Combatting the Lockdown
Covid-19 pandemic was an unpredictable blow to the world that created a huge havoc. It posed great danger to lives, and led to an economic crisis as well. In order to combat this, governments throughout the world had to take necessary steps to contain the virus, to prevent it from spreading further. As a result, a global lockdown was announced.
Now the question is whether the lockdown was a bane or a boon?
The lockdown at the macro level was quite effective in containing the virus; as a result our country has observed a flattening of the curve of the covid-19 cases over a period of time. It has helped the frontline heroes to manage the infected patients, and also the government to decide the next plan of action.
Our nation was shaken completely by the sudden discontinuation of transactions leading to an economic crisis. Most businesses bore huge losses and many had to shut down; especially the hospitality sector. The tourism industry faced a standstill too. Amongst the most adversely affected people were the daily wage earners and the middle class people who lost their jobs. The businesses couldn’t generate sufficient revenues to pay off the salaries, which posed great difficulty for people to manage their personal expenses. As a result, many people lost their livelihood and could barely survive. On the other hand, the lockdown was a blessing in disguise for businesses dealing in healthcare, essential commodities, electronics and telecommunications. These industries experienced an all time high with a boom in their sales and their market prices.
Even though a majority of business, offices, schools and colleges were physically closed, operations gradually resumed after a few months. Thanks to the digital era, ‘Work from home’, ‘online transactions’, ‘online classes ‘and ‘OTT shows’ took over, through platforms like Zoom, Paytm, PayPal, Netflix, Google Meet etc. As a result these businesses gained prominence and are now a way of life. The online transactions resulted in an increase in the number of bank accounts and we moved one step closer to the goal of a cashless economy.
Creativity was at its zenith. To kill the monotony, people took up activities and hobbies, which otherwise they wouldn’t have pursued. Some became home chefs, started a YouTube channel, shared their artworks with the world, created music, engaged in online courses to improve a skill, took up internships, practiced the keyboard and mastered it, developed a reading habit, started social influencing and educating people about the benefits of yoga, exercising and healthcare. The lockdown motivated people to take up entrepreneurship and as a result we witnessed so many new and creative business ventures, especially started by women from their homes.
The lockdown definitely proved to be a blessing for the environment. Nature was healing, animals and birds moved freely, the air became cleaner. The levels of pollution were substantially lower since the use of vehicles had decreased and nature witnessed peaceful climatic conditions. It was as if the tables had turned, it was our time to be caged and pay for our sins. The elders of the family got a chance to spend meaningful time with their kids, probably watching the iconic Ramayana and Mahabharata and reliving their golden days. We went back in time, to implement our homemade medicinal ways like turmeric milk and ‘kadha’ to boost our immunity, and influence the western world for a change.
Unfortunately, people also witnessed ill effects of the lockdown on their mental health, due to stress and anxiety regarding health, jobs, career, livelihood and the mundane routine. The cases of domestic violence rose. Receiving hapless news of the number of people losing their lives everyday took a toll mentally and emotionally. Students and teachers were also stressed concerning their adaptation to the online modes of learning and the uncertainty of exams. People were often working overtime at their jobs to cover up for the lost time that led to hypertension and mental disorders. Women, especially homemakers had the most stressful job managing the house and constantly providing for the other members of the family.
Though people detested the idea of staying indoors for a long time, they all found a way to survive. The lockdown might be a boon for some and a bane for many, but above all it has taught us tolerance, resilience and made us realize the dynamic nature of the world and things around us. It has taught us that it’s okay not to be productive and to take time off your jobs and businesses to relish the other pleasures of life, be grateful for what we already have, because nothing is permanent, change is the only constant. The person who can maintain a calm temperament at such times can survive. The lockdown was more about survival, keeping your mental health sound and practising humanity than anything else. And the most important lesson of all- Your greatest wealth is your health.