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7 Things That Helped Me See Some Hope In These Dark, Bleak Times

Posted: April 4, 2020

The lockdown and spread of the coronavirus is getting people’s spirits very low. However, here are 7 things that showed me a silver lining in the dark clouds. 

It is a brand new day. One can hear the mellifluous twittering of birds and the incessant hum of the cicadas announcing the arrival of spring. There are strays walking around as if they own the street.

And not a single human is in sight. There is no honking of cars. No humdrum of crowded city life. Everybody is shut in their respective homes. And all that exists outside is a sense of responsibility towards the nation.

The above is a glimpse of life in lockdown. With the staggering rise in the number of COVID-19 cases everyday, social distancing seems to be the only solution to the threat that has befallen the world.

We are dealing with the crisis the best way we can. But is our best good enough to defeat the deadly virus? Well, that remains to be seen. Hope, however, springs eternal. And when has negativity ever helped ward off a crisis? We can find a bright side to everything, we only got to try.

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” -Oscar Wilde.

The crisis is a massive one, but it has taught me a few things. Here are some of them.

Every burden can be looked at as a blessing

I have become more self reliant in the last couple of days than I ever was. And so, I learnt how to wax, pluck my own brows, I even tried to give myself a haircut. But I must admit, I chickened out last minute!

I even practiced cooking a few new recipes, doing the dishes and putting the clothes out to dry. All this, on strict rationing and without complaining. Both of which I have rarely done in the past. Add to that, a slow internet connection and this blazing heat.

What I have realised, however, is that every burden can be turned around into a blessing. The slow internet can help us accomplish tasks that we’ve been putting off forever.

The economic divide fades in times of crisis.

We keep talking about the indeterminate discrepancy between the rich and the poor in India. However, a crisis of this proportion helps us see how insignificant wealth can be in the face of impending doom.

While shops are shut and everyone is clambering for daily essentials, it suddenly hits you- that we are all eating the same thing, dealing with the same problem, and fighting the same enemy. Five-star restaurant meals don’t matter anymore.

Neither does international travel or globe trotting. Nor does a fancy wardrobe. A lockdown puts things in perspective. All everyone (economic strata notwithstanding) needs to survive is roti, kapda, and makaan.

Why not find lost passions?

Someone once told me if you have a true passion, you need little else to need to survive. It could be painting, writing, singing or even dance! Whatever art form helps you cope with the crisis raging outside. I believe that is what art therapy is all about. And that also what passions help you with.

So go ahead and find the lost passions.

Opportunity to introspect and act

Have you been putting off that long pending task because you just couldn’t find the time? Now’s the time to finish off those half-complete work in progress.

For those who have always been ‘too busy’ to hit the gym, to indulge in self care, or to learn a new skill, here’s your chance. It’s true that the grim reality right now sets the mood for the day, but let’s make the best of the situation every possible way we can, shall we?

Spend time with family. Do yoga and other home exercises. Meditate. Follow that night time skin care ritual you were always keen on. The world, inside your home, is your oyster!

The circle of compassion widens.

Of course there are people who will never change, come rain or storm (like those who insulted the Manipuri woman and called her Corona). But the general realisation is this- when faced with calamity, people tend to be more empathetic towards each other.

Embroiled in common difficulties, differences in politics, religion, caste, start fading. This, perhaps, is the most important lesson we will learn from COVID19. For the greater good and against a greater evil, we must all come together as one.

The lockdown, however, has also widened the gender divide. Or maybe it brought out the chauvinistic attitude of the average Indian male to the forefront.

The women slog away in the kitchen- meeting with incessant demands of tea and snacks. Add to this, having to provide meals to the whole family with a limited ration. Meanwhile, most of the men are busy playing Ludo, reading or forwarding WhatsApp messages and thinking of ways to spend their time during the ‘chutti ke din.’

Of course, there are those few good men who believe in sharing the load. This division of the household work, no matter how small it may seem, makes it easier for everyone to deal with the stress.

I’d say, engage your kids as well. Allot some responsibilities to the children. Your children are learning by example. Make sure your sons will not grow up chauvinists.

Ensure your daughter will grow up to be a feminist. Teach them the meaning of gender equality by example. Start teaching them young.

“It is nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice”

Communicate with your friends and relatives. Strengthen old bonds. Forgive strained relations. Re-establish contact with those you have lost touch. Now is the time. This will also help you and them distract from the situation.

It is difficult to keep away from the constant beeping of news updates on your phone and social network. But it is also important to keep your anxiety at bay.

Keep access to news articles limited- to an or two in the morning and evening. Also, check for the authenticity of the news report before sharing it with others. Be responsible and do not spread fake news that has potential to cause unnecessary panic. 

Every dark cloud has a silver lining

When you feel down and this may be a recurring feeling during the lockdown, engage with friends, watch some comedy or re-runs of your favourite series. Try to stay away from those people who only pull you down the abyss.

Instead, try and think about the glorious return of dolphins, swans, geese, penguins, and the birds and mammals who found their way back to their homes. All thanks to the decrease in the level of the pollution due to the lockdown. 

I believe, something good always come out of every negative situation. At the end of it all, humans and all the other species will probably have learnt to co-exist better.

These are tough times and while it may be difficult to do so, try to remain as positive and motivated as possible. However, be alert and be safe. Your health comes before everything else.

As a doctor, I have learned to see hope even in the bleakest of situations. I’ve seen people fighting in the face of death and emerging victorious from the battle. And I have seen flat lines on ECG’s go zig-zag again. I’ve seen and known miracles to happen and would urge you to keep the same faith.

All we need to do right now is maintain social distancing, practice safety precautions, and stay home with a positive attitude.

This is challenge by nature but is also our chance. Let’s live the best version of ourselves.

Remembering the words of the great Mahatma, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Picture credits: Pexels

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A doctor and writer bundled up as one, Priyanka lives and loves to challenge the

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