Skip to main content

Why pandemic is an opportunity to rethink one’s life priorities


By Atanu Roy*
The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging our planet since 2019, almost for twenty months.
It has triggered a social crisis that has evoked traumatic feelings as fear, anxiety, and a lack of existential security is threatening us, every day, every hour.
In our lives, we have never witnessed this sort of crisis of humanity. The distress stories of death and human misery are reaching us every day thru print, news and social medias.
When the news hits you, on of the deaths of your friends and relatives, its not just a discreet news, it’s much more than that, it’s like a disaster, causing utmost pain and agony, it’s a tale of human tragedy of worst kind, ever faced.
The second wave of the pandemic, originating in India, has proved to be devastating, with countless families losing their loved ones to the Delta variant. Months of April and May, we witnessed the peak of the onslaught. It shattered big cities and made inroads to the rural areas.
We Indians are in safe hand in Singapore, but, the daily dose of tragic news from India, is impacting our daily lives and mental conditions, we are shocked with the bad news pouring in without a break. Either its about a near relative, or a friend or a friend’s friend. They were fine yesterday, next day, suddenly their oxygen level dropping, near ones ‘struggling’ to get a hospital bed or simply an oxygen cylinder, and most cannot make it, and they just perish without medical help.
We cannot do anything from Singapore beside a bit of monetary help, or making some frantic calls here and there. Cannot reach India, there is no commercial flight, being helpless just wait for the ‘worst’ news and count the numbers.
We live so near to India, just 3-4 hours flight, but we live so far now.
Death is the only truth – watching India’s funeral pyres burn. Funeral pyres have blazed in city carparks and scores of bodies have washed up on the banks of the Ganges River, apparently immersed by relatives whose villages were stripped bare of the wood needed for cremations.
India’s middle class had already been severely weakened by the recession that followed last year’s lockdown.
The Pew Research Centre has found that 32 million people fell out of India’s middle class – defined as those earning between US$10 (S$13) and US$20 a day – last year.
Now, let’s look at the other side of this tragic story.
Human civilization has faced may catastrophes, wars, famines, natural calamities, but finally nothing could wash out civilization. In last thousand of years, we have won, have survived, and re-initiated our lives, trek a new journey, in a new road, in a new way.
As Stephen King told “Get busy living or get busy dying”.
Most of us opt for the first, we are busy in living, and do not want to get into the ‘Valley of death’
Let’s fight back with a resurgence spirit, lets look at the positive aspects.

How individuals survive the calamities and disasters

They look for the positive aspects of stark events and processes, expecting that the changes we are experiencing will have positive outcomes. Thinking optimistically on what is about to happen, seem to be universal human tendencies, it fulfills an adaptive role, this is how we survive every time, all the time.
This is the dialectics, we face more disasters, we are more positive, that is he survival skill.
It is worth noting that within the culture of individualism, pessimism is a sort of stigma, and being optimistic is a commitment, and is considered as a virtue.
Kuper-Smith’s study (2020) got feedback from participants, on how they look at covid-19 impacting their lives. The participants rated the chance of getting infected with COVID-19 lower for themselves than for other people similar to them regarding socio-demographic characteristics.
This is the positivism that emerged from the study result.
Having a positive outlook enhances an individual’s resilience during crises, especially if it refers to family well-being . The inclination to look for the positive aspects of crises has so far been primarily studied by psychologists and treated as an element of individual strategies for coping with various emergencies, the only way to survive and overcome calamities.
Below are some positive aspects, how people have started looking at covid-19:
1. The pandemic as an opportunity to rethink one’s life priorities. People appreciate the freedom, a new perspective on work, career, social relations, and lifestyle.
2. Slowing down the pace of life, less rush; more free time; possibility to engage in self-fulfilling activities. Many have discovered their hidden talents in story writing, music, indoor games.
3. Promising habits have come into place- optimization of paid work, less waste of food, thoughtful shopping, a new division of household chores; new rules of collective hygiene.
4. Strengthening social capital. Greater kindness and empathy, gestures of solidarity, becoming aware of mutual dependence. We have witnessed unparallel NGO and individual initiatives for helping the covid patients with oxygen, medicines and other essential supports. We are starting to mobilize ourselves as a society to help others, the weaker ones. Social solidarity is increasing.
5. A chance for systemic change. Emphasizing the weakness of the contemporary state and government institutions, global institutions, capitalist system, drawing attention to previously underrated professions and dimensions of local communities; better imagination of alternative paths of development.
6. Environmental benefits. Restoring biodiversity; improving water and air quality; less noise pollution; slowing down resource consumption.
7. We imagine, that the world will start almost from zero again. The world will slow down and we will use this time to think together what future we want to build.
We will have time to think everything from a different perspective. How the discoveries from ancient time like fire and wheel, are as precious as computer, internet and emerging technologies of today. New thinking will usher in a new world.

