Col Shiv Choudhary (Retd)
The second wave of Covid-19 has rattled India’s health-care infrastructure with death toll piling up regularly in India, rarely witnessed before. With the world population of around 7.8 billion and 220 nations affected by Covid-19, there have been 171,708,011 confirmed cases including 3,697,151 deaths as on 4 June 2021 across globe. This only reflects the vulnerability of the human beings before this deadly virus. Surprisingly, nations with best of health care facilities have not been spared too. One can imagine the fear and fragility of human lives to the fury of pandemic.
One wonders as to what God wants from us when we can lose life in a whiff. We are the people who worship Him all the time but we are living on the edge every second today. This is driving us crazy between the hope to live and fear of death staring at almost everyone infected with Covid19. Every moment mind is filled with only when and what might happen next. All these probabilities create stress and anxiety and question our very survivability and support system. It also means that people have less ability to believe in God today, which had been an important part of everyone’s life? Perhaps, people who don’t believe in God would be happier.
Have we ever looked at people dying this way in front of us except perhaps in Hollywood movies? Have we ever had to deal with a menace so surely taking away our beloved ones in such a quick time? Have we suffered from any such situations suddenly jolting happy lives of friends or relatives?
Scenes of dead bodies and pyres look so frightening and pitiful that they shake the very foundation of life. Cemeteries are seen running out of space too. Bulldozers are being deployed to add to the capacity and assist grave diggers. Scenes of dead bodies floating in river are heart breaking. One needs to be in queue to bury his/her dear ones. Similarly, one gets wait listed to get a bed in any health care facility with negative vibes of likely treatment and possible survival all over.
We don’t think of dying too often and manner we are witnessing now. We all hope to pass away peacefully, surrounded by our family, friends and loved ones performing established last rites. It is fine to console oneself by saying you’ve lost something, but not lost everything as it is with many. The global pandemic infection has swept away these very thoughts to the extent that even the accessibility and functionality of the available trained health care staff get restricted. What’s the point of life if it’s so fragile that a simple virus can suddenly take it away or reduced to living wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining distances from dear ones?
Life has always been priceless with no specific price tag that could be placed upon it. Sure, you can calculate a person’s economic worth but cannot measure a person’s values, or weigh its utility or futility. Money, assets, glories, knowledge, name, fame and even memories become pointless once we realize we’re just tiny particles of life about to disappear in the infiniteness of time. Such a spate of deaths questions our very basic reasons for living. The moot and inconvenient question comes to everyone’s mind is: “what is the point of life?”
Rodger Ebert once wrote “I know death is coming and I do not fear it, because I believe that there is nothing on the other side of death to fear.” Death is easy, but you have actually near 7.8 billion people willing to live, against some 10000 suicides every day. We do not live to die, or else we would have all been annihilated in the endless cycle of birth-life-death. Life is not cyclic, it has a purpose and we strive to find it somewhere inside or outside the world.
We have had enough religious and daily motivational sermons and it doesn’t matter how much we worship the sanctity of God and how much we try to be good. There will never be a happy ending. We need to do some fact findings which we generally tend to ignore. Old adage goes; Human life is a constant fight against nature as long as you want to stay alive. We cannot help it and all live under the shadow of meaninglessness.
Irrespective of nature and fury of pandemic, the figure of deaths or recoveries, availability or non availability of health care facilities, public discipline or indiscipline, justified or unjustified reasoning or claims or counter claims on efficacy of vaccinations and fast changing views of experts including the WHO, no amount of survivors and promises offer any solace to the victim’s family. No matter how much you try to plan and prepare for, life will always find a way of surprising good or bad people equally during difficult times.
During uncertainties, it is usual to overestimate the likelihood of something bad happening vis a vis underestimate your ability to cope up. Thus, it is important to deny and bury all negative thoughts. Whatever your fears or personal circumstances might be, focus your mind, resources and energy on finding ways to focus on things you can control and ignore those you cannot control. Focus on the present moment and seek reassurances and self confidence to keep you anchored in the present. The level of will power, confidence and tolerance may differ from person to person, but the spark is definitely there in each one of us.
We all must remember that human beings were born out of violence amongst a hundred million sperms competing to invade an egg full of chemical barriers intended to kill them all. We fight during our whole life facing through all threats while knowing that the end of our journey is in the grave whether silently or sounds of drums. Thus, it is important to know that planning for future is needed. However, this should never blind us from relishing the present. We need to remain positive and hopeful to sail through the rough phases of life.
No bag full of money is enough during a devastating storm. No matter how much money and influence you have, always remember that you are at the mercy of God. Yes, for a person believing in God, only God can turn things around. Self confidence, medicare, prayers, good wishes, skills, precautions and observance of much needed protocols, are just the source of strength till one is alive. “Hope in God” is what matters, and not the rumors. This hope can be summed up as “My uncertain future is in the hands of a certain God and I need not be worried about it”. When, one has no control over life or death, the life will always remains uncertain, fragile and frightening. This dictum assumes more relevance in view of the forecast about third wave.
Col Shiv Choudhary (Retd)