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Covid and the melancholy

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There is no doubt that we have been going through a trying time for more than a year, which probably will turn out to be our lifetime experience. We do not know yet when this struggle will be over. As Covid 19 is a novel corona virus, nobody had clues on how to tackle it. Everything started on a trial and error basis. And the virus is also fighting hard to elude human smites; it is constantly changing its style and strategy. 

New and sudden challenges keep on coming and these challenges also keep on mutating to keep the people and the government on tenterhooks. But at the same time, we are getting opportunities to learn a few things the hard way and gauge the ground reality. 

In the first wave came the migrant labourers issue. Nobody knew that we had migrant labourers of that scale. The health infrastructure got overwhelmed, the death toll became alarming. We did not know that our health infrastructure was not adequate to cater to the huge population that we have. The government had to deal with the economic impasse, which had been a source of anxiety even before the outbreak. Then there’s the barrage of queries about PM Care Fund; interested eyes are still lurking about to have a look.

Things started improving slightly; the government relaxed its guards and started eying on Mamata, and bang came the second wave. 

It landed in Maharashtra and Delhi straight away; no clues why it preferred non-BJP states first. Both the Chief Ministers were under tremendous pressure to prove that it was not their fault. They heaved a sigh of relief when the unwanted guests decided to pay a visit to Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh as well and finally the entire country. 

There were no hospital beds, no oxygen; if oxygen production had increased, the supply chain would have become a bottleneck; there was a shortage of vaccine, a shortage of crematoriums, dead bodies floating in the Ganges, black fungus, yellow fungus, and what not! Nobody knows what will be next. A chaotic situation we have all been witnessing in many states. In the midst of this, the so-called deshi businessmen resorted to hoarding oxygen, producing fake Rendesivir and vaccines, launching fake Cowin portal, introducing high-cost last journeys to name a few. The government had a crunch time in dealing with all this. Modi must be cursing himself, “Kya musibat mai fas gaya hoon“. We don’t know when he will be free from all this misery to trim his heavily grown beard.

The opposition leaders are happy and think that they are lucky not to be in the government at this moment. They are taking refuge in Twitter like, bunkers during a war, leaving Rahul alone in the open to carry the opposition flag. But he is not letting them down.

Poor villagers had to run around to obtain an android phone; otherwise, their children would be out of school. Young mothers had to attend online KG classes for hours to continue with the education of their wards. If she is a working lady, she is doing three jobs at a time, attending school classes, attending office work, and controlling family members at home. In this process, the men folk got an opportunity to up-skill themselves in household chores like dishwashing, mopping, and washing clothes much to the delight of their better halves. But it did not go down well with the top brass of the companies. To confirm their suspicion, many companies had to survey to ascertain whether these gentlemen were really engaged in office work. And their suspicions were found to be correct; these executives were only pretending to do office work.  

Interestingly, later on, it was found that this top brass of corporate had to undergo counseling on mental health as a result of the stress of remotely controlling team members while also keeping their own family happy. So, now it is clear why some of the companies, despite making a good profit, resorted to retrenchment, put off increments and promotions, stopped recruitment, and throwing duty hours haywire. Decisions were made in an imbalanced state of mind! 

People have started losing jobs and exploitative compensation has become alarming. Fresh MBAs and Engineers, if not to mention other graduates, are trying frantically to grab hold of ever elusive jobs. Those who could manage, compensation were found to be shocking. The term “Intern” is getting abused like anything because there are no legal provisions to compensate them and they can be engaged for an indefinite period. This is an innovation in dire straits. Eleven crore employees in the MSME sector alone are at the receiving end, and we have learned to view all this as a new normal! 

The Kumbh Mela gave an impression to the world audience that the new Indian mutant of the virus had changed the transmission channel, so the position of the mask needed to be changed. Probably our people also got befuddled with this at one point in time, but fortunately, before much damage was done, Modi ordered a symbolic ritual of the event. A probable world disaster was averted!  

Finally, social media has shown to be a tremendous source of entertainment. It has also become a source of motivation these days. People are not travelling, so they are uploading semi-exposed photos of themselves getting immunizations instead. Expert opinions abound, and the careers of consultants are in jeopardy. Doctors’ jobs appeared to be in jeopardy as well. Everyone has become a mental health expert, and these experts are giving expert opinions to other experts. What an unusual set-up! Recipes are in abundance, and losing a job will no longer be a worry. Many are seen engrossed in promoting self-glories much to the chagrin of others. In any case, social media is giving us the shot in the arm required in this situation.   

The threat of a third wave looms huge, and we do not know how many will thereafter. So, this uncertain but engaging period of our lives will undoubtedly continue for a little longer. It will be a testing time for us to see how we handle this melancholy and the eventual characters that we exhibit.  

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