The faces of life

The faces of life

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

For the last many months or so all nations of the world have been facing the monster of Covid-19 with varying degrees of deftness and resilience. Some like New Zealand and Australia did extremely well in containing it in time while all others have witnessed situations which we wish humanity never had to face. 

Misconceptions, panic, fear of contagion, getting affected and then racing for hospitalisation, competing for life-saving procedures, slow recoveries and fast casualties in some countries…all these have played havoc on the human psyche these months. Mankind is almost in a precarious condition where the victim does not know where he will be attacked. 

However, in the midst of such a glum scenario, there are examples of exceptional positivity. Lakhs of workers from UP, Bihar, Orissa, Bengal, Jharkhand and  Chhattisgarh who scripted the prosperity for the great citadels of the industry in India felt that they were left high and dry by their employers and landlords to fend for themselves in the moment of dire need, it was an unfortunate exodus in times of a deluge. At the same very time appeared numberless inspired voluntary groups, organizations and individuals who came to help these less fortunate brethren marching on foot for their native villages. They offered food round the clock to these people.

There is the case of a middle-class father spending all his savings of five lakh rupees, saved for his daughter’s wedding, in offering food and masks to the hapless workers and their families. There is the outstanding case of a determined fourteen-year-old girl, Jyoti, from Bihar ferrying her injured and convalescing father on a bicycle all the way from Gurugram to her village in Darbhanga--a distance of 1200 kilometres in just seven days. In Mumbai, a group named Unity and Dignity has been supplying oxygen cylinders free of cost at home to people who fail to get this service anywhere else.

Now we also have the other face of society. People who usually sold groceries and toys or vegetables are also now also selling face-masks and hand sanitisers. In a matter of days, thousands took to the manufacturing of these two new items and created an opportunity to get rich while the season prevails. Politicians are trying to project figures to prove that they have done better than their counterparts elsewhere. Their concerns are simply statistical and not human. Such are the myriad faces of my India today in a moment of crisis!