Posted by Wesley D’Souza on May 18, 2020
The dawn of the quarantine era that arose in the wake of destruction left by the coronavirus has spawned an ocean of articles containing some variation of the phrase “in these trying times”. And though this article, too, shall use this phrase at some point (time really does turn phrases into clichés) we must begin to pay attention to the many wonderful things that have also been happening quietly, but surely. One of them happens to be a popular spoken-word poem that is doing the rounds of the internet. And in times when we might seem to let things go out of focus, it serves as an optimistic reminder that we are both- problem and solution.
The poem called The Great Realisation by @probablytomfoolery on Instagram is the one I am referring to. Disguised as a bedtime tale for children, the poet himself speaks the poem in a soft and kind voice. There is a feeling of calm that washes over you while you listen to the story of a species that is narrated stanza by insightful stanza.
Of all the things that stays with me even now, something that is as striking as it is confounding is the near debilitating control that technology has over us. While conversations and arguments rage over various social media and in the comments sections of different sites, we may have let our conversations with people in real time fade away, let away into background noise. As Tom would say- it’s not that nothing’s being said, it’s that the meaning of our words is being watered down. Ironically, I need technology to write this piece and bring it to you. But let’s not dwell on that. To those of us who have it, let us be grateful for every little distraction that takes our fraying niceness away from the bursting point and towards something productive.
It truly is wonderful that people are using this time to rebuild the relationships that they’d let crumble in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Many I know are rejoicing that they get to see more of their parents or children. Amidst the volume of baking and cooking and home workout videos that seem to be pouring in over the internet, we see a lot of smiles, a lot of laughter. senses and very often, this information can be overwhelming. Many psychologists have reported cases of cell phone-induced anxiety, stress, and depression.
But indeed, being, for all intents and purposes, trapped, really shows us how grateful we ought to be for all that is available to us. But this gratefulness I accept with a pang of great guilt; all the things that we can be grateful for should serve as reminders to us of the unimaginable privilege that we are a product of. In a country where people are walking many hundreds of miles to get back home, I am grateful that I already have a home. For every morsel that I can eat, there are people who make a meal once in two days. And yet my dwindling belief in the goodness of humanity does not die; there are people out there who are taking care of each other. NGOs and other private institutions have started charities that are working overtime, all hours of the day and night to get essentials to those that are truly vulnerable, while also being exposed to great risk themselves…
A great many have poured in the thought that a lot of lessons are there to be learned from this pandemic. The time of subtle hints has passed; this disease has, as has been pointed out, exposed an already broken system. The days of subtle allusions to the vices that grip our world have faded and great facades have been torn down to expose the inherent greed that has a chokehold on the world. We see it now, and all its enablers are clear as day. But these lessons are for those who have the time to educate themselves. For others, it is water over an upturned pot.