‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ very aptly applies to the Maharashtra Mayhem or the whole country’s covid crisis and resultantly but in no way surprisingly, we are on the verge of a breakneck second wave and god forbid, this wave may be dicier and dodgier fraught with worst perilous outcomes.
From the detection of the first case in Kerala on 30th January 2020 to the drastic increase of total 11.5 million cases and 159 k mortalities and along with being a second rank holder with respect to corona cases in the world, India has undergone turbulent times during which corona has caused each and every person experience the woes and tears in some way or the other and curse the year 2020. No one might ever have imagined that the word ‘Pandemic’ about which they used to read in their History or GK books will become a deadly sore of their lives and getting rid of which will be so difficult and uncertain.
The trail of covid-19 destruction is pathetic. Due to this, our country has witnessed the woes of migrant labourers who treaded thousands of kilometres bare feet along the railway tracks with small kids on their backs or in laps and pregnant women with hunger in their bellies and hopes in their hearts to reach safely to their destinations and many of whom were sometimes trampled by the trains. It has perceived the agonies of the people who were wandering from hospital to hospital desperately just to find a bed for their sick family member in critical condition but only to be shoed away on the pretext of having “no bed’. It has witnessed the job loss by around 4.1 million youth many of whom may have been the sole bread earner of their families, and thus ravaging the whole Indian economy. It has proved also that doctors are angels in white who along with other corona warriors have been fighting tirelessly day and night for the past one year. And not to forget about children, the future of our country, most of whom are getting spectacles gradually and are complaining about refractive errors, redness, dryness, itchiness and sore eyes due to constant exposure of screen time.
The Havoc wrecked by corona is widely known to everyone but perhaps we have forgotten that corona is not over yet Fortunately, covid numbers were declining after a drop of 32% in November till the reporting of less than 10,000 new covid-19 cases for second time in February. Everyone was hoping that now with the decline in cases and with the vaccination drive, this corona monster will be wiped off soon from the map of India. But in vain, we are not lucky enough for all this betterment as sadly we are not having majority of people with enough discernment and perspicacity. Out of sight; Out of mind. Now people have become so confident over corona that they think that it is not going to harm them anyway as nothing has happened to them despite all their carelessness and now whatever little precautions they used to take, they have said a goodbye to them. Corona has become a joke for them, making laughing stock of the few people who are really following covid guidelines. Ironically, categories of such careless people can also be observed. Majority of people have been careless since the very beginning. They have neither cared to wear masks nor to keep social distancing nor to avoid crowd or to avoid unnecessary travel. Some other people are lacking self-restraint. They cannot leave merrymaking and mixing with friends and relatives, attending parties, ceremonies, religious gatherings, visiting gyms, disco clubs, bars, trade fair, malls etc just for fun or time pass and that too without covid precautions whatsoever the result may be, they don’t bother at all. Some people will keep consuming all sorts of immunity boosters without knowing the ingredients but they are not ready to wear mask ignoring the fact that prevention is better than cure All these people have a lot to answer for. In fact, they are a lot of foolish and ignorant people who are endangering their lives as well as their family members’ lives deliberately.
Even educated people who should make others aware and alert about the covid appropriate behaviour are behaving like illiterate and uneducated people, putting the masks in their pockets to avoid unexpected challan; or wearing it as a chin guard or not wearing at all. Markets are thronged and buses are jam-packed parks are crowded with kids, ladies and senior citizens as if everything has become normal. Concourse and ceremonies are being organised and attended with large crowds without mask and without any social distancing at all; matches are being played and public in numbers are allowed into the stadiums.
People are not hundred percent at fault, the government is to blame. Exercising laxity in restrictions is the root cause of covid resurgence. If to talk of restrictions, the government imposed them strictly and sincerely till the first lock down till ‘Jaan hai to Jahan hai’ was the main motto. Things started becoming worse from the day “Jaan and Jahan’ both became equally important. People were left to their own destiny and at their own discretion. Now everything is open in full swing and people think that corona has gone. The fear which used to engulf people some months back has also disappeared. Offices are forcefully calling their employees with hundred percent strength even the ones who can work more efficiently from home. Covid norms and social distancing are being flouted every moment. So what option is left with the public, if they do not have a personal conveyance, except boarding a crowded auto or a bus or local train and it is very difficult to wear mask for 8~9 working hours plus 1 to 3 hours for commuting.
