From Ground Zero

Greater Kashmir

‘Relax’, they say never tell this to someone in stress. It’s a paradox.When someone is getting stressed out, one of least effective (and perhaps most annoying) things to say is ‘relax’. But I have always done that in my life, because I have always believed that a bad outcome is less likely. Catastrophizing anything just isn’t my way thinking.

As much as I believe that present COVAD crisis is “God-given”, I believe we are not bidden to suffer or meekly submit to it. Rather we must follow Almighty’s command to confront this disaster and use all our tools and wisdom to defeat it. Corona, thus presents an extraordinary challenge to each one of us.

Stationed a Hajin, Sumbal, a highly infected area, I have seen doctors and government officials, inspite of being highly exposed to the risk, working round the clock, government machinery is proactive, extreme measures like a lockdown of a different kind, isolation of potential carriers, businesses suffering fatal losses and an average person altering some of its natural habits of socialization. And yet, I believe more than ever, it is time for all of us to create moments of happiness by making these small sacrifices.

People respond differently to this calamity. Some are crazy after face masks and sanitisers, some are stocking groceries, some are disappointed for they won’t go to Delhi or London this season, and there are others who haven’t heard anything about this virus. Good or bad, this is not much surprising. But this major disruption in our routine life has given us the time not only to physically rest but also time to mentally reflect. It’s a chance to revisit our values, our choices and our divisions; an opportunity to spend a lot more time with family and children, a break to catch up on reading, a gap to practice gardening and an opening to love yourself. Above all, it’s a great opportunity to help the needy around you. Yes, it’s also time to override tribal sub-divisions for our own good.

For those who are out on social media demonising a particular religion, sect or stigmatising the patients and their families – this tiny creature doesn’t not make any moral judgement. It did not differentiate between world leaders and an ordinary traveller for faith. It did not spare any country, any religion, any ideology, any class or any sect.

The virus doesn’t care about our arrogance either. We all are the potential hosts of this virus.

Relax. This pandemic will be over and the virus will not wipe us out. Death is certain, why fear? Life is uncertain, let’s celebrate it. You live your life the best when you look death in the face.

“Just when things seem secure, the unknown can loom, unexpectedly and large. Conversely, just when everything seems lost, new order can emerge from catastrophe and chaos”; How brilliantly put by,  Jordan B. Peterson

Syed Shahnawaz Bukhari is a civil servant.