COVIDian Reflections – Old Questions, New Answers

How big is a man? If you ask this question to a physicist, his answer will be as big as an electron. The same question will evoke a different response from a biologist with an answer: as big as a DNA. A chemist’s answer will be like as big as an element. Now, a doctor’s answer will be  you are as voluminous as a few milliliters of antiviral drugs. In the backdrop of the COVID scare, psychologists will laugh at us and say man is as small as his fear. Well, finally, what will be the answer of COVID-19? It will answer that we are smaller than 12 genes. Just a 12-gene sub-cellular organism is frightening and making 30000-gene man looking helpless and small! How big is a man?

Whom do you trust the most in this world? Many will answer by naming a friend or spouse, etc. However, in the ultimate analysis, we trust ourselves more than we do others, for there are many secrets of ours that we will not tell to our most trusted person. But, the virus changed this, too. Doubt has creeped into our relationship with ourselves. We no more trust our hands! We need soap or sanitizers to trust our hands. We want to keep our hands away from our face as much as possible!  

What is your most important asset? This question always had the answer as education. Still the answer is the same during this virus time! But change the question a bit, and  the answers will be different for pre-COVID-19 and current COVID-19 times. If the question is like this: “What is your most important material asset?” The things that qualified for answer before the virus outbreak were cash reserves, land properties, fabulous home and so on. But all these answers were made irrelevant by the virus and changed them with this answer: mask and sanitizers. 

What is your dream place to live and settle down? The answers most certainly included  the United States, Europe, Singapore, etc. These kind of answers were kept on a ready-to-deliver mode by many, including me. Will the answers be the same if asked now? Many of us who are stuck across the globe long to get back to our countries and be safe inside the homes. The virus showed the hollowness of man’s concept about “the best place” and brought him back to the terra firma of reality. 

What is it that you take care of the most that will take care of you the best? If you ever happen to meet the 100-year old Chinese grandpa — his name was not disclosed by the Chinese authorities — or the 102-year old Italian grandma, Italica Grondona, who survived the onslaught by the virus even when they were in the high-risk category and ask this question: “What made you to defeat the virus? They will answer without any doubt: health. It is not the wealth that you accumulate by slogging round the clock that will take care of you but your health. Your wealth can give you the best medical care, but it has its limitations as the virus shows us. It is your immunity — the sum total of your health — that forms the base for medicines to act upon. It is not your wealth or friendship or relationship or material possessions that ultimately take care of you but your health.

As the virus lingers on without showing any signs  of abating, it will keep on teaching us new things and changing our perspectives. We can only hope that the virus understood that man learnt enough lessons, so it is time to recede and disappear.

Note: The blog is edited by Linet Placid.

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