How the Covid-19-induced lockdown has changed me
Today, my worry is of another kind. I am beginning to ask myself the question: Do I want to live in Delhi once the lockdown is over?Updated: May 08, 2020 10:17 IST
It is astounding to learn, how few people matter in our lives. We tend to get so tied up in knots with our daily work schedules, gym, chanting, party routines and trying to make ourselves look “good” for others (mostly on social media). As a result, we ignore the people who matter to us and whom we should care about. Be it the elderly in our family, spouse, children, close friends and even those with whom you have spent precious times. We are so busy chasing a future that we have forgotten how to live and enjoy the present. We are so filled with greed and unfulfilled desires that we forget to count our blessings. Most of us have big egos and a false sense of pride and self-importance that we forget how to respect human beings and empathise with their suffering. If there is one thing my late mother taught me, it is compassion for others. To do your deed or service without expecting anything in return.
Today, I know people who are more concerned about providing stray dogs with food and shelter rather than looking at the effect the coronavirus has had on human lives. Make no mistake, I am an animal lover and a conservationist. While by all means our priority today should be protecting ourselves and our family members, but we should also extend a helping hand to elders, friends and loved ones we have lost touch with, and have a conversation with them. There are many charity funds and NGOs we can donate to so that they can take care of street children, stranded migrant labourers and homeless people. But, do donate your money wisely.
I have decided to spend more time with my family and close friends and with those people who matter to me. I want to enjoy and cherish my time with them. I will limit my social circle accordingly and live life on my terms. I don’t care two hoots about how the world perceives me. I will do all the things I have always wanted to do: Spend more time with nature, enjoy the wilderness of Ladakh, our national parks, take photography lessons, drive to the Rann of Kutch on a moonlit night, and embark on a motorcycle tour of Bhutan.
My second important discovery has got to do with how we suffer from the syndrome of obsessive consumerism. We may get over the virus over the next six months or so (wishful thinking?), but it is accepted that it may take several years to recover from the economic fallout of this crisis. I don’t know how many of us realise how deeply this is going to impact each one of us. We have two options; change our lifestyle that revolves around obsessive consumerism or go down the spiral. It’s a no-brainer.
During the lockdown, I was pleasantly surprised to see how little we need to go on reasonably comfortably with our daily lives. Be it cars, household stuff, gadgets, food supplies and toiletries. Not to mention the array of expensive garments, shoes and other accessories we are constantly acquiring. And yet, we never stop collecting more and more and more. We do this because we want to show off to the world how up-to-date, fashionable and wealthy we are.
I am going to make a conscious effort to move away from this negative pattern. We are living in times where we need to both “preserve” and “conserve”. I have decided to reduce my financial burden to whatever extent possible. Perhaps, it’s time for all of us to review the same.
Last, I am thoroughly enjoying the clean Delhi air, crystal clear blue skies, the chirping of birds, the sight of peacocks and squirrels. No traffic and no noise pollution with horns blaring and people shouting and screaming at each other. After decades, I have not suffered a devastating asthma attack that invariably occurs during the months of April-May. I like to take some time off in the evening to stand out in my verandah and enjoy the sounds of nature and the beauty that surrounds us, despite living in a megacity like Delhi.
Today, my worry is of another kind. I am beginning to ask myself the question: Do I want to live in Delhi once the lockdown is over?
Vikramaditya Singh is former Member of J&K Legislative Council.
The views expressed are final