Our world won’t be the same after this crisis is over
Virtual workouts, Zoom brunches, online cooking classes. A month ago, this could have sounded like a page straight from a futuristic novel or a scene from a war-torn city. Today, it is our reality. This is how the world changes, not with a bang but with a whimper. And that whimper has come in the form of Covid-19. As this paper goes to press, there are over a million people across the world infected with the novel coronavirus physically. Psychologically, it has infected billions of households who are now having to come to terms with a new way of life. One in which our homes, once a sanctuary for our mind’s peace, are now converted into modern workplaces. One in which, no sneeze is an innocent sneeze, a door handle is always viewed with a suspicion, as that stranger standing six feet apart at a supermarket. We may be united in our fears and suffering, but we have also never been more alone. And as humanity enters this brand new chapter of ‘being’, hoping it’s a short-lived one, it will be worth reminiscing about all that we took for granted in the pre-Covid world. A regular walk in the park with children laughing and playing around. Meeting those elderly relatives whose eyes yearn to see you. Mall trawling with friends. The small talk with neighbours. The water cooler conversations at work. Sitting under the shadow of a tree. The ability to just be – with ourselves, those around us and nature.
We don’t know when the world will come out of this pandemic that has seized our present and, possibly, the future. But a post-Covid world will make sense only if we begin to value what we had before. No assaults on nature, greater empathy for one another and, most importantly, the ability to look beyond ourselves – as individuals, as nations. After all, wasn’t this very myopia that led a global superpower to not only conceal truths about the deadly virus but also actively snub voices that took it upon themselves to tell the world about its impending dangers? Or an erstwhile imperial power to believe that herd immunity could actually prevent the spread of the virus, even though the odds had been against it? Or the leader of a developing country with a billion-plus population to announce an abrupt lockdown that would seal the fates of millions of migrant workers? Until the greater common good precedes individual interests, the post-Covid world will make little sense.