Learning to Live in Times of the Corona Pandemic: A New Reality and Many Challenges
Covid-19 is certainly making news around the world and the fine line between panic and precaution seems to be disappearing fast, how should we make sense of this changing reality around us?
As part of my research work, I started my journey to Kalaburagi (Gulbarga, Karnataka) on my bike from Bangalore. It is approximately 575 km which I was supposed to cover in a day. As part of my research work, I started my journey to Kalaburagi (Gulbarga, Karnataka) on my bike from Bangalore. It is approximately 575 km which I was supposed to cover in a day. On 3rd March, I started the journey on my bike. It drizzled in the beginning and was extremely cold. Later, the heat started to pick up quickly. It was tiring but I reached the destination safely. I did finish my work before the stipulated time. After much deliberation, I decided to go home, which is 150 km away rather than going back to Bangalore. I reached home on 7th March. I had holidays for the next week, in which I wanted to relax and unwind. Little did I knew what was about to come in the next three to five days.
On the news channels, the spread of Corona (COVID – 19) was making a sensation. People had been affected and started to panic & countries started to realise the seriousness. By the 9th of March, (WHO) World Health Organisation has mentioned that 28,673 were confirmed cases all over the world. In India, on 9th March, there were 43 confirmed cases & by 11th March, the confirmed cases rose to 60. That’s when WHO declared Covid as pandemic as there were more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.
I searched the meaning of the word pandemic, it showed, “prevalent over a whole country or the world”. One thing I realised is that even though there is a lot of technological advancement in the medical field, we as humans were not ready for this kind of a situation. The government has ordered to shut the colleges, schools, malls and public gatherings. That was when I realised the seriousness of the situation. I immediately checked my body temperature, which was normal. Thankfully I was staying 20km away from the city during my visit. I called up the authorities, who gave me the stay and they told me not to panic as things were under control. From that day onwards, I was checking my temperature and keeping a check on routine. When my parents got to know, they were worried and when I explained to them the entire situation. They did understand what I was telling. The next day I received a mail which said, “The college authorities have decided to resume classes only on March 23, 2020.” Most of my classmates were happy about this. I was not feeling good about it and somehow more was yet to come. I was not able to comprehend the situation. The next day another mail which read, “We are extending the break from classes until March 31, 2020.” By now, the news channels were all about Covid-19 and the mess it had created.
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The completion of work, the college has taken a back seat and survival was the primary thing that was in my head. The placement season of the students in college has dried up as the college is closed. What about the future of those who are waiting to get a job? The companies would not show interest to hire new candidates. It was and is a testing time for all of us. With so much medical advancement, the spread of Covid-19 surfaces the gap and functioning of government during the crisis. It also made me understand how humans react in a crisis. The question that throws up is, “Are we ready and equipped to face the problems that are not yet discovered?” Does the education provided in schools make us ready to face the adversities which the world throws at us? Sometimes, we need to surrender ourselves to nature. Man cant take control of everything and destroy what comes in the way, there are certain things which cant be under our control & it has to remain that way.The way I see this crisis, there is a lack of a safety net and protection for working people in societies with rising inequality, especially for those working in the gig economy with no social protection. This crisis has taught that nothing is more valuable than our lives during the time of crises. The destruction that is caused by man is massive and irreversible & nature has a way of balancing things out.
Murali is pursuing his MA in Education from Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.
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