Then there are no restrictions in the markets whether they are vegetable or grain markets, weekly markets or some others. How can people themselves keep social distancing as everyone has to do his or her purchasing and no curbs or restrictions are enforced or manipulated by the authorities.
Then to create more havoc, schools have been instructed to open and to conduct exams with parents” consent but taking advantage of this instruction to reopen, many schools have started playing villains. They have made offline exams mandatory with a clear threat to the child not being promoted to the next class and now they have stopped online classes and forcing children to come to school even without parents’ consent and now threatening about the short attendance. Has anyone thought how risky it is to conduct classes in school at a time when again there is a 144% to 500% surge in covid cases! While grownups and so called literate and wise people cannot follow safety norms, is it possible to expect it from children who will eat and drink water many times during 6 hrs of school removing masks (if only they have put it on) exchange notebooks and books and having fun with their classmates and use school washrooms. It is not that corona will not attack if a person has removed mask for eating or drinking. Similarly, no one knows if somebody’s family members are travelling frequently from Maharashtra or any other worse hit states. In such a case, one child or one staff member can infect a number of children and this can be transmitted to their homes as well. And will the school take any responsibility? No.
If to talk of SOPs or covid guidelines, everyone says that they are following SOPs; these things look nice only to be written in circulars but in fact, practically, no school, no institute or no organisation is following the things as they should be. Everywhere, you will find some people not wearing mask at all while others wearing at their chin with their mouth and nose open whether you walk into schools or colleges or you walk into some big showrooms or small shops. Jokes apart, I found three different doctors without any masks and making fun of me by asking ‘Are you afraid of corona? Show where it is!’ and getting offended when I requested them to wear masks.
Even most important leaders of our country who should be role model for all are seen every day on tv without any mask and without taking care of social distancing. The so called well-wisher leaders are conducting rallies with large gatherings almost every day with no mask or no social distancing putting innocent people’s lives at stake just for their benefit.
What has happened to our country? What has happened to the common sense of people who considered themselves as the most enlightened citizens? Why are the authorities napping and waiting for the worst scenario?
The way the story unfolded in western countries is a lesson to us. It’s high time the government and the authorities took stringent actions- vigil streets, shops, markets, offices and impose penalties on people who are not following covid safety measures. Gatherings should be capped. Simultaneously only those who cannot work from home should be called to office. Schools should be supervised so that they can’t stop online classes and force students to come to school without parents’ consent. Scaling up of testing, contract tracing and boosting the vaccine drive should not be compromised in any case.
Children are likely to spoil if parents become lenient and ignore their wrong doings but the blame comes on parents only; similarly, if people’s carelessness and negligence cause covid surge, it’s the duty of the government and authorities to make them behave in the right way by every possible means.
It is a highly unprecedented situation as we have the same virus in the same month with dangerous signal along with other more infectious mutants. This second wave fears loom. The question is what is more important to us? Health or wealth? Humanity or economy? online studies or offline worries? safety of the employees or forcefully pushing them into trouble?
All is not well and all those who think nothing will happen to them can also be the next victim of corona so do not threaten your and others’ lives as life is very precious, and never to forget – the weapons in the battle against the virus are still only the mask, distancing and hand hygiene. So, don’t drop your guard and don’t consider this pandemic as a joke. No one will definitely want to lose their dear ones’ lives or to stay in lockdown for the coming years too. Be extra careful otherwise second, third and fourth waves will continue hitting our country and we will never be corona free if people’s careless and fearless attitude remains the same. The choice is in or hands- whether to impose strict discipline and self-restraint for some period of time and enjoy freedom soon and forever; or in the reverse situation, remain a victim of corona and masks for an uncertain time
Author: Anshu Jain
Dr Anshu Jain, a doctorate in English, a freelance writer and a teacher with a 20 year experience of teaching in schools, colleges and institutes. Her qualifications are MA (English), Ph.D, PGCTE, PGDT, B.Ed. She has highly creative interests made a number of paintings and art pieces.
Her you-tube channel https://youtube.com/channel/UCh3PG-4Dn7J5HgCjFdJmMXA..