The heavy burden of social suffering


The sad reality

This is one of the worst man-made crisis in recent history.

There is something wrong with this world, and gravely, astonishingly wrong with our moral indifference to this daily denial of humanity to others. How is it that we, corporeal beings, equally vulnerable to pain and anguish, allow others to experience states that we will not accept for a minute? How can we accept a process of self-formation that simply fails to make us moral? How can a nation be built without sahahridyata (shared feelings, empathy)?How can a social structure exist that renders superfluous those very people who put their life and blood in maintaining it? Are we engaged in an archaic ritual of violence which we know to be incomplete without the sacrifice of the most precious, the most indispensable amongst us?

The complete article

Rajeev Bhargava — The Hindu

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Invisible


Trying to reach home

As I step out of my flat, I see no one roaming on the society street. The cars are parked and most flats have their lights on. People like me burrowed up, have become invisible.

On barren highways, there is a procession of people waking. It is not a celebration, but tired families trying to reach their village on foot. I never could fathom that such large number of immigrants toil hard in the underbelly of large cities enabling them to operate every day.

The city under lock-down for months has started spewing out these invisible people. Their suffering has etched out a scar on the nation’s psyche. And scars serve as sad reminders.

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America’s Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further


This point cannot be overstated: The pandemic patchwork exists because the U.S. is a patchwork to its core. New outbreaks will continue to flare and fester unless the country makes a serious effort to protect its most vulnerable citizens, recognizing that their risk is the result of societal failures, not personal ones. “People say you can’t fix the U.S. health system overnight, but if we’re not fixing these underlying problems, we won’t get out of this,” says Sheila Davis of Partners in Health. “We’ll just keep getting pop-ups.”

The complete article

Ed Yong — The Atlantic

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The Wallowing Monkey


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I was reading a Ruskin Bond story which was about his father. Suddenly, I recalled somewhere reading that he has a brother. But, there is rarely any mention of his brother in his stories. So, I got curious about his brother.

I quickly checked on Google. Google showed that he has a brother called William who is settled in Canada, but there was no other information available about him. Then, I searched for William Bond Canada. It showed a LinkedIn search result. So, I went to William Bond’s LinkedIn page but the profile did not look like that of Ruskin Bond’s brother. For one, the person was much younger.

Then, I saw button notifications on my LinkedIn page. After quickly browsing through my notifications, I thought of giving a cursory glance to the home page. On my homepage was an article by a fairly popular young VC. Popularity judged by number of likes, shares and comments off course.

I browsed through the VC’s article about his learnings from chatting up with a startup founder. These founders are the most learned these days espousing pearls of wisdom as they speak. In the article, the founder had shared that how being a founder is uncomfortable because one has to try new ideas each and every day.

Then, I got curious about the founder. So, I clicked on the VC’s podcast link which was at the bottom of his article. I did not listen to the podcast but read the summary. I learned that the founder was a young lady and her name was Payal Sharma. My curiosity still not satisfied, I searched for Payal Sharma on Google. The search took me to her LinkedIn profile. I found on her profile that prior to founding her startup, she had worked in another small company. Now, this company was founded by my ex-colleague Ankur. I had worked with Ankur around 10 years ago. As the surnames of both my ex-colleague and the female founder was same, I had a hunch that they were related to one another.

I further searched for both of them on Google. In one of the article, I found that they were husband and wife. I further read that they were settled in Mumbai and had a kid. Then, I did some further Googling on my ex-colleague to find out that he had turned serial entrepreneur and manages some 3-4 startups.

I remembered the time when we worked together. I wondered how he had managed to achieve so much professionally.

Finally, my thoughts came down to how I had not been able to achieve anything in life and had wasted all those youthful years.

This was another of the usual series of thoughts that I have been having lately. From Ruskin Bond’s calming stories to another bout of self-pity in 20 minutes.

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Why Indians are turning to nostalgic TV?


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According to psychologist, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist Dr Jonathan Pointer, the appeal in returning to treasured TV, films, music, books, video games, sporting moments, and even food, lies in the connection between emotion and memory. “Emotions and memories are linked; emotions reactivate memories, and memories reactivate emotions. So nostalgic reminiscence, when we create an emotional response through reminiscing on past events, is an easy way to re-experience an emotion attached to a particular memory. This can be aided by retrieval cues, such as smells, sights, sounds, from our past,” he says.

The complete article

Rahul Verma — BBC

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What Google searches tell us about our coronavirus thoughts and fears


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Which searches are trending?

There are things that are concerning for society like the spike in searches for “loneliness,” people searching for “having trouble sleeping,” “depression.” All of those things are concerning to me, and I worry for people that don’t have people with them or are feeling it. Then the other misinformation thing is really interesting, because normally around any political thing, you always see spikes and searches where people are trying to find out if a misinfo story is true.

The complete article

Rani Molla – Vox

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We’re not going back to normal


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Social distancing is here to stay – That’s what the experts are saying.

We don’t know exactly what this new future looks like, of course. But one can imagine a world in which, to get on a flight, perhaps you’ll have to be signed up to a service that tracks your movements via your phone. The airline wouldn’t be able to see where you’d gone, but it would get an alert if you’d been close to known infected people or disease hot spots. There’d be similar requirements at the entrance to large venues, government buildings, or public transport hubs. There would be temperature scanners everywhere, and your workplace might demand you wear a monitor that tracks your temperature or other vital signs. Where nightclubs ask for proof of age, in future they might ask for proof of immunity—an identity card or some kind of digital verification via your phone, showing you’ve already recovered from or been vaccinated against the latest virus strains.

The complete article

Gideon Lichfield — MIT Technology Review

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