In the wake of Covid 19 we should live on earth with a whole new perspective, with a contended and grateful heart. With the realization that the most precious thing we are gifted with on the earth is life itself. Just to live another day is actually a gift. Simply waking up is a gift, waking up next to a family is a gift, walking on your own legs up to the washroom, wearing trousers on your own, listening to the air waves, being able to see the dawn break, to see the sunshine, listen the birds chirping, being able to tell your parents and kids that you love them, if you could afford the meals for the day and realizing you still can change what was undesirable in you and the hope you still can make your dream come true, you are gifted. No, let’s not take all these blessings for granted, many in your circle can’t tick all these privileges. If you are thirty plus and are yet to marry it is all right, starting a family later is not a problem. If you tick all these you are among the luckiest minority on this planet. With everything that is happening across the world right now, the outbreak of diseases like novel Corona COVID19 and the like viral diseases, wars, riots, extremist violence, intolerance of the other, in these extreme situations, just to live another day is a gift. We seldom appreciate what we have unless we lose it.
And with everyone’s life such is the case, we make life dull by pessimism. We may not be rich, we may not have been able to graduate from the desired college or university, we may not have been able to qualify the dream entrance test to end in some professional college of choice or service but then we still are alive, we still have hope. How many friends of your age, brilliant, smart and ambitious are already consigned to graves; they don’t have chance to rethink and redo, but you have. If you opened your eyes today and took another breath you are winning! And those who couldn’t do it in the intensive care units of hospitals lost it. We are presented with an opportunity each day. “of him seeks (its need) every creature in the heavens and on earth. Every day in (new) splendor doth he (shine) chapter 55:29Al Quran. The fact that we don’t feel grateful is because we compare our lives with those who have more than us in wealth and power. Comparisons are thieves of happiness. Our needs are insatiable; the get rich quick mentality leads us to false flag operations. Poverty is real, food shortage is acute, many sleep hungry, paupers are abundant, unemployment is an issue, drop outs are a challenge. Meanwhile Donald Trump sleeps in Trump towers and Ambanis have a 27 floor home in Mumbai, in a city of slums. But each of us is distinct genetically and no two of us are same. We are all unique in our ways and in our means. Our challenges are different and our approaches should be different too. On a spring day while no ounce of sun is seen, rather than complaining if we see, it is a plus because farmers are happy, plants are happy, rivers are happy and certainly we too must be happy. Many of us have gone through the accounts of holocaust survivors and we see it is their desire to live rather their conviction to live that helped them win over the jaw of death. If you are a Kashmiri approaching 32 and your five year age relaxation has vapourised at the altar of integrity and now your dream of sitting in UPSC Civil Service, cracking it and doing civil service actually in your home cadre has vanished. Never lose hope, you might have missed the train but it might be an opportunity in disguise to take a flight and do social service not as a policy maker but as a true Kashmiri. Elites exist, some political elites, some conflict elites, gaps between haves and have nots are is increasingly widening, marginalization of weak is rampant, anger has found manifestation in grand approaches, right seems the only right in world politik but let’s live the day and even it out on some other day. If you live the day, it is a gift.
In ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris, based on the true story of love and survival of Lali Sokolov and Gita in a concentration camp we could see how love for humanity, family and friends in the times of quarantine, conflict and chaos could be a source of survival. We should celebrate the capacity that we still can love; we still can make difference in our collective life. If you are not a shipwright and playwright you don’t even need to be. But you should not be a charlatan. You don’t need to be liberal or leftist to speak for rights of the weak, downtrodden or protesting farmers. The need for realpolitik is more urgent than ever before. We still can make a difference in the grotesquely unequal and unjust society; individual dissent is needed for the better health of body politic.
We all are ready to follow a banner if only someone will raise it, let’s all uphold the banners of humanity and fellow feeling, of peace and of compassion lets all lay the foundation stone of a world where all find an expression and all are represented. We should make provisions for tempest in the calm. Had we developed enough infrastructure for health care we may not have been helpless like we are right now, had we minimized defence budget and increased the spending of tax payers’ money on procuring personal prevention equipments (PPEs) for doctors and other life saving facilities the storey may not have been that grim and gloomy. We are all monuments of ingratitude, we all count what we don’t have rather than counting the blessings. Colonel (honorary) Harland Sanders, an American businessman, best known for founding fast food chicken restaurant chain Kentucky fried chicken (also known as KFC) in 1952 started KFC when he was 62 years of age and KFC has about 2500 number of locations in 118 countries and territories. So if you have had a limited success so far, don’t panic you still can start your dream business and it can flourish. To have the chance to speak to my best friends and family and tell them I love them and they are important to me is a blessing. Many people have not heard of their loved ones, many can’t see the loved ones again, many have vapourised in the air that blows through their home and alleys; many can’t see the full moon and the laser lights and the Shikara.
Celebrate! While you are on your own legs, inhaling and exhaling, exhibiting dexterity. Zindagi migzara Celebrate!
Khol Ankh, Zameen Deakh, Falak Deakh, Faza Deakh.
Mashriq Se Ubharte Huwe Suraj ko Zara Deakh..
Tu Peer-e-Sanam khana-e-Asrar Azal Se
Mehnat Kash-o-Khoon Raiz-o-kam Azaar Azal se…
Hai Rakab-e- Taqdeer-e-Jahan Teri Raza, Deakh!
Open your Eyes and look above,
Look at the streak of Dawn;
You guard eternal secrets divine,
And live a life of obedient power;
Look at the world as shaped by your will.
Allama Iqbal (r.a)
Showket Akhoon is Ph.D Research Scholar, Department of Chemistry, University of Kashmir.