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No Emotional Distancing Amidst Physical Distancing

The second wave of the novel Coronavirus has made its presence felt now with a bang and struck us. Guess it would be unfair to call it a wave because waves rise and swell down quickly. A tsunami in the form of the second wave has hit us.

How did we reach here? An attitude of casualness had set in at the start of this year with “Ye Corona Chala Gaya”. The masses had lowered their guard. Everyone started to pat their backs in appreciation of declaring victory over the virus. It was also eminent on the Budget Day on 1st February where our Finance Minister lauded and almost declared early victory in her Budget speech.

But you know what, the cost of declaring early victory is very high. Ask this question to Bangladesh Wicket Keeper Mushfiqur Rahim, and nobody better than him can tell us how it feels to celebrate when you are so near yet so far. (For all non-cricket followers, in the T20 World Cup 2016 match of India vs Bangladesh, Rahim celebrated too early by fist-pumping the air. A monumental collapse led to Bangladesh losing that game by one run.)

This virus has a massive ego and is incredibly stubborn. It shall not embrace you until you yourself do not invite it. How do we invite it? With our carelessness(No masks/Lack of Physical Distancing etc.). It also exploits the trust of humans. Quoting Dr. Faheem Younus, one of the World’s top Covid experts, “COVID exploits trust. It comes to us through a trusted human. COVID will come to you through a handshake, hug, wedding, get-together, indoor workplace etc.”

A lousy indicator to check trust levels between humans. It loves when people celebrate victory over it far too early, and that is where it also decides to join the celebration. When an opportunity comes knocking at your door, cash in and makes the most of it. This is exactly what the virus has managed to do successfully.

In our country, there’s a famous proverb- ”Atithi Devo Bhava”, meaning a guest is like a God. However, this Atithi is not welcome. However, this one being very stubborn has begun to barge into doorsteps of people’s houses, saying “Hello” to all the family members, quietly sneaking in like a cat without making any noise whatsoever, conquering house after house, home after home, exploiting trust among family members, separating them away from each other and banishing away some of the family members out of their own homes into quarantine or isolation centers.

Since the start of the pandemic, one message has been going out loud and clear, cutting across all social media platforms, other means of communication by every famous personality who can influence their followers or fans' minds. That message has been “ Maintain Physical Distancing, Social Distancing”. However, they forgot to mention to NOT to maintain emotional distancing during these times.

As I write this blog, we have traveled a full circle. Life has come a full circle from where we began last April. Lockdowns make a grand comeback once again, albeit with solid branding this time and new different names like “ strict curbs”/ “strict Janta curfew”. Since this is a new year and the virus has evolved and mutated into different variants, so has the evolution of the word “Lockdown” happened. Business organizations often use value chain analysis to get differentiation advantages, resulting in improving their brand power. “Lockdown” has also seemed to learn from them and has come with new avatars for improving its “brand image”. This self-quarantine period or lockdown can affect the mental well-being of people. If, unfortunately, if someone has contracted the virus, the physical health’s diagnosis is well-taken care of by the doctors and nurses with proper medication. To stay in isolation for a minimum of two weeks has the potential to damage mental health. The isolation can lead to loneliness as nobody is accustomed to spending so many days alone in isolation without any movement. That’s why there should be no emotional distancing in these times.

This phase that we find ourselves currently in right now is a temporary phenomenon. History tells us that mankind has successfully come out victorious and survived through such challenging times in the past. To cite the most recent example of the previous century, both the World Wars lasted for 3–4 years each.

Even the Spanish Flu that struck 100 years ago became an endemic one day. The world never ended then. Nor it will end now. It is only during the phase of 3–4 years that the entire world suffered but managed to scrape through that challenging phase successfully. We currently find ourselves in the middle of that 3–4 year difficult period phase. The light at the end of the tunnel was always present then and it does now, too.

We just have to be a little patient, not think too far ahead, hang in there, not get affected by the future uncertainty, and feel anxious, and the ray of light will soon be visible. Remember at the end of every storm, a crystal clear sky with a bright shining Sun always emerges. Till then, we have to hang in around, let the storm pass and the Sun will shine brightly.

It is vital to keep checking on the mental health of those fighting CoVid and even those in self-quarantine because half of the battle is won if the patient is mentally strong. Such little things go a long way in that phase of isolation to keep the patient in a reasonable frame of mind. And only when he/she is in a good frame of mind, the pace of recovery improves drastically. This underrated aspect also has a massive role to play.

Change the way you look at it these times and the times will change. Imagine that we all are part of history being created in front of our eyes. Just like the World War Generations had theirs, 20–30 years down the lane, each one of us will have lots and lots of our stories to tell to generations below us about we made it through this time frame.

Remember that you are going to be the storyteller of which the script is being written now. This is a once-in-a-lifetime crisis and the world will only change for the better. An experience when written becomes a story. An experience if unwritten becomes a memory and some experiences are such that when shared, your memories transform into beautiful stories for others with many getting inspired from them.

Every object in the Universe has a Bell-Shaped Curve. Just as the good times start, they peak & diminish downwards. So do the tough times. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Cling on to hope for tough times to pass just as Rose in Titanic did with that wooden panel.

As Buddha said, “Let us rise and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” These are the times wherein the spark within us stays low, providing a perfect catalyst enough for sad thoughts to take over.

It is at these times where that dwindling spark is sometimes rekindled by someone else. Keep expressing gratitude to all those people who didn’t let that flame within you go off & helped you sail over in these challenging times.

Try to stay happy by living in the present moment, treasuring the moments, and creating memories on the way that will be stored in some pocket of our hearts forever. While maintaining physical distancing with masks on, do not forget not to maintain emotional distancing from your closed ones. Stay positive only in your mind while staying CoVid negative in the body.

By Adwait

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