The Covid that Encircled Us

   Dr. Jose Mathews

This is the time we are controlled and moved by the Corona virus that it has permeated the inner most cells of human body. Every aspect of human lives is in the clutches of this tiny circled body with strings that gets animated upon entering the human system. The humanity as a whole is encircled by this microbe that the war against it is still on course with the prospects of an end in sight.

Everyone knows the way the world changed in an unprecedented way.  It is evident that our total lifestyle system underwent dramatic transformations, we no longer feel the way we felt prior to 2019. Similarly, our behaviours, thoughts and dispositions have changed even without our awareness. The invisible enemy produces invisible changes.

Reports say that the rates of depression, anxiety, tension, fear, nervousness and anger have increased following the restrictions, limitations and helplessness imposed in the formal and in the informal ways. We do not come to display that same feelings of security and quietness whether at home or outside the home.

Following the spread of the variants of the virus in most of the countries, even our own home, the safe and the secure places once is exposed to the contagious effect.  Staying at home is no longer sufficient, you have to stay at your own room. The colours of life are getting darker and dimmer as laughter, joy and effervescence vanishes from our reactive systems as the affectivity has taken a negative turn. The vivaciousness of human lives has vapourised, replacing it with gloom and uncertainty.

No free movement in our own place is possible and we are no longer allowed to travel. The behavioural changes are seen in our social life, educational institutions and more broadly in public life. Gatherings and get-togethers are abandoned voluntarily fearing that we may never gather together in the future. Fear of death gas gripped many people across the world. It is as though we are suddenly alerted to the transitoriness of life and we see scores of individuals dying in front of us in a helpless manner and people queuing up long queues to complete the final rites that are entitled for the deceased ones under Covid protocols.

Life crumbles all on a sudden, and we never imagined that life can be this much agonizing and enigmatic, seeing thousands being buried in mass graves, leaving behind loads and loads of sorrow, and the weeping thousands. We are no longer in control of anything, and we turn out to be the most helpless beings in the world. Money, career, status, power and beauty are nothing in front of this circular tiny thing.

The thoughts of life, the sublime and the poetic expressions that always call life beautiful, marvellous, enticing and zealous have taken a back seat as the world is now a sea of tears and suppressed cries.

Many laments about their own dear and near ones being snatched away at short notice and that too in a cruel manner, even denying an opportunity to see or talk to the dying in the remaining last hours and the body being disposed of hurriedly to prevent further infection and in some cases it is without even checking the identity of the one who left the world forever, all under the covid protocol, the most distressing aspect of the present-day life. We cannot do anything without the covid protocols, that seems to be the fate of the present-day generation.

The world that was moving ahead with its pomp and glory and the spectacular life people were leading everywhere, in cities, towns, organizations and in homes have come to a grinding halt. The skies that were spotted with criss-crossing jets, the roads that were full of speeding vehicles, the factories that were noisy and the schools and the colleges packed with students and teachers and the busy home life are now pleasant memories.

The pandemic has divided the history of human lives into pre-pandemic phase, pandemic phase and the post-pandemic phase, each phase clearly separated from the other with its own distinguishing characteristics.

The pandemic phase is collectively characterised by lockdown and lockout everywhere that suspends the normal life and its activities that we used to do. Individually each one of us is required to follow the covid protocol, the significant aspect of which is wearing of the mask. The tiny circle thing has in fact masked our lives and we see across the cities and the towns face-less group of individuals carrying on with the daily hassles.

None of us find it comfortable and even many find it difficult to breathe unless of course it is the mask of exquisite order. In the post-pandemic phase, after the death, the agony and the pain, this pandemic will be recorded in the annals of history as the one that masked the human beings.

(The contributor is a senior lecturer with Gedu College of Business Studies under the Royal University of Bhutan)