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Covid in 2021- The reality

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Its heartbreaking to see the recent developments in India. In the first lockdown people were making dalgona coffee and baking cakes. This time around there are hundreds of people turning into numbers, hospitals are still issuing urgent pleads for oxygen and people dying from the lack of it. Twitter continues to serve as a long obituary page. My timeline is either filled with people asking for prayers for their loved ones who are serious or people searching frantically for hospitals, medicines or oxygen. People are literally begging for help. I dread receiving calls these days fearing what to expect. The sheer scale of Indias needs right now is unbelievable.

This second wave has left lot of people losing their loved ones, children orphaned. So many people I know have lost someone. There is an entire generation of children who will grow up without their parents or grandparents because they couldn’t get help in time (the other day I came across the term ‘Covid orphans’ and it sends jitters down my spine). No one deserves to live with the guilt of losing someone because they couldn’t find a bed or oxygen cylinder on time. It’s heart-breaking that they did not even get a fighting chance.

There is a community of people mobilising help, fundraising and finding leads of medicines and oxygen for complete strangers. If you are one of them, thank you for doing this, you are a blessing!

If you have the time and bandwidth take one tweet or one case at a time, make the necessary calls, do your verifications and get back to the family with the details. Just forwarding numbers and links does not seem to be helping (in most of the forwards the numbers don’t work). It will take a few minutes of your day to make those calls to verify or simply do a google search for resources but it would be overwhelming for someone who has a covid patient at home.

In every problem one group of people will be found cribbing and criticizing, while the other will spring into action and contribute towards solving a problem. You decide which group you want to belong to.

Read, educate yourself, be aware. Look what’s happening around you. Don’t stop watching the news coz it’s too distressing. There are people who will tell you to keep away from the news as it spreads negativity. Closing your eyes to a situation doesn’t make it go away, don’t be a bozo living in a make believe world. The death numbers are not just a statistic, they were someone’s world and everything for their families.

Don’t stop demanding things from your government (state and central). We elected these people and they are accountable to us. I hear people saying “Oh it’s a pandemic, what can the govt do?”, “It is not the govt’s fault, it’s the people’s fault they were not abiding by the rules” or “the govt is inefficient, whats the point is asking them?”.

Let me remind you they are currently in power, you voted for them and they need to deliver. Yes we have a large population and it is difficult to handle. That is no excuse for their incompetence, when they came asking for votes they knew this was the case. IT IS NOT OUR JOB to search for beds and scout for oxygen and medicines. It is the govt’s job and they are not doing it. If they want the credit they need to be prepared to take the blame too.

Over a period of time I’ve learnt voting in India is about choosing the lesser evil. It doesn’t matter which party comes into power, they are all the same and we are doomed either way.

-Stop blaming the doctors and the medical staff. They are tired, overworked and going through immense stress and pressure. They risk their lives and their families everyday just for us. What can doctors do when there are no hospital beds, oxygen cylinders or important medicines? Imagine working tirelessly wearing a ppe wherein you can neither eat nor go to relieve yourself. It’s difficult to endure so much and keep sane when you see so many people dying in front of your eyes each day knowing even your best didn’t help them. They are your heroes working relentlessly with scanty resources and no backing.
If you lack empathy at least don’t be ungrateful.

-Ask people around if they need help. There are many who have lost jobs and have no source of income. Help them in whatever little way you can. Money, groceries or even mental support. Continue supporting your local vendors. Your bhajiwalas and doodhwalas need your help more than ever. Maintain precautions at your end but please do not stop ordering from them.

Before you donate to any of the charities/funds, please ask around if any of your relatives, house help, acquaintance, friends are in need of money. The government can’t help them but YOU CAN.

-If it is not important then please Do Not step out of your homes. There is nothing that can’t be done online. If you are not tech savvy please do ask for help.

Unlike what people think, COVID is passed through family and friends. If you love your family please do not put them at risk. Not everyone has great immunity. It is your responsibility to take care of your elders and kids. Ambulances are lined outside hospitals, patients waiting for beds/ oxygen, people lined outside crematoriums. Consider yourself lucky and blessed if you can be at home, have a family and have money to take care of your needs. Please do everything it takes to keep it that way. Do not take it for granted.

-NORMALISE ASKING FOR HELP. Can’t stress this enough.

People are running around searching for beds, medicine, oxygen.. Please ASK FOR HELP. Reach out to family/friends even to people in your contacts who might not be as close. Use social media effectively. Say you can’t handle it and need help. You’ll be surprised how many people will go out of their way just to help you in any way possible. I have seen complete strangers on social media platforms go out of their way to make it easy for someone else.

Vaccine trials are still underway for kids. No vaccine has been approved for kids yet. We do not want to send our kids to school coz we fear they will contract covid but somehow we are okay sending them down to play in the building premises with their friends where no social distancing is followed. Globally there are fewer cases of kids being admitted with covid but the numbers have increased in this new wave.

Don’t stress about exams or their studies. They have been home for a year now. In the last year I have seen teachers put in double the efforts, they haven’t just been teachers but have gone above and beyond their duties.

Take care of yourself. Most of us are exhausted emotionally. Its okay not to get things done, its okay to get up and want to go back to sleep again,its okay to feel sadness and despair. Leave it for another day. Read, paint, take that nap, listen to music whatever works and helps you keep sane. It’s okay if you haven’t mastered any skill in the last year or learnt anything new. I have no qualms that I haven’t really done anything much in the last year besides mastering the art of speed cleaning my house for the few times I had someone over. Take a few minutes off or the day off because you need to be in your right mind and calm before you can help someone else.

The situation may improve in a few days or a few weeks and hopefully normalise in a year or more but it will never be the same for many families. Their world has changed forever. I read this in a First post article that ‘No health system in the world could have coped up with the burdens the size India has faced. Yet there can be no doubt that many funeral pyres would never have to be lit with more administrative focus and political will. The near –collapse of the state in the face of the pandemic cannot be excused. For this failure we must demand answered and our leaders give account.”

There is a collective emotion of despair, hopelessness, grief and dismay that we are all going through. In spite of everything that’s going on and all the gloom, I still see hope… Hope in the eyes of people waiting for their loved ones to get better, hope in the eyes of doctors who refuse to give up, hope in the eyes of children waiting to go out and meet their friends, hope for a better time, where we can hug people we love and not have a constant fear of losing them. Don’t ever give up on that HOPE.

Here’s hoping that everyone has someone to lean on or a friend to help you through this turbulent time and also hoping that you and I can be that one shoulder or friend for someone.               

Stay safe

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