Chaos in the Time of Corona – I

I work as a Java developer for a leading European Bank in Bengaluru. At present almost all IT professionals around the globe are working from home as a precaution against COVID-19.

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has brought life to a standstill in almost every part of the world. Honestly, it’s a very difficult time to be away from home. My parents have grown old and it’s obvious for them to panic in times like these. It’s a catch-22 situation for me as staying here in Bengaluru means staying away from my parents and traveling to Kolkata means putting many lives in danger.

Currently, India is under a 21-day nationwide lockdown. I consider myself lucky and privileged to have a job and a roof over my head. If the nationwide lockdown can create a panic in my mind, I probably can’t imagine what most others in our country are going through.

I don’t follow politics much, but I try to read the news regularly. I have admired Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his party got elected as the ruling party in 2014. I feel Narendra Modi has a strong personality and will be remembered for a long time in Indian politics. His government has taken many bold decisions like Demonetisation, Revocation of Article 370 and CAA-NRC in the last six years. I doubt any other previous governments have done so many things in such a short time. Correct me if I am wrong.

I feel the below movie dialogues are very appropriate for someone like Narendra Modi. 

  1. You may not like him, Minister, but you can’t deny Dumbledore’s got style.
  2. Like him or hate him, you can’t ignore him.

But I have my doubts about the way our Government is handling the coronavirus situation. The Prime Minister goes live and gives a 40 minutes speech announcing a 21-day lockdown. You know something is seriously wrong when the nation is in a state of confusion and panic at the end of those 40 minutes. People are not exactly sure what a lockdown means. People are worried about being deprived of essentials. Was this an administrative error or they just need to find a better speechwriter?

Police brutality cannot be the solution to everything when there is a big void in education and awareness at the ground level.

We could have prepared better as the outbreak happened much late in India. So we had ample time for preparing ourselves. We had examples of Italy and Iran in front of us. When will we have a proactive government instead of a reactive one? Why do we always follow a coping mechanism? Why is there no social security plan for such situations? How can we move on from the infrastructural challenges? I don’t want to blame or pinpoint anyone. All I hope is that we learn and improve so that we are better prepared for situations like these in the future.

One of the few good things which the lockdown has done is it has slowed us down. It has given us some time to think. It has got us to ponder on what is necessary and what is not. What are the things we can give up and what are the things we cannot live without?

Also once all this is over, I think people will be more respectful towards many things in life and stop taking things for granted.

Akash Chaudhuri
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