“IT IS HUMAN NATURE TO THINK WISELY AND TO ACT IN AN ABSURD FASHION.” - ANATOLE FRANCE
It has not even been a month since the second wave was on its gruesome peak and as the vaccination drive picked up the pace and cases started declining, we saw a horde of people jamming the highways to Himachal and other hill-stations. With the third wave predicted in six weeks, this is not a sight to laugh-oﬀ. It is a sight to be feared.
The virus has devastated us, in and out. The second wave entered our families; our homes and took away people close to us. Oﬃcial figures say, we’ve lost over 4 lakh people and yet oﬃcers quote, “Haarega Corona! Jeetega India.” were those 4 lakh lost souls not a part of India ? Did they win? Will they win?
The past Thursday we celebrated “National Doctors Day” and cheered for the tireless dedication of our medical staﬀ during this medical havoc. We posted and shared; telling them how much we owe to them. For the last 17 months, Doctors, nurses and other medical staﬀ are the only ones to keep the hope of ‘wo subah kabhi toh aaegi’, alive for us all. They did this without adequate gears and equipment, and apart from taking the virus head on, they were pummeled with the anger of the people as well.
Whenever this is over (if this gets over at all), would we be able to thank them for what they did? There can be no monetary value for what they have done. The only way to pay them back is to stand beside them and not stir up trouble for them, with our arbitrary decisions.
Taking the ‘lust’ out of Wanderlust
This lust of wandering includes this ‘kick’ called discovering the undiscovered. People travel to far-oﬀ unpopular villages; remote places; not-easy-to-travel expeditions to the find this ‘undiscovered.’ But in this adventure, we conveniently neglect the risks involved. We risk the lives of the community that has not been discovered by the virus, yet. Should we not consider that our 'pahadon mein sukoon’ can disturb their ‘sukoon’?
Small community villages like these, do not have ‘basic’ structure (we know of our Nation’s health infrastructure after the mayhem of the second wave). The nearest hospital, petrol pump, departmental store or medical store could be 15 to 20 km far, if not more. There are popular tourist attractions in Himachal Pradesh which lack roads, for that matter. For about a year, we are told, time and again, that if Corona reaches our villages, there will be no stopping it. There can be none!
So, to the people planning their trips before the third wave, you are the third wave, my friend!
Why do we travel? Firstly, because we like it. Secondly, because it’s a much needed break from our regular 9 to 5 and thirdly, because we should. This past one and half years has been a year of mental turmoil for a lot of people. People have been working incessantly in their close doors, with minimal physical interactions. Aristotle’s social animals were reduced to a 14.5 inch laptop screen to socialize. ‘Fun Fridays' turned to be lesser fun. Regular College students finished their degrees without meeting their batch-mates; not knowing their faces; not even seeing their campuses.
Also, on the other shore, the tourism industry has suﬀered a lot in this pandemic. Hill stations – dependent on tourism for their livelihood – have been in a state of despair. With a GDP collapse of -23.9 % for first quarter of the FY 2020-21, trade, hotels, transport and communication sector declined to 47%. India's hospitality & tourism sector suﬀered three-quarters of severe economic attrition, estimated to be up to ₹15 lakh crore. The State is paying least heed to them.
Henceforth, for the balance of mental sanity and economy, travelling and tourism are mutually vital. And, the balance has to be made where more judicious decisions are to be thought of, rather than old school risky ones!
Balancing the odds: Get Vaccinated!
We read and wrote long speeches to appreciate the frontline workers but are we even close to contributing in their fight? We can’t win if we keep delaying the ‘practice-what-you-preach’ formula. Are you wearing masks? You may be courageous to face the virus, but its for protection for those around you. So, be responsible for them.
Organizations such as Gurugram based Desmania Design Pvt. Ltd. are observed to address this new behavior by introducing their Protective gears – AARMR.
The nature of this highly contagious virus demands us to determine a new behavior, on individual levels and community level. This new behavior has to take an approach of scientific temperament and rationality, that we must not lose – even for a moment. We are well aware of the necessity of vaccination and post-vaccination precautions. This new behavior must include an extensive outlook to information. We must persistently update ourselves with the developments happening in bio-chemistry to overcome the virus.
To our limitations, as citizens, we cannot do much. It has to be a policy-level execution. Until our policy makers take into consideration the mental sanity of their citizens (which they haven’t, for years), we must act upon our own.
More corporations have to step in, keeping away their profit motives, and join this battle. But, again, it’s upon us to use it heedfully.