By Suvir SaranNew Delhi [India], May 21 (ANI): Ricocheting between hope and fear, love and hate, wins and losses, wanting to nurture and also separate, in these dichotomies we find ourselves dealing with the pandemic panic. The struggle is everywhere, it is ours to embrace and deal with, it is of our making, it will require our collective mindfulness if we want honest closure.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining. This is no different. We are seeing it in the beauty we now find in what we once thought routine. We see it in the other that until today we never wanted to be near. We crave it from the foods we never thought worthy enough to eat for even ordinary occasions. We long for it in those acts we thought most banal. Such is the light that we are finding in this dark hour, beaming out of the cracks of our solitary fears.
The unthinkable is happening. Metropolises like NYC, New Delhi, London, Tokyo, Paris, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Hong Kong, and beyond, are becoming ghost towns like those depressed shanty towns we gawked at, we ridiculed, we drove by with disdain. Our favourite towns, their way of life and living, their hustle and bustle, their oomph and aplomb, dissipating away deeper than the dark shadows cast by the tall and imposing buildings that stand aloft beyond the sky.
The mania, a mafia of likeminded men who thought themselves immortal and indestructible, now nowhere to be found. Hankering for rural outposts from which to remotely pursue their jobs as they go deep inside, whilst in the grip of fear and doom, wanting to find new vocations, new standards, a new lease on life, if they still have a life to live after this is all over.
The invincibles amongst us who used their power to create, maintain and change neighbourhoods, who lived their dreams and turned that feat of luck, perseverance and good judgement into an industry, now rendered as meek as the most unfortunate amongst us. The impregnables of yesterday, now having to live with the same fears, the same struggles, the same questions about life and mortality, the same worry about access to healthcare as the have-nots they totally barricaded from their world once they arrived in the hallowed grounds of living in the lap of 24/7/365 luxury and decadence.
Arrogance and amnesia, ignorance and egotism might have gotten us here in addition to the natural forces that bring forth viruses in cyclical ways. The clues are everywhere for us to see. But are we willing to acknowledge them? They are spewed out of the mouths of leaders on both sides of the Atlantic as many make up lies, others share half-truths, and the worst of them indulge in shameful displays of demagoguery and incompetence that the world ought never witness after the horrors of World War II.
On the other end of Corona, many of us will not be here to share our stories. Many of us will perish without having realized our dreams and before we reach our potential or achieve societal recognition. Those of us who do make it to the other side of Corona, can we please learn from this here and now? Can we strive to make the world more inclusive, just and fair for one and all? Might it be possible to respect success but find even greater meaning in empathy, generosity and humility? Could we bring greater twenty-first-century access to those small towns and rural outposts where we long to be now, so that when we are faced with the next crisis we know that our fellow human who is living in those outposts is not being denied basic amenities that give man dignity and pride?Greed, conceit, hate and misogyny, oppression and cruelty, intolerance and corruption, selfishness and stupidity--these are the currencies we have employed in the last several decades. We have elected mindless narcissistic leaders, creating a congress of fascist extremism. Armchair bigotry is thriving everywhere, and social media is used for spewing of mindless drivel. We are applauding the poisoning of minds and hearts, rewarding oppressors, feting vicious dictators, duplicitous in our meting out of punishment to suit our personal agendas, supporting industries that kill our planet. We deify barbaric behaviour as admirably masculine and we mock and punish acts of gentle kindness. We have become the living dead. Numb to feeling, dim to the core.
It is past spring now, there is rebirth and renewal all around our planet. There is budding growth. There are flowers shining in glory. There is that harmonious cacophony of sounds from chirping birds, that even in rambunctious numbers turn their noise into a heartwarming symphony. The breeze has a temperate comfort to it. The sun a glow that is not all too strong. The moon beams with a cooling light that speaks of hope and a future.
There will be some left who still notice these gifts of Mother Nature. We too are one of those very gifts. We are not born into this world; we are born of this world. The sooner we realize that we are part of a larger eco-system that will continue living with or without us, the sooner we shall heal and become one with ourselves, and one with the planet. Are we ready to see, feel, listen and act? The choice is ours.
Disclaimer: The author of this Opinion article is Suvir Saran, a New Delhi-based chef and owner of 'The House of Celeste' in Gurgaon. (ANI)