Sayyeda Hoora Anis
Did Thanos just click his fingers with the intention of wiping off half the population from the Earth? Or the prediction of the world coming to an end in 2012 is finally coming true,delayed by 8 years?
Whatever be the reason,this year is definitely not what everyone expected it to be. The series of natural and man-influenced catastrophes that are taking place in 2020 has put everyone,from all walks of life ,in a fix. A string of ifs and buts and all sorts of blame games being played by the leaders of various countries have made us question our trusts and beliefs on the subjects. With the majority of countries beings ruled by cynics,we should have seen this coming long before.
Let us first talk about the elephant in the room, COVID-19. The infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a tiny, little virus that affects mainly the lungs of human beings. Though this disease was first noticed in 2019 in the Wuhan, China but the rest of the world at that time was living in their own fancy world. While the USA as well as other countries were confident that the virus will not come this far, countries like Italy boasted about their medical facilities. Very soon that teeny weeny virus caught everyone off guard in 2020 and resulted in lakhs of death across the globe. Every morning the news channels greet us with ghastly images of dead bodies strewn across the streets. The fact that the scientists and doctors are debating over how many deaths can be expected in certain countries numbs my mind. Hell, we are talking about actual human lives being lost! Lost to carelessness, arrogance and stupidity of someone sitting on the highest level of hierarchy in those countries. The official figures of death continue to startle us every day, God alone knows what the unofficial figures would look like. The countries started isolating themselves and severe forms of lockdowns were ushered.
In India itself, the lockdown proved to be a double-edged sword. With just 4 hours between the announcement and lockdown, a lot of migrants workers, pilgrims, and patients were left stuck, far away from their homes. So many things changed overnight– the highways were flooded with the workers who wished to return to their abodes, the uncertainties of the job holders, the plights of daily wage earners, the economic slowdown which is still a raging monster and the mental health of people which is getting compromised every day. The ambiguity surrounding all these things still persists while a blurred image of the happier times haunts us day and night.
And I’m not even going to talk about how Corona got a religion in India or how we carried out the light and dance task that was given to us or how much money we collected in that piggy bank fund to fight Corona. But it’s high time we realize that these usual pomp and show and blame games are but just a way to divert the minds from falling economy and rising unemployment rates.
The Australian bushfires wiped out a clear majority of animals. The Australian forests boast of a huge variety of flora and fauna and to see all things going up in flames was gut-wrenching, to say the least. Animals scurrying for help, the charred remains of pandas and the smoke engulfed Australia broke our hearts and we all sympathized with Down Under.
The southern districts West Bengal was hit by the Cyclone Amphan which proved to be one of the most destructive cyclones in the history of the country. While precious human lives were lost and innumerable people were rendered homeless,the city of Kolkata was robbed of whatever green cover it had in the form of trees. The insensitivity of national media left us disappointed while the fact that the state and its people will need uncountable years to recover from the losses pains us even more.
The recent locust attacks in some parts of the country and the earthquakes in north India suggest that nature has a lot of pent up anger to unleash.
While the nature was casting it’s fury how can humans keep themselves at a bay!? Humans have forever considered themselves above every other being. But a video of a few minutes made the world go into a frenzy. George was a criminal in the lands of whites due to his skin color,a crime for which he paid the highest price — his life. George Floyd couldn’t breathe,but the Minneapolis police officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes kept his hand casually in his pocket. The victim gasping and murmuring about not being able to breathe,and the policeman adamant to make him stop breathing. George died and gave life to a series of protests across the country as well as in countries around the world against white supremacy. We, in India,took to social media platforms to oppose white dominance but what about the lynching of the low classes,the minority groups and the north-eastern folks? Yes, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere even when it’s in your backyard.
The gas leak of LG Polymers in Vizag was another tragedy of 2020. 11 people died so far and many others were taken ill due to styrene inhalation. We should brace ourselves for more such mishaps post-lockdown as the machines have been sitting idle for a long time.
The demise of some celebrities too broke our hearts. Basketball legend, Kobe Bryant’s death came to us as a shock. Rishi Kapoor, the star, died after reigning silver screen for a long while. Irrfan Khan, the actor, passed away and took away from us the right to marvel at his acting genius.
Just about 6 months into 2020 has made us realize that we humans stand no chance against nature. We can happily clap at our scientific achievements or take pride in our health departments, we can raise the walls at borders as high as we want, we can gladly deplete the natural resources according to our whims and fancies but when nature decides to strike back, we can just sit at homes, helplessly, praying and dodging death. The figures showing economy of the country drastically slowing down, the destruction of grains due to floods and locusts, the declining trade figures, the huge number of staffs of private companies across the world who are rendered jobless, the prices of certain essential commodities going up explains the fact that the repercussions of the lockdown will prove to be worse than the lockdown itself and it will take a humongous amount of time for the world to get back on track. Till then we should just be sanitizing our hands and hearts and minds and focus on the survival of the whole mankind. We can be a warrior, saving lives just by being at home.
We see a ray of hope in the healthcare workers and police personnel who are tirelessly giving their time and lives to keep us secure. Countries like New Zealand have set an example before us that with rigorous testing and isolation we can overcome something as dangerous as our microscopic enemy, Corona. With the pollution level going down drastically, here’s hoping that health and peace once again reign the world.
Stay home. Stay safe. Survive.