Those pushing herd immunity want people to think that it could be the route out of the Covid crisis, when, in fact, it’s more likely to prolong the nightmare. Just think for a second what such a strategy would actually look like. We would end up in a situation like that currently being faced in parts of Belgium — hospitals are under such pressure that drugs are being rationed and doctors have been issued with guidance on who is eligible for treatment. All this is before we consider what effect it would have on NHS staff who would also become unwell and unable to tend to the sick.
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
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.
A pigeon laid two eggs in one of our flower pots, in the balcony. This was around the time when lock-down was announced.
The flower pot was placed on an iron stand. The iron stand served the dual purpose of holding an AC outdoor unit on top and giving cover to a washing machine placed just below it. Because of the washing machine, we needed to make frequent trips to the balcony. We tried our best not to disturb the pigeon.
In the initial days, the mother pigeon got fidgety seeing us. But, over many days she learnt to tolerate our presence.
And one day, the two eggs hatched. They were two tiny chicks, yellow and delicate. The mother started leaving them alone for some time in the morning to fetch food for her babies. The chicks made lot of noise when they were being fed by their mother.
As days passed, they grew bigger. One of the chicks was a silent one while the other was very active. Seeing any of us in the balcony, the active chick would stand up and puff himself to look bigger. He would then snap sharply towards us. The silent would just sit quietly behind him.
Slowly, they shed their yellow hair and their feathers grew bigger. Both of them looked like small pigeons. They also started flapping their wings. Now, we expected them to fly away any day.
The plant in the flower pot where they had grown up, had died as we had stopped watering it. The entire area around the pot was now covered in bird shit. Hence, we did want them to fly away so that we could reclaim our space.
One day, I walked to the balcony after waking up in the morning. I could see only one chick in the flower pot. My first thought was that the active one had flown away. But, as I looked down, I saw the bird lying lifeless on the floor.
We don’t know what happened. Probably, he tried to fly away and fell and hurt his neck. We did not have an answer but just the fact that one of them was dead.
A week passed. The silent chick did flap its wings but not to fly away. Mother Pigeon came to feed him every day.
Yesterday morning, I found the pot empty. Instinctively, I looked down at the floor. The baby pigeon was sitting by the base of the washing machine. He was alive.
The entire day, it would fly up and down the pot. His mother would come by frequently probably to encourage him. The baby pigeon even walked inside our house confusing his way. This time I felt a little sad knowing that the baby was ready to leave home. But even by night, he had not left.
Today morning, he had flown away. None of us could see him flying away.
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.
Today’s call with my friend Giacomo was tinged with nostalgia. Suddenly WhatsApp feels like a poor substitute for a walk in the sun or preparing dinner together in real life. This time, we just pause and think about what the world will look like once the pandemic is over, what’s going to be lost forever and what we can do better in future.
Maybe surviving the short-term isolation of this pandemic can teach us how to deal with the other systemic collapse looming ahead, and the sense of loneliness each crisis instils in us. Maybe some of that longing for closeness I express through endless video calls will stay with me as I face the other existential threat that unites us all.