• Mahesh Menon

Day 21

"We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” ― Charles Bukowski.


Day 21

Familiarity breeds contempt.

With the coronavirus and Covid-19, contempt breeds familiarity.

This scary virus now begins to look more irritating and irksome, a nuisance. It is like the first time someone creeps up behind you and shouts "Boo!", and you are petrified. This happens over a while till you start getting annoyed, and think, "Enough!". And this contemptuous stranger begins to look more and more like someone we grow familiar with.

My friends, who are not from a background of medicine ask me “What stage is covid in, in India?”

I reply, "The annoyance stage".

The population is getting restless. The daily visible parallel damage to the economy and different fields struggle to come to terms with this forced vacation. Life was not easy before the Coronavirus. We have another unwelcome guest on board.

And in all of it, in 3 weeks, we hope humanity will learn what we have not learnt in a lifetime- tolerance, being less judgemental (let he who has not sinned cast the first stone) and overcoming pettiness.

There is hope. Cometh the hour, cometh the women and men.

There are those of us still showing up for work and making sure the essential services stay put.

We look at those who have left the city or who are clamoring to leave the city. We look at the destitute and wonder how they must be dealing with this crisis.

We look at those doing terrific social work and providing resources out there to help the poor- a people displaced by a war that has been added to their battle for daily survival.

Brilliant minds working daily to make the world better for us.

There are those who are heroes for just showing up and being who they are. And caring for their loved ones and friends..

This crisis must teach us to focus on that which is important- getting an opportunity to live another day.

How will we go about it?

Start getting ready for the month of May, dear friends. We have a job on our hands.

This nation does not belong to the television channels or to the internet keyboard warriors.

It belongs to you and me out there in the real world doing our bit, and each and every one of us in this country who cares for its well-being.

We must start preparing to get back to building our nation, and the world around us.

To make it safer, less prejudiced, kinder and more helpful.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ― Albert Einstein

Cheers, Mahesh

P.S: This, my dear friends, will be the last of my 21-day daily write up with a possibly pretentious hashtag of being smarter than the virus. This, in the last 21 days has given me strength, as I have been able to keep myself sane through the stress of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the quote goes, “writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia” (E L Doctorow). Thank you to all my friends who felt these posts were readable, and to those who felt this gave them strength. Thank you to all those who have made these last few weeks less dreadful. To wonderful friends and to family. Thank you to all those out there trying to make a difference while going through their own struggles. I have realized the overwhelming dual powers of social media- its ability to do harm and poison minds- and a phenomenal inherent beauty in it that connects the minds of people to harness the power of love and kindness. We must choose our social roles. Follow the science, be safe at home or at work. Be patient, be kind, and do not lose courage and do not lose hope. Final quote coming up. Arthur C Clarke, for those familiar with science fiction, is said to have called this phrase, used by the author in his book, as the best advice to give humanity.

“Don’t panic”. -Douglas Adams, (The Hitch-hiker’s guide to the Galaxy).

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