In the last couple of weeks, everything has changed. The life you once knew has taken an unimaginable turn. All you do now is stay at home and watch news of the pandemic pouring in from every possible corner. Mostly depressing ones, and sometimes stories that tug at your heart apart from the ones that make you think and make you annoyed even.
As I watch days and weeks unfold very slowly during this period of lockdown, I have also come to realize that this pandemic has brought out the worst and the best of humanity.
I read with dismay, even in this time of pandemic when we have far greater things to worry about and invest our energy in, racism took another leap. People from Northeast India suffered the brunt in many ways across different cities. They were called names, spat at, and assaulted in humiliating ways.
Closer home in Nagaland, not too long ago, a shop in the neighborhood was robbed. Around the same time, there was news of pigs being stolen, and their caretakers are beaten in more than one place.
Then I read with horror, stories of two doctors in two different places, who sacrificed the best of their lives looking after the sick, were denied a decent burial after they died of coronavirus. I can’t even begin to imagine the excruciating pain that their respective families would have gone through. As if grieving for the passing of a loved one isn’t painful enough. Added to that, was this most terrifying experience.
In just a matter of a few weeks, there were just so many stories of pain- stories that will forever change our perspective about life and living itself.
And yet, I also think the best of humanity shone in many places. When house owners waived monthly rents of their tenants; when people shared their food with a fellow human being; when farmers in many villages who harvested the best of their vegetables freely shared with the urban dwellers; when people generously contributed money to help another patient undergo a much-needed surgery; when groups, individuals and communities walked the extra mile to make the life of another person better and easier in ways more than one.
When people volunteered to run errands and get groceries for the elderly; when homes became churches and families prayed together; when a healthcare professional, a policeman, a bureaucrat, an officer, an essential commodity provider, a journalist, a delivery guy, a driver, all the people who needed to be out there even when as scared and afraid as you and I are, took the extra mile just to ensure that we would all be safe.
When artists- people who write poetry, sing, perform, draw, and everybody else in the creative field put in the extra effort so that you could hear the music and indulge in some beautiful works of art even while you are home; when teachers taught online so you could carry on with your education; when many people played their roles, however small and insignificant because we are all in this together.
I know there is an evil that still exists during this global pandemic. But I thought the best of us far outshone it. In times like these, all we need is humanity. Together we will get through this.