Hi. I thought I would give the continuing story on my life & career a small break and write a small piece on TODAY. The COVID Times…
I do not know about others but I did my best, over the last fifty days, to limit my concern on the effects of the Lock Down to what I felt I could control and what was my first responsibility. This happens to be the payment of salaries and ensuring the well being of my team of colleagues. I have tried to do what I could to the best of my ability. I think that is the best that anyone can do. Eventually, they will be harmed more if I stuck my neck out to do things that may put my ability to run the company, when I need to be at the front, at risk. Hence, I followed the advise given to me by strangers on LinkedIn and my own views and ensured that those at the lowest levels of pay in the company were taken care of through monies and provisions and the others got enough towards sustenance. Of course I have been frustrated at not being prepared but could I have been prepared? In reality, we had hardly any warning and there was so much coming out from the various ministries, the RBI and all sorts of people, after we were locked down, that it was very difficult to understand the situation let alone plan properly.
I decided early on that I was going to keep myself busy during the lock down as there is nothing worse than time on ones hand and a mind that can become the Devil’s workshop. So, I went about doing a lot of stuff ‘by choice’. I was lucky as I could stick to the last two words as the person who cooks at home, with no maid, my wife, did not really have a ‘by choice’ option. So, I tried my hand at breakfasts, a couple of dishes for lunch, cleaning my bedroom, balcony, terraces, toilets ( That is when I realised what a back breaking job it is for those doing it daily). My vegetable garden and our garden downstairs got a lot more attention. The rest of my family, who are staying with us, chipped inn with doing their tasks – making it so much easier for everyone. Thanks all at home…
Then, when I got the opportunity, I helped a set of people by packing ( sometimes) and delivering food to various migrant colonies and slums. When I shared a picture of a slum, a friend said – that looks clean, is it really a slum? So, I said, it is reasonably clean and I chose not to share the dirty parts. Now, my own assumption that slums are dirty and mostly filthy were pretty much out of sync. They are not like that at all. If anything needs improvement it is the hygiene of the toilets. If the people living there had running water and other facilities they would use it for sure.
Of course the folks in these colonies have a tough life. Tin sheds/ roofs and many in a room and the heat can be unbearable. However, in the many days / times I visited to share the food, I NEVER even once saw anyone being disorderly, greedy or rude. I stopped taking pictures after the second day as I believed that I had no right to encroach on the personal space and dignity of these lesser fortunate people. I loved the visits and the delivery and seeing the kids – chirpy as ever. They always returned my thumbs up sign and were quite excited about it. In one place, a member of a large family asked me to stop serving on her plate. I thought she had enough when a neighbour told her she should take more as she had a large family. She said No, if she did so, others would lose out. We gave her more and the others too. Now, is your mind programmed to hear such wise and kind emotions, from our less fortunate countrymen?
It was all of this that kept me feeling positive as I realised I had so much going for me. Why should I be worrying about things that I could not control ? Of course I do worry but I am not prepared to get myself sick and be of no use by the time we were ready to resume work. The experience with the migrants and the less fortunate was what made me get upset at the reactions of the powers that be to the desire of these folks to go home. Heck, I even planned how I can enter Kerala and reach Kochi to see my grand daughter, by staying away from the high ways. It was of course just something I played in my mind but the Lord knows these people are humans and in the end the heart must take pre eminence once in a while. I refused to buy the argument that they were well fed and looked after and hence, what else did they need? If man could live on food alone, how simple would life be. When I read of people walking, cycling and hitch hiking for distances of over 1000 + kilometres I cannot but help wonder at the amazing attraction Indians have towards their roots. Have we as Indians realised how much home meant to us? The enormity of the reverse migration is something that cannot but affect oneself emotionally. At least, it did me. Of course the politicians blamed everyone except themselves and our sector carried the can when there were many other than us who wanted labour retained at the workplace.
We do not know how many of us will survive the impact of this virus or whether there will be an impact at all. Typically emotional ones among us believe that this is required for the earth and that human kind will change etc. I’m not so sure. That doubt became firmer when a couple of dudes decided to cut the traffic lights when I was out yesterday. Really? What’s your hurry? Didn’t the lock down teach you patience and discipline? I don’t know and I do not believe all the ‘experts’ who claim this & that in the future. Did even one expert predict the reverse migration of the migrants that is continuing today? So, cut the bull shit and somewhere in your well done reports full of jargon and all kinds of charts, mention – ” Emotions and feelings of the heart are not accounted for”.
This was a sudden Blog, not one that I had planned even yesterday..so, go out and do stuff you haven’t planned. After all, did you ever expect to get locked down in your life time? Have a great day ahead…( caution – I will be stupid to say that everyone among the less fortunate is nice – there are the crooked and the wicked everywhere – but that is the point – they are just like us, just less fortunate)