The message on the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai said it all: Stay Strong, India. French President Emmanuel Macron, himself facing a strong challenge from France’s right in the 2022 presidential election, wrote in Hindi to India: We will win together.
From across the globe—from the US, Germany, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, even arch-rival Pakistan—help in the form of oxygen, ventilators, etc. is reaching India’s shores. The Left in India is busy berating the powers that be, but if it were not for the personal relationships that PM Modi has established with world leaders, would all this aid have materialized?
If the Left were in power in India, perhaps only China and North Korea would have volunteered to help India. This is not the time for carping and bickering in India. This is a time to come together and face the challenge head-on. India seemed to have tamed the first wave fairly successfully, but seems to have got off-guard in the second wave by new strains of the virus and superspreader events like the Kumbh Mela, Holi and Easter.
People have been restrained for over a year, so they desperately want to let their hair down. In the US there have been four waves of the virus, and if one were to draw an arc through them, it would look like one horrific tidal wave, a tsunami. When he was president, Donald Trump didn’t encourage masking or social distancing, and then there were always holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and Spring Break where people would congregate and superspread.
The Joe Biden administration claims to have implemented a successful vaccination program. In his first hundred days in office, over two hundred million vaccine shots are believed to have been administered, twice his original target of a hundred million shots. The virus seems to have been tamed in the US, the world’s most afflicted country. A sense of complacency appears to be setting in inside the country. But this was the same sort of complacency that set in India after its first wave. Spring Break, where many college students in the US gambol and party on the beach has just passed, and could well serve as a superspreader event, and result in a fifth wave in the country.
Indians in India are suffering terribly, but overseas Indians are suffering with them. Many have aged parents living alone in India and cannot visit them in this time of plague. In my lane in my neighborhood in India, there’s not a house which has not been afflicted by Covid. People with whom you have grown up with, your friends and relatives, many are down.
You daren’t ask how sick they are because even they don’t know how sick they are. Will they recover or will they die is the constant thought that torments you. You can only pray for them and check in on them regularly, although knowing that you could yourself but be a few weeks away from another tidal wave in your own country of residence.
This virus seems impossible to beat, but beat it we must. It seemed that the virus would be beat in 2021, but now it seems that the fight will go on well into 2022. In PM Modi, we have a sagacious leader. All we need to do is listen to our leaders and our medical professionals. Yes, our lifestyles have been crimped and constrained for long, and it seems they will continue being so for long, but we must grin and bear it. Perhaps it’s our karma to suffer so much, perhaps it’s not, who knows?
I was astonished to see a wife applying mouth to mouth resuscitation to her Covid-afflicted husband because there was no oxygen to spare. She could easily have contracted the virus, but was willing to give up her life in exchange for her husband’s. In a country where there are such strong family bonds, Covid cannot tear us apart. It’s only a temporary phase, India, until the government gets a grip on the situation and life returns to somewhat normal.
In the meantime, stay strong, India, stay stoic. Think of the Australian fast bowlers, Brett Lee and Pat Cummins, who have donated so much money to the PM Cares fund. God bless them. They are a terrifying bunch, the Aussies, but yet so lovable. India has weathered many a storm in the past. It will weather this one too.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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