Two years back, in the last week of 2019, the news of a new contagious, dangerous, life threatening virus that was rearing it’s head in China started doing the rounds. Some were in denial, others bemused, most indifferent. The clairvoyant in me said it in a text on a whatsapp group that I have saved till date – “I have a nasty feeling, this will turn into a pandemic.” And so it did. Took away so many golden days of our limited lives and also swept away loved ones from everyone’s lives around the world.
This one is not going to be a particularly long post. My point is very simple. If this pandemic hasnt been able to teach humans the very basic life lesson that we are more similar than different, then there is no hope for us. In 2019 the world was as polarised as it could have been. We all know how the assertion of patriotism, faith, culture and other such boundaries is creating more factions than bringing humanity closer as one would have expected. And in such a time the pandemic hit. It was named the “china virus’ to begin with. I am not going to talk about my point of view on China’s active or passive role in bestowing this virus upon the world. The reality is here we are after two full years with all the consequences and the umpteenth wave and new set of restrictions. Globally.
How did this virus treat us differently based on our definitions of superiority in terms of race, belief or location? In India, where I live, people were quite sure that with a supposedly “strong immune system” Indians will not get affected. In cold countries, people thought cold will kill the virus. In hot countries, they thought the heat will. When the pandemic hit, did it matter what country one is in? Or what race are they from? Or their gender or faith mattered? Lives were lost everywhere. There were rows of unattended corposes, put to rest without the dignity they would have received if the situation at hand wasnt there.
Turns out through this dark misery, we around the world in our self created differences are not all that different in the way illness, viruses and death treats us! Our bodies respond similary in fighting, winning and losing. Our hearts cry the same when we lose someone. Our helplessness is the same when we can’t get oxygen or hospital beds or basic amenities.
Is there a point then in drawing these boundaries of race and nations and faiths? Another common factor is how daft humanity is to obvious answers that a tragedy couldnt teach it. What could be a bigger tragedy than this. We still want our wars, our supposed superiority, our sense of competition in a world where we all could co exist better with collaboration.
For those who have chosen to learn through the pandemic that we are not all that different. You and the person next to you. Or the one on the other side of the world. Please chose love, acceptance and tolerance as we move into another year.
Chances are there will be wars. There will be hate. And the crimes. All the millions of lives lost for nothing while the pandemic stll looms large on our heads along with the daftness of hostility that becomes more intense with each passing year and the media propaganda that intensifies it as our necks are bowed down to keep our eyes glued in our mobile phones for longer. In 2120, hundred years from now, if the earth exists by then, there will be another pandemic, going by the pattern of the past. Would humanity have evolved enough by then to learn the lesson that this global tragedy couldnt teach us at large this time around? The one of chosing love over hate? The one of “oneness”?