Your reality is based on your economics; your safety, more so.

Your reality is based on your economics; your safety, more so.

Chances are that if you are financially stable, you can make choices that will keep you and your family sufficiently safe from Covid 19. You have the capability to avail of necessary precautions and limit your exposure to the virus. Now if you are in this bracket of people and still want to be foolish about things, then if you catch the virus it is of your own doing.

I see restaurants full of people sitting in close proximity, sharing a smoke and drinks, social distancing and masks be damned. I see young people wearing the immortal facade of being immune to the virus, not realising that they could well be the ones to expose loved ones. While the numbers of recovery look good, reality also is that the virus can be fatal.

On the other side of the spectrum is a young man on satyagraha protesting the government’s inefficiency, apathy and corruption in combating the pandemic. He goes without food and water, hoping that someone will listen.

And then there are those who are caught between two devils: Covid 19 and hunger. They must work to make ends meet. They are the ones who cannot afford to say no to whatever work they must do; whether it shopping for your household groceries, cleaning homes and offices, collecting garbage, driving your cars, hawking products on the streets or delivering your goods, the list goes on.

They must turn up to work, and they must return home walking miles or cramped into tempos and buses. They must also stand in queue for water and use common toilets. Forget about sanitizers, they cannot even afford to change their disposable mask. They are on the frontline every single day. They are not hospital workers, healthcare providers, scientists, police or the army, they are everyday folks like you and me.

The economic repercussions of this pandemic are huge. Many businesses are bound to close, many people have lost their livelihoods, and many people are surviving on partial salaries; but that is solely because of blanket measures that the government took. I believe that anyone who runs a business knows about risks, and they know about survival. They would have found ways to run their business with minimum risk to their staff and customers had they had the choice. But when there is a blanket decision, your right to make choices for yourself is taken away from you.

A vast majority of people – if left responsible for their own lives – would make better decisions, more capable decisions. Unfortunately, the restrictions taken so far by the government has only put the poor at risk and created a severe contraction in the economy.

The world will change with this pandemic, and it is only our ingenuity that will matter. It’s going to need adaptation, consciousness, social values, trust, transparency and accountability for us to prevail. It is time for the government to step up and have a clear understanding on what are the important things and what aren’t. It’s also time that each citizen feels compelled to take full personal responsibility for them self and fosters the spirit of voluntary cooperation and respect for others.

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Charu Chadha


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