I’ve got to be honest: despite being absolutely cossetted in privilege, this entire pandemic situation has me beat. I live in Singapore, where covid hasn’t yet run rampant; I’ve received a vaccination, and have enough to eat plus a roof over my head, so I should be content. I’m not, though. The big part of it is the situation in India–where most of my friends and family live.
Throughout the giant year that is/was 2020-21, my coping mechanisms have included reading, going for walks, diving into work with whatever focus I’ve left. Recently though, none of this seems to be working and I feel like I have low-grade stress 24*7. Things in India have gone to hell in a hand-basket. The government failed to prepare the country with vaccines or train the populace in safety measures–despite a large-ish gap between the first and the second waves of the pandemic. The populace felt comfortable about traveling and large religious and political gatherings starting March, at which point the government declared that the pandemic was at an end in the country.
Unfortunately for India, though, the virus doesn’t recognize political or religious feelings or agendas of the government or the population, and is acting like viruses do: attacking and thriving and attacking, in an endless vicious cycle since late March and early April. I’ve lost friends to the disease, I have friends struggling with it, I have friends who have lost dear ones, or who are struggling to find beds, medical oxygen–in one of the families I know, the husband and wife are both ill, and their toddler is being cared for in a separate room by the grandparent. The wife needs hospital care, the husband is unable to keep the household going because covid is not a joke when it catches you. I’m terrified for my parents and relatives, and have begged them to stay home. Some will listen, some won’t, some don’t have an option.
In a country where so many are desperately looking for oxygen cylinders and others are dying of oxygen tank leaks, it feels like a hopeless, godless situation. The leadership will not take responsibility, so people are banding together to help each other. Most of the help I and my friends have received has come through Twitter. Apps have mushroomed, connecting emergency needs to resources. People are volunteering their time and money, in addition to donating to fund oxygen cylinders.
My heart is broken with the amount of absolutely unnecessary and preventable suffering –but together, we’re stronger, because in this moment of cataclysmic national crisis in India, heroes have emerged–and some of them are on social media.
How are you coping with the pandemic? How are things where you are? Do you see light at the end of the tunnel?
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