We all have heard of revenge stories, some filled with vengeance while others with remorse. But one that was premiered all across the globe, and continues to run, was something unheard of-‘COVID-19’. Nature was the protagonist and the whole world was its cast. We all were given a taste of our own medicine. We had taken nature for granted and we paid the price. All the miseries that we inflicted on nature, returned to us with double intensity.
But nature, being the kind soul that it is, sent this as a blessing in disguise. Our immediate response to this out-of-syllabus pandemic was quarantines and lockdowns. These abnormal exercises paved way for a new normal. It gave us a chance to break the shackles of our monotonous life and view the world around us through a different lens. What began as a short break, on March 22, 2020, went on for about two months. People were a little worried and tensed initially. However, as time went by, nerves settled and people began to explore this new facet of life.
The most affected area was the household structure of common people. After a long time, families were staying together day in and day out. Many people used to seldom visit their home. They were now discovering the daily routines of their family members, who themselves were puzzled at this new setup. Even nuclear families began to live like joint ones. Tough times brought the families closer.
People were surprised at this sudden influx of ample time at their disposal. So they began to regroup- within their families, among their friends, and on online networking platforms. They started looking for productive avenues to channel their idle energy. Digital learning platforms got a shot in their arm as their subscribers leaped. Those who were not able to take some time out for themselves, due to hectic work schedules, got some relief. They had an opportunity to upgrade their skill set and also could spend some time with their family.
Entertainment was necessary to stay refreshed. People went back to their childhood games and rekindled their childhood memories. Keeping the young generation busy was a huge task for most families. Parents tried their best and even invented some games to keep children engaged. Digital media was an easy medium but not the best one with regards to its impact on health. Young, adult, and old- all three generations sat together and shared their experiences. Shows like Ramayana and Mahabharata provided a way to familiarise the new generation with their religious and cultural heritage.
We also saw some hidden gems coming to the fore. Cooking, drawing, dancing, singing – people showcased their talents. It inspired many. Some even turned their hobbies into passions. Others fine-tuned their forgotten skills.
The natural environment, including the plant and animal kingdom, got a huge reprieve from the excessive human intervention that it endured and its devastating impacts. The result was visible. Pollution levels were at historically low levels. People from as far as Punjab could take a glimpse of the Himalayan scenic beauty. Rivers became far cleaner, devoid of their daily dose of industrial intoxicants. Animals were free to roam around, gaining their territories back.
This new normal brought a new set of problems with it. The initial phase of lockdown was replete with stringent regulations and unclear guidelines. In the end, it was the middle class who bore the brunt of it. The daily stock of ration and other necessities was hard to get. Exclusive timings with social distancing added to the misery. People had to bear physical, financial as well as emotional trauma.
This story also ended on an optimistic note, if not happy. Nature turned the world upside down to rejig the robotic life we were leading. We learned a great lesson about humanity. The materialistic culture cannot replace the religion of humanity. The latter binds us as one. We must first adhere to this. The fact that nature is the foundation of our lives must be kept in mind in all our endeavors.