Impact on family dynamics

Initial findings from a study carried out by Leeds Trinity University suggest that the lockdown can have positive impacts on family dynamics and well being.
The researchers found encouraging findings which suggest that lockdown has been beneficial for some families with positive changes reported.
Dr Carmen Clayton, Principal Investigator and Reader in Family and Cultural Dynamics at Leeds Trinity University, said: “We have found that some families are doing well and many are having positive experiences, particularly in terms of strengthening family bonds”
Findings have revealed that for many parents, the chance to spend more time at home with their children, the ability to work from home, less commuting and a sense of a slower pace of life in general, has led to a reassessment of work and career priorities.
Parents have a renewed shift of focus towards the family and personal relationships, with many reporting the desire to reach a better balance between work and family life post lockdown, with some parents actively looking for new employment or more flexible working patterns.
Children benefited from one-on-one learning at home, leading to progression in reading, writing and language skills. At the same time, many parents prioritised their child’s wellbeing above educational attainment during this time, leading to reports of positive child wellbeing and outcomes.
Many are working from home, staying with their parents and siblings again. The erstwhile joint family, along with their day to day ‘ups and downs” is now a reality.

Clear sky, clear roads, less road accidents

With covid-19 shutting down economic activity in most parts of the world and people staying closer to home, street crimes like assault and robbery are down significantly, though domestic violence has increased a bit.
Traffic has plummeted as well. As a result, NASA satellites have documented significant reductions in air pollution—20- 30% in many cases—in major cities around the world.
Based on those declines, Marshall Burke, an environmental economist at Stanford University, predicted in a blog post that two months’ worth of improved air quality in China alone might save the lives of 4000 children under the age of 5 and 73 000 adults over the age of 70
“A pandemic is a terrible way to improve environmental health,” he emphasised. It may, however, provide an unexpected vantage to help understand how environmental health can be altered. It may help bring into focus the effect of business as usual on health outcomes that we care about,”
A report co-authored by Fraser Shilling, director of the Road Ecology Center at the University of California at Davis, found that highway accidents—including those involving an injury or fatality—fell by half.
We must win over Covid, we have to win, we follow the rules, help others to recover and survive. Let’s win this, and mankind will see covid free bright universe.
We will overcome, that’s the humble pledge at this moment.

*Based in Singapore

Comments

TRENDING

Vishwanath has been unfairly excluded from global list of 100 best cricketers

By Harsh Thakor  Gundappa Vishwanath scaled zones in batting artistry or wizardry unparalleled amongst Indian batsmen. The best of his batting was a manifestation of the divine. He was also the epitome of cricketing sportsmanship. Sadly 40 years ago he unceremoniously bid farewell to the International cricket world, after the concluding test at Karachi in 1982-83., in January end. Very hard to visualise a character like Vishwanath being reborn today His memories are embedded in cricket lovers today when sportsmanship and grace have virtually been relegated to oblivion with the game of cricket turned into a commercial commodity. Today agro and unsporting behaviour is a routine feature Vishy shimmered cricket’s spirituality. His behaviour on the cricket field was grace personified, No one in his age defined cricket more as a gentleman’s game, than Vishy. Vishwanath could execute strokes that were surreal with his steel wrists. His strokeplay resembled the touches of a painter’s brush,

Abrogation of Art 370: Increasing alienation, relentless repression, simmering conflict

One year after the abrogation by the Central Government of Art. 370 in Kashmir, what is the situation in the Valley. Have the promises of peace, normalcy and development been realised? What is the current status in the Valley? Here is a detailed note by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties , “Jammu & Kashmir: One Year after Abrogation of Art. 370: Increasing Alienation, Relentless Repression, Simmering Conflict”:

Reproductive, conjugal rights of women in India amidst debate of uniform civil code

By IMPRI Team  A Three-Day Immersive Online Legal Awareness and Certificate Training Course on “Reproductive and Conjugal Rights of Women in India” is an initiative of the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, and ran for three consecutive days starting from December 22, 2022 to December 24, 2022. The online paid certification was aimed to provide attendees with an enriching experience on the gender discourse with a special focus on women’s rights and the much-discussed reproductive rights in India.

