Corona Chalisa: 40 things that happened when India took Pandemic leave

Corona Chalisa_02052020
An image representing a Man Praying for his health and safety of his Job

“Amol, look..it just happened as I expected! The Central Government has extended the lockdown until 17th of May” Said my devout Uncle with a mixed sense of happiness and concern on his face (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52505436)

On a Saturday, I was relaxing after sipping a cup of piping hot morning tea sweetened with jaggery sauce (All thanks to the diet-conscious better half). I ask him if the news is genuine and to ensure that it is not a fakedemic (https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2020/04/how-to-fight-fake-news-related-to-corona/)

“Yes… Look here, this is being aired on TV9 Kannada” I stood still and stared into a distance. Maybe, it was expected but I always felt that in this condition the treatment was worse than the disease.

My hunch brought the economic demon to my consciousness and it was rearing its ugly head in all glory. It also brought uncomfortable thoughts like the earning potential, the safety of stranded migrants and students, loss of school days and education (It took us decades to give free elementary education to kids. We had to pump in crores of money to build awareness to ensure that a girl goes to the school).

Well, anyways we have to accept the decision as law-abiding citizens. However, I just got a unique idea. As I sank back into the sofa, I noticed my Uncle earnestly uttering the Hanuman Chalisa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanuman_Chalisa) which he always does, but more so especially on Saturday’s. This lit a thousand flames in me to conduct a quick research on what happened to India in the days that went by.

Presenting to you, the top picks from my research ( These are presented in the form of a Shloka starting and ending with this symbol II) :

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II Undisputedly this was the first time in the history of India that the Honourable Prime Minister (Shri Narendra Modi https://www.narendramodi.in/) ordered a Nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the deadly 2020 Coronavirus pandemic. It started on the 24th of March following a 14-hour voluntary public curfew on the 22nd of March II (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_lockdown_in_India)

II The word lockdown was added to our daily lingo II

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II We were clueless with what to do with our savings in the bank and the cars in the garage II

II Safeguarding life became more important than celebrating life II

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II Daily wage earners found it even harder to make their ends meet. With no customers/work in sight they were forced to resign to the fate II (https://www.indiatoday.in/india/video/covid-19-lockdown-daily-wage-workers-struggle-to-make-ends-meet-1668600-2020-04-19)

II Fighting daily hunger become more necessary over earning daily wages II

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II Workers and employees were pushed back at home and their employers tried all means to ensure operational continuity II

II Work from home became not just an entitlement but a necessity II

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II Doctors and policemen were lynched by an insane mob. Protectors were persecuted and punished II (https://www.bloombergquint.com/coronavirus-outbreak/doctors-come-under-attack-in-india-as-coronavirus-stigma-grows)

II Humanity danced awkwardly to the flawless tunes of Mother divine II

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II Social distancing became the norm. We were asked to stay away from both kids and the elderly and eventually rendered them helpless II

II Hugs, kisses and handshakes became the new biological weapons II

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II Most of us realised that we could truly work at home to the full potential and save much of the hard-earned money spent on fuels II

II We contributed to reversing the climate change whilst trying to radically change our lifestyles II

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II Professionals from the healthcare fraternity, police and politicians came to the forefront to serve the community. Ironically, these were the three most thankless professionals during the normal phase of daily lives II

II We celebrated the real unsung heroes from the society and were disillusioned from the Bollywood/Hollywood reel heroes II

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II There were no temples to visit, churches and mosques to pray and meditation halls were shut II

II We battled solitude and made a deal with ourselves whom we hated throughout our lives II

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II We realised money cannot buy everything, including groceries. What actually counted was food grains including cereals in the kitchen stores than expensive jewellery in the treasure trove, with bank lockers, included II (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1106418/india-novel-coronavirus-impact-on-grocery-essential-purchase-by-channel/)

II We understood the meaning of the Quote “Twixt the cup and the lip” and realised our vulnerabilities II

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II India became poor by USD 320 billion (assuming the loss each day is USD 8 billion, as per estimates) The dream of India becoming a superpower and a $5 trillion economy is pushed further II (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-editorials/from-fifth-largest-to-5-trillion-economy/)

