Issues and Challenges

Be Responsible During Smart Lockdown

Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Who would have thought the idiom would fit like a glove someday. A century ago, in 1918, the world was hit by a deadly pandemic, the Spanish Flu, which infected one-third of the world’s population, with around 50 million fatalities. The second wave being more lethal caused maximum casualties owing to the irresponsible and incautious behaviour of people towards the disease because they were under this fallacy/speculation that the worst was over. History repeats itself unless we learn from it. Fast forward to the 2020 pandemic  COVID-19. Our fate must not face the same century-old blow owing to our misinterpretations regarding the intensity of this pandemic and subsequent inadequacies on part of our role as a society. With the government easing lockdown in order to facilitate the living conditions of daily wagers, we all must know our responsibilities and act with caution, diligence and reason. Why? The answer is: the government’s decision of easing lockdown and resuming businesses is based on our status as a developing country where life and livelihood cannot be jeopardised by bringing it to a halt in case of a complete lockdown. Considering the contagiousness of the virus, despite its limited fatality rate, the government has no option but to allow the people to carry on the day to day jobs with as much safety precautions as possible.

The government has to cater for the needs and requirements of all classes of the society. It will be insensitive to overlook the comfort of one segment of the society for another. In these critical times, it is expected of the privileged and sustaining segment to act rationally and responsibly not only to help themselves but to assist the government in containing the spread of disease. If we all follow the standard operating procedures of maintaining distance, staying indoors as much as we can afford and limit all extra and unnecessary outdoor activities, we can contribute bit by bit in making it safe for the daily wagers to earn their livelihood with minimum risk, as well as the frontline workers of medical staff and law enforcers who, in these difficult times, are performing their duties in keeping us safe and treating the infected while being out there face-to-face with the invisible enemy in this scorching hot weather.

Stay Indoors
Despite the ease in lockdown, we should stay indoors as much as possible and step out of house for absolute necessities only. It is pertinent to realise that an asymptomatic carrier of the virus may unknowingly transfer virus to someone vulnerable and thus risk their life. So, it is best to pend all meet-ups, and cut down on all unnecessary outings, shopping, and recreational activities for some time. The point is, if health stays, luxuries will follow too.

Don’t Hoard Rations
The onset of the pandemic brought about some heart-breaking sights where people emptied shelves as if they would not surface from the pandemic for years. Now with the ease in lockdown, we must exhibit sensibility, empathy and generosity. It is understandable to buy monthly or even two months’ rations in order to save oneself the frequent store visits but stocking up the pantry for half a year would be unfair to our fellow brothers and sisters. Being human, we must act with consideration and compassion. In a community, try to be helpful by checking with the neighbours while going for shopping to minimize exposure to  the virus.

Don’t Panic
This pandemic is nature’s decree. No amount of worry or haste will end its course. However, a calculated approach of limiting interactions, cautious lifestyle and maintaining safe distance is our only way out. Hailing from an agrarian country, one can at least hope to refrain from food insecurity as we have been promised an uninterrupted supply of basic food commodities by the government. We must put our trust and cooperation in the government and play our own individual part in maintaining a steady balance of distribution. Moreover, investing in charitable ventures via well-directed and organised channels can help reduce suffering and hardship of many deserving people.

Adhere to Government SOPs
As responsible citizens, we are duty-bound to adhere to the SOPs that our government has issued regarding ease in lockdown. Despite workplaces being opened, it is our civic duty to be vigilant and practice safe distance in all sorts of dealings. We must avoid the hassle and not create crowds by being part of a crowd. Covering our faces with masks, practising cough and sneezing etiquette, keeping 6 feet distance, avoiding public gatherings, refraining from unnecessary and avoidable visits to hospitals and medical facilities — this is not only for ourselves but our frontline workers as well. We must be sensitive and understanding about the role and duties of our medical staff who are risking not only theirs but their families’ lives as well in the fight against COVID-19.

Eat Healthy
While dine-ins are still closed and some cateries are offering take away, there is no denying that eating healthy, homemade food has turned out to be everyone’s cup of tea. There have been viral cooking trends on social media with hashtags #cooksinquarantine and #quarantinedchefsathome where everyone is encouraged to cooking and eating healthy homemade food. This has probably been the only widely acknowledged bonus of the lockdown so far as after many years people are reacquainted with nostalgic fragrance of fresh home cooked food as a perk of cooking at home. So, we should resort to healthy eating and stick to it in the long term as well.

Play Your Role
Socializing is an unavoidable component of human life. As hard as it is to sever human contact, it would be horrifying to helplessly witness the consequences if things take a turn for the worst. The basic units of the household play an important role in these times by maintaining a peaceful and congenial environment at home. Avoid shopping sprees, spend more time interacting with family members, take care of the elderly who are at most risk, and urge all other members to stay inside for the sake of the elderly and vulnerable. Carrying out household chores together, being there for one another, offering help and assistance on emotional and physical grounds, will pave way for a healthy home environment. Mothers with young children can specifically play a promising role by demonstrating and role-modelling about staying grounded in challenging times and devising modes about healthy observations, initiating thinking processes as well as self-analysis. From initiating healthy communications to addressing day-to-day tasks of mending and fixing jobs, the ease in lockdown periods will offer some notes on having a well-organised routine and lifestyle.

Keeping a Disciplined Routine
The quarantine has taught us that we have been running after a lot of unnecessary things in our lives, which consume our valuable time and energy. We must cut loose those unnecessary drags in our lives and utilize this time and energy on things that matter like family, health and personal growth. It is important to strike a balance between work and leisure.
One of the most important aspects of disciplining ourselves is healthy eating and a balanced diet. Junk food can totally be avoided and the money saved can be utilised in having organic homemade treats instead. We can develop a habit of doing indoor exercise to stay fit. Instead of spending hours on social media, time can be invested on reading, writing, painting, gardening, crafting, yoga or taking some online courses for self-development.

Be Each Other’s Strength and Stay Positive!
One of the most important things living in quarantine has taught us is that all those things we think we can’t live without are not so necessary after all. This quarantine has been a teaser and a glimpse of what a normal post-retirement life would look like except for the socialising part. The only difference is that a few decades down the lane, most of us might not have the same level of energy, motivation and drive left to pursue and go about all those things, which most of us are pending for now due to a busy work schedule, little time and never-ending hassles of life. So, now absolutely checkmark the lists we never found time for earlier and start making an effort to invest in real things by spending time talking to parents, watching old photos while going down memory lane, cuddling with kids, telling them stories, reconnecting with old friends, and making a difference in someone’s life by playing our respective roles responsibly. No one knows if they will live to see another day so NOW is the time for everything and TODAY is all we have. HH

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