in such a way that it becomes submissive to us, and spreading positive energy is one of the ways how we will be able to increase the immune system, which in turn would take care of the alien viruses, surreptitiously making entry into our systems.

If the healthy people breathe in and breathe out positive energy, then such energy is sure to be mingled with the oxygen that nature gifts us, and that would pave way for our brothers and sisters relying heavily on medication and medical support system, to breathe easy, because they know that the miniscule virus is not the greatest enemy of the humanity, but they are there for all to see.


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