II We realised the importance of keeping the Nation’s coffers full, over and above our personal finances. Each one of us got to know how we are directly/indirectly contributing to the nation’s economic health and well-being II

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II The hidden epidemic of mental health issues came to the surface with more and more people talking and acknowledging it II (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/30/mental-health-suffers-under-the-lockdown)

II We understood the importance of mental health in addition to physical health II

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II For the first time, people downloaded a Mobile app not for information, entertainment or utility but for safeguarding themselves II (https://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/aarogya-setu-lockdown-government-guidelines-covid-19-employees-public-private-containment-zones-2222033)

II People understood that technology can be a lifesaver too II

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II The divorce queries rose exponentially in India. Most of the disturbed marriages found Coronavirus as an additional layer of burden prompting them to stay together. Even the happiest of couples had to forcefully cohabit and accept each other II (Hopefully, my wife is not reading this blog) (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/till-corona-do-us-part-divorce-queries-rise-in-india/articleshow/75225320.cms)

II We realised that our true life partners are our thoughts and how we feel about them II

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II Video conferencing tools such as zoom, blue jeans and Google Hangouts saw a surge in consumption. Most of us who wanted to stay in touch with relatives found newer means other than WhatsApp II (https://www.computerworld.com/article/3535800/pandemic-leads-to-surge-in-video-conferencing-app-downloads.html)

II We got the traditional quote on Necessity absolutely wrong. The remixed quote is “Necessity is the mother of (digital) learning and not invention” II

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II We revisited our deep-rooted and sacrosanct terminologies and became aware of the misleading panic that could be unleashed on social media. Going Viral and unleashing disruptions were met with resentment II

II We rightly accorded the long-standing and overdue word “virulence” to a virus than to stupid viral posts II

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II This phase uncovered our true friends over virtual acquaintances and family over relatives. People chose spiritual fruits over religious nuts and most of us were disenfranchised from fake Godmen II

II People always wore masks before the novel Coronavirus. With the pandemic, it just became more evident II

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II All the Global travel to exotic locations were relatively unnecessary, other than giving us a momentary rush. Witnessing smiles was more important than travelling and earning miles II (https://www.businesstoday.in/sectors/jobs/coronavirus-tripadvisor-lays-off-25-percent-staff-as-travel-takes-backseat-amid-lockdown/story/402327.html)

II The best vacation is a staycation at home with kids, family and friends. The next? It’s a travel inward bound followed by an International travel, the last II

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II There was a surge in remote learning in India and across the world. Most of the edtech companies came to the forefront to ensure that the drive for eternal learning is sustained II (https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/edutech/brief/edtech-covid-19)

II Learning can happen well within the confines of our home and not amidst the Brick and Mortar wall of honours of Global School and Universities II

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II We realised that the best gym was at home, including helping with the daily chores and the best instructor was your spouse (compliments and criticisms included) In fact, as per the survey, only 25 % to 30 % of people are expected to go back to increase in classes after the lockdown is lifted II (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/29/lockdowns-have-changed-the-fitness-industry-forever—how-workouts-will-change.html)

II Finally, We chose inner clarity over external certainty and placed our priorities in the right order. Our health, happiness and home over everything else that doesn’t actually matter at the end II

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In summary, the current crisis has made us realise the importance of living life to the fullest, with each day during the lockdown phase unlocking new learnings and allowing us to enjoy the best of the moments of life.

With the lockdown now getting further extended, it looks like Life is now playing itself in the loop and a time-lapse video. I feel it was essential for the mother Divine to push humanity into silence to support us in hearing her long-standing screams.

By the way, you might have realised that there are precisely 40 takeaway stanzas in the form of tidbits of classy information laced with my interpretation of facts and factoids!

Hopefully, these observations will fire you up much earlier than the time taken by our car engines to rev up and come to life, when we start yet another routine day at our office after lockdown 3.0 is over…. if at all 🙂

It’s now my time to read the Sri Hanuman Chalisa. Take care!

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