Written By: Ritarilla Barick Yusuf
One lives to learn new things. We thought humanity has conquered nature and tamed the elements.
We thought we could do everything with wanton abandon and get away with it. We thought we knew it all and nothing would seem strange and novel to us. Until that is, with the sudden and forceful intrusion of the novel Corona virus into human consciousness.
Who would have thought, that a tiny virus, whose name was never heard before by most of the world would bring the world to a standstill, havoc a pandemic, and instill such fear among all people everywhere, that in a moment of involuntary reflex action, everything humanity knew and did would be turned upside down and round and about?
Prior to December 2019, most of humanity may not have heard of Wuhan in China. Many would not locate it on the map even if their lives depended on it. Suddenly, Wuhan was on every body’s lip and momentarily, it became a household name albeit infamously.
Virus was never something that was discussed so regularly and keenly outside medical and scientific circles. Today, the world is virtually attuned to the term that has become a watchword for everything that we do.
Once considered as antisocial behavior, keeping our distance from others and not being allowed even to shake hands has become an acceptable if not a lifesaving practice, thanks to that insidious virus. Many traits have now become common place.
We are now being taught how to wash our hands with soap and water, by president’s, doctors and others as if we didn’t know that before.
We are in a pandemic that is culturally unbiased. Time was when you were actually blessed for sneezing near people.
Today however, thanks to this out-of-space invisible alien organism, sneezing or coughing near even your loved ones would instantly attract some strange looks and dismayed grimaces! Rather than just sneeze away into emptiness and feel contented, you are now required to do so into the crook of your elbow regardless of what might rub off your cloth.
Today, thanks to an invisible enemy, we speak about home gardening, regular exercise, reading, meditation and sundry activities simply for want of things to do at home.
Suddenly, even the plainest of persons have become instant philosophers, sundry experts and men and women of the world, churning out unsolicited opinions and commentaries about how the world has changed or what it might become in the aftermath of the virus pandemic.
The pandemic has today gotten a new respectful attention and consideration. Today it is mentioned in hushed and almost reverential terms, as if mentioning it loudly and brazenly would bring it down on one’s head. Never have the mighty and powerful seemed so small and weightless.
I know we thought we figured things out, but we must learn to live in the new normal and accept a new social code. This is the pandemic of the decade.