Ritwiz Gaur, Ashi Gaur
A fear ridden society….
An apprehension of an unknown….
A lockdown mankind…..
An atmosphere of distrust…..
A desolated streets and colonies…..
A slowdown economy that is keen to engulf the prosperity…..
A perplexed scientist and researcher congregation…………..
Are we in line with “end” time as described in the eschatological writings or what was depicted as a hypothetical event explored in science and fiction where human civilization or life is at risk of partial or complete destruction.
Most of us had grown up with the belief that Laxmanrekha was “forbidden line” drawn by Laxmana meant to protect Sita against “demonic power”. Paradoxical is the fact that today’s imposed “Laxmanrekha” at every door step is marked by the very situation that in today’s era of Kalayuga, the mankind could not recognise the “diminished Laxmanrekha” out of “greed and lust” which marked the “utilization” versus “exploitation” of natural resources for “survival” versus “unquenched accumulation”.
All of sudden “Laxmanrekha” seems to be “obvious” across the globe (in terms of lockdown; quarantine or curfew) which infact is driven by the “uncurbed” (less Laxmanrekha) expansion of the will….. the will to possess more; resulting in the vast accumulation … infact a source of man’s brutality and cruelty – and this is more powerful and more unyielding than will to live or the will to perpetuate life.
The very concept of Laxmanrekha is ironical because symbolically and mythologically Laxmanrekha represent to culture (subset of Nature); where goddess Sita represent to Nature, because she was the daughter of the Earth, Bhumi. Infact Nature recognizes no ‘rekha” (boundaries) and defies all restrictions; but in culture there are boundaries, which distinguish nature from culture.
In modern parlance, Laxmanrekha refers to strict convention or a rule, never to be broken; what in United States of America is known as “Bright-Line Rule”. Governance has put Laxmanrekha on every door step as a broader measure to arrest geometric progression of COVID-19; irrespective of the long lasting debate between those favoring bright-line rules and those favouring balancing tests based on “no single set of legal rules can ever capture the ever changing complexity of human life.”
A Devil within the four Wall
In present Laxmanrekha era, “living within the four walls”; if not properly managed can lead to certain far reaching complications. Rhetoric Media hype (though in balanced view, reports about escalating death figures shared per se) about repercussions and ramification of COVID-19 on the world; if not properly managed by adults within the non-porous four walls of home may lead to “health anxiety” where adults are obsessed over bodily functions (breathing, heartbeat), physical oddities (skin blemishes), and physical discomfort (headaches, stomach aches, light-headedness, sore throat, lack of energy) and lead this idea of having serious but undiagnosed medical condition to impact the mindset of other family members, especially vulnerable children at home, who are constrained, unlike Seeta, not to cross the Laxmanrekha against an unknown and unseen “Asura”. Such a dreadful condition make the complete family more distressed whereby they are often unable to function or enjoy life due to their fears and preoccupations.
Power of Habit
Human Connect is the key to rebuild and redefine the “Family bonding” – a concept of past (culture of Sanjha Chulha) which got diminished by new wave of wind of “professionalism”. Crisis time is best time to stand by someone and build bridges. It is apt time to Prioritize relationships by “Connecting” within and beyond families.
“Power of habit” is the dominating factor in present “Lockdown for 21 days” as incidentally it takes just about 21 days to pick up a good habit or losing some really bad ones.
Habit towards Digital Literacy
Social media and screens have become ubiquitous in the lives of our children, and “We-the Adults” are no exception.
We adults have always tend to be ‘preoccupied’ with our personal and professional domain whenever we faced the situation of “unregulated” and “un-intervened’ access of digital technology at hands of our children. When, Laxmanrekha has confined “We-the adults” into a silos, then it is high time we need to first sensitize ourselves and then lead our young generation by example on count of digital literacy. It is apt time to understand that the screen time has immense potential risks which can be classified into the ‘three C’s’: Content, Contact and Conduct. “Content” – what are children looking at and whether they are accessing inappropriate content; “Contact” – who are they interacting with-strangers and people presenting with false identities; “Conduct” – how they present themselves and engage with others, and the prevalence of online bulling or other cyber crime.
