This is the second catastrophe I think I will survive
How coronavirus is bringing out the best in us
The city of Mumbai that never sleeps is now seen dozing off during morning and afternoons.
The city that couldn’t be ruffled by bomb blasts and machine gun attacks is now “locked down”.
Today is the 24th of March 2020 and is the 7th day of my work-from-home.
It’s a strange but nice deviation to an area that I normally don’t write on— “current affairs and my point of view”. I stick to my domain and the comforts of writing on B2B tech sales strategies.
Some of the world events that I was a “witness” to since 1983 are
- Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984
- India winning its first cricket world cup in 1983
- Babri Masjid desecration, 1992
- Bombay serial bomb blasts, 1993
- 26/11 Mumbai shootout of 2008
- Gulf war (1993)
- 9/11 , US occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and so on..
And the world event that I was part of — 1999 Odisha Supercyclone.
The mother of all cyclones, ripped through buildings, tore apart trees, created islands and blanked out cities in a brutal fashion.
More than 10000 souls were lost within 36 hours of its windfall.
Looking back, the event had a hollywoodish twist when my mother and sister were trapped in the coastal town of Puri, which they visited for a dance recital. And my father and I were at Bhubaneswar looking outside our windows , the fury of nature getting unleashed.
After weeks, normalcy returned and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have endured the trauma.
Fast forward to today, these days are simply extraordinary and ineffable.
I don’t intend to write on coronavirus, its deadly consequences and how to quarantine.
Secretly I always wished for such a life (obviously not the virus) where you wake up slow, there is nowhere to go, no jostling through human skin and sweat (Mumbai local trains) and a madness to reach the workplace. Repeat the entire ordeal in the evenings, manage to reach home just in time for dinner, sleep and repeat it all over the next day.
As if the whole universe wanted a break, to hit the reboot button!! Phew!
Things I experienced
- How beautiful is a morning
With no vehicular movements because of the curfew, we are actually able to hear voices of our feathered friends. The air seems cleaner and the skies bluer. Fortunate to be seeing the hues of the sun during both dawn and dusk with shimmering light over the waters in the creek.
Its poetic! What better start to the day.
Not to mention that you can steal half an hour during sunsets, sitting in our balcony and appreciating the creator’s gifts.
Research says, professionals work better in self controlled environments — the workplace, tools and pace of work when they are to their liking, the best work gets produced.
Yes, the phone calls, emails and the client management craziness has amplified because of the lock-down, but somehow I seem to be in control of it since I am operating out of my own “space”.
All my work and personal to-do lists seem to be getting knocked down faster.
The very first day, I felt tired as if I returned from a 14 hour work + 3 hours of train travel.
There is greater focus because travel is a big killer of human productivity and creativity; now there is no pressure to reach office or leave office.
3. Less consumption
Our consumerist life style of buying more, hoarding more and indulging more is suddenly getting challenged.
The possibility of a short supply of food, loss of jobs, panic buying among citizens is actually forcing us to consume less food so that we can ration.
Restaurants not able to deliver food, nor those food delivery apps working means, good money saved.
Curfew also means, no taking out the car — both fuel and money saved!
More importantly, my daughter and kids of her generation are learning valuable skills — how to cope and survive a global pandemic.
We can count the number of days when an average family actually has a meal together.
And suddenly if we can have 3 meals together each day , we ought to be blessed.
Cooking a simple meal and enjoying with my wife and daughter is simply precious now. I am going to enjoy till it lasts!
Helping my daughter with her homework and projects, seems fun now.
The imminent fear of catching the virus and its attack on the immune system has made us appreciate good health. Since there is no cycling or swimming allowed in the apartment complex, a good hour of yoga does the job.
Sitting on the chair and doing a 20 count deep breathing helps in getting back my focus and energy levels.
6. Lessons of humility
We are so used to our domestic helps, car washers, laundry boys, this lock-down has made our chores look like boot-camp!
Since, they are on self isolation, we have no option but to clean our own dishes, iron clothes clean the house and the car.
There is suddenly a huge amount of respect and gratitude for the people who make our life comfortable.
Like everyone else we aren’t deducting any salaries of our helps during this crisis.
7. Missing people
Social distancing is making us appreciate the need to meet and be with people.
No amount of zoom chat, whatsapp and social media can replace a true human bonding. Technology is a great bridge but it just isn’t the real deal.
Yes, I have started missing office colleagues, some neighbours and my daughter’s friends as well.
I guess its a good thing.
Things that I am grateful for, as of today..
- having a good employer
- a good team who is getting stretched as I write and
- a good wifi provider!
These are crazy times and social distancing, seems the only option to win over this virus.
So if we have a good employer, good understanding clients, good team members, good stock of ration and we don’t venture out until April 14th, we will survive this virus.
And if we survive, (which we will) coronavirus would have succeeded in uniting the whole of this planet, where no country, race or gender is oblivious to each other’s problems.
And like the super-cyclone’s memories of howling winds crashing against our doors in 1999, there will remain in my memory the little pleasures we had in 2020 because of a virus…
Karmesh, is a Side Hustling Dad, Intrapreneur, author and a blogger on unorthodox sales strategies for tech companies. Lives in Mumbai, loves food, fast bikes and cars.
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