Currently, India is on its knees, rocked by a new vicious strain of a virus on a rampage which has led to a national catastrophe and a terrifying spike in the infection and mortality rate. Every time somebody calls, sends a message or puts up a desperate post on social media it is either a plea for help or dire tidings. The worst part is this unmitigated disaster could have been averted with a little advance planning and common sense. They warning signs were there after all, but the government was busy patting itself and sanctioning the building of central vistas to commemorate its successes. The citizenry, convinced that Coronasura had been beaten engaged in reckless, irresponsible behavior. Now the entire nation is besieged by disease and heartbreak.
It is bad enough the response to the renewed threat has been shockingly inept with hospitals and health care personnel hopelessly overwhelmed and the ineffectual vaccine rollout seeing less than two percent of the populace vaccinated. But there is worse. Heartless black marketers are stealing and selling lifesaving drugs and oxygen cylinders at exorbitant prices while all around there are desperate people trying to save their loved ones. Experts are predicting 1 million deaths from Covid - 19 by August while there are others who are insisting that we crossed that figure already.
Yet, it would never do for us to give up and surrender to hopelessness or anger. Because to do so would be to run full tilt into an even greater tragedy. Now more than ever, we need to believe that we can still turn things around. To do that, we need to have faith in ourselves and those around us. We need to pitch in and help in whatever way we can. Share information and resources on social media not vitriol and fake news. If possible help by preparing nutritious meals for the sick and frontline workers, instead of criticizing others. Reach out to the less fortunate with money or timely aid and help them access essentials like food, medicine, a good internet connection or a lifesaving vaccination shot. Amplify the voices of those in need and question those in power when confronted with evidence of incompetence or rampant corruption.
If you don’t feel like doing any of these things because you are scared senseless and you just want to stay at home and vegetate in front of Netflix for a momentary respite from a world that is crumbling around you, that is fine too. At times like this, we need to support each other. And when it gets to be too much let us remember that the bad thing about good times is they don’t last and the good thing about bad times is they don’t last either.
This column was originally published in The New Indian Express.