History is being made.
A deadly virus sweeps through the entire world, killing millions of people. Factories, towns, offices, shops, malls- everything closes down and people are homebound- with their foreheads becoming hotter and hotter with cabin fever. Everything- from work to education to recreation shifts to the screen. Animals and birds rule over the deserted streets and roads as humans try to reconcile themselves to these strange, unfamiliar, perturbingly new times.
Now tell me, did you ever, even in your wildest and scariest nightmares, imagine that such a thing would happen?
I don’t think so.
This situation is one that none of us have ever experienced before. It’s new. It’s strange. It’s unfamiliar. And perhaps that’s why it is disconcerting,
As the numbers rise, as the death toll mounts, we feel as if an iron fist is clenching our heart- tighter, tighter, tighter, leaving us gasping and sputtering for breath.
But who can blame us?
What with the negativity, misery and dark tidings that are seeming to threateningly close in on us, swallow us, suck us into a black hole of anxiety, it’s hard not to feel worried and scared. It’s human.
But does that mean we give in to the Monster of Anxiety that is making itself at home in our brain? Do we let our knees buckle, our breath catch, and let ourselves bow down to endless stress and negativity?
We’ve got to keep our head held high, our jaws set, our shoulders squared and we have got to join hands (only metaphorically, please :) to defeat this lethal virus. ‘Now,’ you’re probably saying, with your eyebrows furrowed skeptically, ‘now, dear, do you mind telling us how exactly are we supposed to do all that you’re ranting and raving about?’
Sure. Challenge accepted.
If you look at all the events of the past that have shaken people’s lives, causing them to sink deeper, deeper, deeper into the turbulent ocean of consternation, you will find that there was only one thing that got people through those times- hope. Hope for a better future, hope for these dark times to fade away and be replaced by warm, golden brightness. Hope is the most precious and the most fragile thing in the world. Just one golden beam of hope can illuminate your parched mental landscape, breathing life and color into it. So here’s what I am going to give you now- hope.
Let’s forget abstract, mushy emotions for a bit (although they are just as- or even more- important), and deal with concrete, solid facts and methods.
Fact number 1- We are all in this together. Every single village, town, city, state, country and continent- except lucky Antarctica, of course. And whatever happens, we are all going to deal with it together- as one single, inseparable family. We are social distancing, washing our hands, using masks- just so that humanity, together, as a close-knit group, wins the war against this virus.
Fact number 2- Just because we are social distancing does not mean that we are not together. I like to imagine humanity’s current situation as the flowers on a tree in my garden. The flowers grow in bunches- and, on closer inspection, one notices that though each flower is separate, all of them are together- as one single, inseparable bunch. Similarly, though all of us are social distancing and are separate right now, all of us are together- we’re bound by our common enemy, our common burning desire to crush that enemy, to avenge all the soldiers whose life it has taken. We are bound by the name- ‘Human.’ Yes. All of us, all humans- we have to act as support systems for one another in this time of crisis, guide each other out of this swirling mist of unfamiliarity. Let us all be together, even though we’re apart (because we are lucky enough to have apps like FaceTime at our disposal ;). Let us bring smiles to each other’s faces- because bringing a smile to someone else’s face will surely bring a smile to our own. The whole world will be smiling then. And poof, the Corona virus will vanish into thin air- because that’s what can finish the virus- joy, positivity, and hope. So, if you are reading this, let your tears scatter the sunbeams of happiness- so that a beautiful, upside-down smile-rainbow is formed on your lips. And make sure that the people around you smile, too. Let’s all defeat this disease.
Fact number 3- Another concrete way by which we can get rid of the potion of negativity which is darkly bubbling away in our mind-cauldrons right now, is by smothering the fire of negative news and rumors that is causing the potion to boil. By filtering the information our sponge up here (P.S. I’m tapping my temple) soaks up, we can conquer anxiety. (Now, don’t get me wrong- it is important to stay up to speed with relevant news and facts and figures, but make sure to obtain information from reliable sources and not to over-burden your brain with bad news, that’s all.)
Fact number 4- Next method of crushing the virus- stay busy. We live in the era of technology. What with so many gadgets, facilities, the internet- which is the whole universe in itself- in our hands, it’s a piece of cake for us to stay busy. Just boot up your laptop, strip down your grey, boring old clothes of gloominess and sorrow, and take a rejuvenating dip in the fresh, gurgling stream of knowledge, creativity and “busy-ness.” There are oodles of webinars and courses and new skills that you can learn. Come on, inject some life into those tired, weary and stiff brain muscles! Just a few drops of creativity and they’ll be as good as new. And you’ll be as sharp as an vaccination needle (oh, honestly, that’s all I can think about now.)
The internet is a wonderful thing, provided that you use it wisely. Yearning for a walk in the nearby park? Well, I can give you something better than that- how about a stroll through the quaint streets of Edinburgh? Or an excursion to the pyramids of Egypt? It’s as easy as pie (I seem to be getting hungry:)- just crack open a laptop, and launch Google Earth for a walk through any place you desire. Moreover, many countries’ tourist ministries are offering virtual tours of their monuments and tourist places. There are virtual trips through various national parks, too.
Or maybe you are craving to go to Hogwarts. Or Mars. Well, getting there is even simpler- just crack open a book! The rustling pages will lure you out of these strange times to a familiar yet fascinating world. (Out of physical books? Don’t worry- there are plenty of e-book apps to keep you immersed, Amazon Kindle and Juggernaut to name a few.)
Human beings were born to learn. To decode the secrets of this world. And now is the perfect time to do it.
Fact number 5- Relax. Watch a movie. Read. Paint. Bake some cookies. Write that novel you were dying to write but just didn’t have the time. Think of all the things you thirsted to do but couldn’t squeeze out time. Well, you have loads of time now. So make a list and get cracking. Don’t be overwhelmed with the crazy urge to be productive all the time, though. You have the right to relax. Slow down. Unwind.
Lie on the grass, soaking in the warm golden sun. Recall what it feels like to be truly, fully alive, and not wrapped in a frenzy of work and homework to do and errands to run. Breathe in the calm. Let it fill your body, creep into every inch of it. Let go of all your worries in a long, drawn-out sigh. There. You feel better now, don’t you? Look at the sun smiling, the wind laughing, the birds chattering.
And remember, if nature can find ways to be happy in a time like this, so can you.