Today, the entire world has been affected by Coronavirus pandemic. No country has the chance to isolate itself, however remote it might be located or however powerful it might be. This pandemic has created a havoc by bringing deaths, lockdowns and fear amongst us. Enough is being written and shared about the origins of this virus, how it spread to the world, what precautions to take to isolate yourself based on social distancing and what to do if we feel we are affected by Coronavirus. There are hundreds of post everyday on social media, television, YouTube to make the world aware of this pandemic and to take measures to prevent the spread of it. Too late, too little though..anyways..
I am not writing this article to emphasize the same things which we listen and see and read everyday. To begin with, it would be imperative to make this clear that this pandemic is no good for the world, As said before, it’s been quite difficult time for us when we cannot go out of home, when there is shortage of basic supplies( real shortage or stocking ??), when the brave doctors and healthcare people are risking their lives to treat the sick and affected people, when in this so called free world, we are in a state of lockdown and being constrained in our homes, even working from home, when we see that thousands have lost their jobs or business due to shutdown of restaurants, hotels, offices, malls, concerts, games, schools and colleges. This is not a very good time for the world economy. The so called “Trump Bump” effect has all but vanished, the factory of the world “China” has closed down its factories and already struggling developing economy like India are facing even slow growth rate.
But every cloud has a silver lining, so amidst the negative and depressing views expressed for the past few weeks, I thought to write something on the positive changes we are seeing today, and what will come next after this subsides.
As we all have been lockdowned or in self-quarantine inside our homes, this has led to an unprecedented decrease in the outside travel. During normal times, it is highly unlikely to keep people away from eating outside in our favorite restaurants and enjoying the delicious cuisine. Not everyone is a lover of home food or cooking, especially those who are busy in work, business or study. But now, its too high a risk to eat outside. So, we have been compelled to eat home cooked food. But this also presents a novel opportunity to try something new in cooking for those who are interested. Home cooked food is way better than junk food, and one of the pandemic effects has led us to eat good and nutritious food in our homes. Of course its up to us to avoid ordering junk food from outside, but the possibility to cook and eat a lot of fruits, vegetables has never been so high as today. As this pandemic virus originated from the some animal ( maybe bat) being consumed by someone, https://www.peta.org/blog/links-between-meat-and-coronavirus-facts-myths/ so this also leads to the theory to promote vegetarianism. In no way this is meant for any religious or political support, but the very basic fact that science has proved that animals have many virus and consuming animal meat inevitably increases the risk of being affected by them and then leading to the origin and spread of such pandemics. We can look into pandemic history and we can deduce the facts that most of them have been linked to some kind of animal meat consumption. Say SARS, or Swine Flu, or Ebola, we come to the same conclusion. So, this pandemic has led the world to think and adopt the vegetarian art of eating, which is far far more better.
Moving ahead, this has not just affected our food habits, but also our work habits. We are working from home with the use of advanced technology such as high speed internet, video conferencing and cloud technology. I wonder if any of this was not developed, then it would be so much difficult to sustain the business. Looking at the way teleworking is being adopted all over the world, it might become the de-facto work habit even after this pandemic ends, and will affect the people-work relations. There are obvious pros and cons of teleworking. Not everyone can do it, especially the professionals who have to work with people, in real world service and manufacturing industries etc. Usually automation is viewed as good for business as it reduces human errors, increases efficiency and cuts down costs. So, the business executives love automation, robotics and any technology which would reduce the the human element in the business. But for the employees, it always brings the uncertainty of being laid off, and their jobs and skills being redundant. So, there has been quite mixed views on the need to develop and implement automation, robots or any technology which wont need humans to work on the job. But looking at the effects of this pandemic, I think that never has been automation so useful during such troubled times. It not only promotes the social distancing but also keep the business moving. Had not mobile systems, ATM’s, vending machines, e-health check, online education, weather monitoring, voice recognition, navigation maps etc being developed and automated, it would have been much more difficult to reduce the spread of pandemic. Today, we get the social media feed on Facebook & Twitter, weather predictions updates, we can pursue our studies online, we can watch movies on Netflix instead of going to theater’s, we don’t need to buy newspapers & magazines like our previous generations did, but we get all the live information from internet, and television, we don’t need to go to restaurants to eat, but we can order for home delivery for meals and groceries using Uber eats and DoorDash. All the technology being deployed has rendered its usefulness in these turbulent times.
As we are stuck in our homes, and besides the bombarding of the infotainment on us, it also directs us for introspection. “If we can’t go outside, then go inside”. Funny as it may sound, but never has been such a wonderful time to be calm, peaceful, to enjoy our own company, to be ourselves. This is a time to spend with our family, our kids, to learn something new like cooking, painting, to learn music, to write, to read, to learn dance, to clean our closet, to watch good movie, to listen songs, and much more. We are always so much imbibed in our daily monotonous work to earn, to grow in company or business, that we often forget the real reasons we are working so hard. We forget that we are earning money for our family, for fulfilling the basic needs such as food and shelter ( after all, its a big philosophical quest to understand what is that we need in life?) But we all forget to enjoy those precious moments with our family, eating our favorite food or having a good night’s sleep in this materialistic pursuit of worldly things. We have been in a rush to keep looking outside for survival under the notion that if we don’t rush, someone will crush us. It isn’t surprising that a humble, satisfied person is being looked down in today’s world. The world admires the aggressive, competitive, ambitious like the Job’s and Musk’s, but with all due respect to the immense contribution of these men and women to the world, it needs to be understood that all cannot become Gates and the Buffett, the world is unique with diverse people, with their different interests and talents. The world needs Gandhi’s and Mandela’s too, it needs Lennon’s and Dylan’s, it needs Hawking and Feynman’s too. So, just following the crowd isn’t going to solve the problem.
Since the fall of Soviet Union and its alleged socialistic ideology during 1989–1991, the world has been led by the tenets of capitalism for the past 3 decades. Never has been the pursuit to become wealthy has been revered as seen today. Even innovation which is one of the finest aspects the free world of capitalism promotes has been drifted to the sole purpose to make companies and its investors rich. In spite of the aberration seen during 2008 financial crisis, the approach to capitalism has not changed. Maybe, such chaotic times make us thoughtful to think and debate of how the world is functioning, is it sustainable? Is this model going to solve problems such as global warming, vast poverty and unemployment seen in the third world countries, and of course such repetitive occurrence of pandemics?
Finally, this is a vast topic which needs to be debated and expressed on our social media, instead of the Facebook memes and TikTok videos being widely circulated all over the world. The pandemic has brought in a lot of troubles to the society, but also this leads to introspect our way of thinking and living.
The silver lining is that this pandemic has united the world separated not just by geographic boundaries, but also by man-made differences of race, color, gender, caste and religion. This has proved that the virus does not distinct between any of these fictitious differences. The virus also does not differentiate between rich and the poor, the weak and the powerful.
Even the most powerful nation on this planet can be affected is a testament to the nature’s power and strength. This also makes humans enfeebled in front of nature’s force however powerful weapons we have developed. Thus, this could be a message for us to unite, drop all the barriers, live and let live peacefully.