Covid jabs: Pretexts cited to justify young, healthy succumbing to heart attacks

By Jay Ihsan   Truth is stranger than fiction – when dedicated doctors raised the red flag against the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, they were persecuted and their concerns barred from being heard. These honest doctors unequivocally made it known the Moderna Pfizer vaccines injure the heart and human body. One of them, Dr Peter McCullough, an American cardiologist, has repeatedly issued the clarion call to people to reject these harmful vaccines. An equally alarmed World Council for Health said the harmful Covid-19 vaccines should be removed from the market and the global inoculation must be stopped. “In Japan the vaccines were not mandated or made compulsory. The vaccines are not safe or effective enough to mandate them. The day the vaccines go away will be a day of celebration,” Dr Mccullough had lamented during an interview with India’s media outfit, Qvive several months ago. Meanwhile, the number of people jabbed with the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines died soon after or have developed lifelong

Gender gap 17%, SC and ST levels of education between 7% to 14% below upper classes

By IMPRI Team  The treatment of school education in a holistic manner and improving school effectiveness in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and learning outcomes has been the aspiration of all and multiple challenges are faced to maintain and provide proper education. On the occasion of India@75: Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, as part of its series- the State of Education- #EducationDialogue, #IMPRI Center for ICT for Development (CICTD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organised a special deliberation on The State of School Education In India with Prof Muchkund Dubey, who is the President of the Council for Social Development, New Delhi. The moderator for the event, Dr Simi Mehta CEO and Editorial Director of the IMPRI. The chair of the event was Prof Jandhyala B.G. Tilak, an Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) National Fellow, the Distinguished Professor at the Council for Social Development, New Delhi and also a Former Professor & Vice-Ch

Rahul Dravid exhibited selflessness in heights unscaled by any other Indian batsman

By Harsh Thakor*  On January 11th maestro Rahul Dravid turned 50. No Indian batsmen were ever more of an embodiment of temperament or grit.as Rahul Dravid. Dravid was the best ambassador of sportsmanship in cricket in his day and age. In his time no Asian batsmen did what the doctor ordered, to the extent of Dravid. Dravid was manifestation of single-mindedess, tenacity and selflessness in sport. One hardly has an adjective to the ice coolness and craft Dravid exhibited in adjusting to the given situation. Rarely did any batsmen exhibit such a clinical o methodical approach to batting.

NHRC blindly followed BSF status report on fencing farmland off Indo-Bangladesh border

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) writes an open letter of protest against the action taken status report on restriction imposed by the BSF personnel upon the villagers of Changmari near Indo-Bangladesh border: *** I have the honour to inform you that we received one action taken status report dated 11.01.2023 from your Commission in respect of the above referred case from where it is revealed that your authority closed the case based on the report of the concerned authorities. In this connection I again raise my voice as the enquiry in respect of the above referred case was not properly conducted. Hence I submit this open letter of protest for the ends of justice. From the action taken status report of the Commission dated 11.01.2023 it is reported that concerned authority submitted a report dated 18.01.2022 where it is reported that the concerned area comes under the OPS responsibility of BOP Chengmari, 62 Bn BSF and is highly susceptible to trans-bo

Data analytics: How scientific enquiry process impacts quality of policy research

By IMPRI Team  Given the multidimensionality of policy and impact research, tech-driven policy prescriptions are playing a dominant role in the 21st century. As such, data analytics have become integral in this space. IMPRI Generation Alpha Data Centre (GenAlphaDC) , IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute New Delhi has successfully conducted a #WebPolicyTalk 6-Week Immersive Online Hands-on Certificate Training Course on Data Analytics for Policy Research, spanning over 6-consecutive Saturdays from October 15th to November 19th, 2022. Along with this, datasets for hands-on learning were also provided for data analysis and learning. Participants were required to make a submission for evaluation at the end of the course, to obtain the certificate. This course comprised hands-on data learning sessions and various expert sessions on data discourses. The course especially catered to data and policy enthusiasts – including students, professionals, researchers, and other individuals lo

Brutal assault on Delhi Univ students as fear grips present rulers on rise of dissent

By Arhaan Baaghi  Various democratic student organizations (bsCEM, fraternity, DSU, SIO, AIRSO) had planned a screening of the BBC documentary "India: The Modi Question" in the Delhi University Arts Faculty, but the guards of the university and the Delhi police along with paramilitary forcefully detained the students just because we were trying to watch a documentary that scrutinizes the role of Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots. At first when the students started screening the documentary, the electricity of the department building was cut down. Students were brutally beaten by the police and university guards. Female students were also brutally manhandled and beaten. This whole incident shows the Brahmanical Hindutva fascist nature of the government and the university authority that is working as its puppet. An activist of bsCEM was manhandled by a male security guard, who tried to pull out his T shirt. Also various female activist were dragged by male security guards and their h

Great march of migrants during lockdown: Lessons not learned, missed opportunities

By IMPRI Team  A panel discussion on “The Great March of Migrants During The National Lockdown: Lessons Not Learned and Missed Opportunities” was organized by the #IMPRI Center for Human Centre for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi on the occasion of International Migrants Day, i.e December 18, 2022. Inaugurating the session, Ms Aanchal Kumari, a researcher at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panellists. The event was moderated by Dr Devender Singh, a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists included Prof. R.B Bhagat, Professor and Head, Department of Migration and Urban Studies, International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai; Prof Arun Kumar, Distinguished Economist, a Former Professor Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Malcolm S. Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi; Ms Akriti Bhatia, Founder of People