“We-the Adults” need to understand the ramification of an idiom “Child is father of the man” (originating from the poem “My Heart Leaps Up” by William Wordsworth) and should sincerely pose four questions that aimed to help us examine, and guide, our own screen time – “Is screen time in our household controlled?”; Does screen use interfere with what our family want to do?”; “Does screen use interfere with sleep?”; “Are we able to control snacking during screen time?”.
Habit towards Developing Resilience
It’s the best time to inculcate “resilience” in ourselves and our children who are observing us within “shrunk” four walls marked by “Laxmanrekha against fear of unknown”; so that our children at home learn to harness inner strength that helps one to rebound from a setback or challenge. The present Laxmanrekha has given an opportunity to “We- Educators and Parents”; to understand and analyse what in 2019 made VG Siddhartha commit apparently suicide when the same humble, unassuming entrepreneur, Coffee King in 2016 stated, “In a dire situation, I feel we’ll somehow get out of it. As an entrepreneur, you just can’t afford to lose hope. Your body better be like a shock absorber …”. Most of the time, “We-the adults’ as a parent and an educator keep swindling between “when and to what extent” to be tough with our young children and “when and to what extent” to be accommodative especially when media had sensitized present genre of educators and parents with multiple stressors of young generation leading to “tunnel vision”, if parents and educators get tough.
So, “resilience” has become the “latest buzzword”. Each change affects people differently, bringing a unique flood of thoughts, strong emotions and uncertainty. Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful situations – in part thanks to resilience. Present Laxmanrekha time, can be well utilized to make our children-at home to understand what Arvanitakis and Hornsby postulated for “Life”: first is “mistakability” – the ability to make mistakes and learn from these; and second is “adaptability”, the flexibility to adapt and learn accordingly.
A sense of belonging is also critical to the creation of a supportive learning community, and has a strong impact on the wellbeing and developmental aspect of child.
Habit of Self-Care
Self-care is a popular and trendy buzzword. Promoting positive lifestyle factors like proper nutrition, ample sleep, hydration and regular exercise can strengthen one’s body to adapt to stress and reduce the toll of emotions like anxiety or depression.
Habit to Practice Mindfulness
Mindful reading, yoga, and other spiritual practices like prayer or meditation can also help people build connections and restore hope, which can prime them to deal with situations that require resilience.
Habit of Purposefulness
Benjamin Franklin once said, “The early morning has gold in its mouth”. The quote emphasise the importance of starting one’s day the right way. He also said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”. Every day, we are presented with an opportunity to practice. When we practice our craft everyday as a lifestyle rather than just a job, we breathe life into it. The practice defines our life and what our purpose is for living.
Habit Not to Touch Face
Researchers across the globe claims that “Self-touching” is a “fundamental behaviour of our species” and they further inferred that human being touched their face almost 25 times per hour on average, rubbed their eyes, pricked their noses, or stuck a finger into their mouth. But when it comes to a disease like the new Corona virus, Covid-19, “face-touching” is a recipe for fast transmission. So, in present “Laxmanrekha” regime, we mankind need to avow ourselves to develop the habit “not to touch the face” vis-a-vis imminence by worst viral disease outbreaks in recent years — SARS, MERS, Ebola, Marburg and likely the newly arrived 2019-nCoV virus. We need to remember, habits become stronger and more ingrained the more people engage with them.
Habit – Namaskar as part
of life style
Namaste (Sanskrit: namah means ‘to bow’ and te means ‘to you’) or Namaskara is not a mere gesture or a word, it is a way of showing respect – By doing this both the people bow to the divine power in one another. Namaste is a way of recognizing this oneness. As the virus outbreak is jolting the very survival of humankind; common form of greetings across the world, viz. Handshake, giving pecks on the cheek, hugs and high-fives need to be abandoned. So, Vedic form of Greeting has to lead the world which is ready to adopt “Namaste” as a way of recognizing this oneness.
Doomsday – a forbidden reality!
The Trials and Tribulations of Life (seems as Doomsday during adversity) can be disheartening but they pass-by with new sunshine but infact our greatest teachers; as aptly stated by Rumi:
But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.
(The authors are educators and researchers)
Ritwiz Gaur, Ashi Gaur