LETTER TO BABU: Covid In My Mind

LETTER TO BABU: Covid In My Mind

Dear Babu,

Assalamu alaikum my jewel,

COVID-19 and its impacts are a part of our everyday conversations now. I know COVID has been on your mind as much as it has been on mine. It’s been more than a year now that the COVID-19 pandemic came into existence. Before the never-ending conversations started on Coronavirus, it’s hard to think that we had other things like famine, calamities, AIDS, Bird Flu, and oh yeah, POLITICS to worry about. We even had to think about the never-ending temptation to greatness and survival, WAR.

And then COVID19 came into the picture. The world stopped as everyone grappled with this new reality. It stopped, and everyone had to watch their backs. This unknown virus came to cause havoc and threaten the very survival of human civilization. When it was first discovered in countries in March and a few months after that, no one was ready for its impact on all aspects of human society.

Economics, science, environment, politics and governance, religion and even culture everything was affected. Now, Babu, let me try; I will try my best to explain this in simpler terms. We watched top stocks fall to the ground, and economics didn’t make sense anymore for a minute. We watched how it took away our freedom to celebrate freely with family and friends at events. We watched how it stopped our regular mosques, church services from happening like before. This was a public health crisis that affected and is still affecting the whole world.

But Babu, would you agree that COVID has affected your mindset too? There is a concept of the New Normal, which everyone is trying to accept. Of course, there have been ever-present conspiracy theories about how this is a deliberate attempt to shift the world power. Do you believe that or think just like a reasonable percentage of people, which is just like any other health crisis? Whatever that is, and whatever it will be, new realities are now evolving, impacting people’s lives and shaping a new course for the future.

A year ago, we eagerly pursued a world that would bring people closer together and build better relationships. We happily anticipated the moment when we would sit together as a family for dinner. Homes welcomed more extended tables to accommodate more people, relatives, loved ones, and friends. But of course, Babu, the situation is so much different now. Now, we close our doors not only to strangers but even to friends and loved ones.

We grew up learning how to extend a hand to show care. Nowadays, you offer care when you maintain an acceptable safe distance from everyone. When did you last smile at someone, dear Babu? No doubt, you would have taken a moment to wonder how difficult it is to share our smiles now. Our simple smiles back then were means for peace. But currently, our mouths are imprisoned behind masks, leaving us like mimes, emotionless and blank. The number of COVID19 cases worldwide is still on the rise, a testament to how much it is devastating a significant portion of the world’s population.

It’s more than those numbers of deaths that signify the loss of someone with loved ones, hopes, and dreams. But also about the degree of fear and uncertainty in the air. World leaders are scrambling about to conduct mass testing and have as many people vaccinated as possible. While they are done with the purest of intentions, we can’t disregard how much of a stepping stone it is for political and economic dominance.

This cloud of uncertainty brought by the pandemic leaves the whole world in a fragile situation. The so-called New Normal has the government imposing restrictions and draining its coffers. Every front-line worker has that look of fatigue as the public health system is on the verge of collapse. More than that, the world is struggling economically. Shops are closing down, people are losing jobs, and livelihoods are at risk.

But my dear Babu, even then, there is still hope, and this springs from each one of us. It starts with you and me. No matter how governments impose the guidelines and standards, it is us, the people, who can save the world at the end of the day. And it doesn’t require much from us. Just very little.

It’s all about responsibility and cooperation. Babu, we have to be mindful about protecting ourselves and our families at all costs. Our greatest enemy at this moment is not only the virus but ourselves. When complacency creeps into our system, it poisons our minds and makes us lose guard. Life is so precious that we cannot simply let others take care of it. We must do it ourselves. Remember, my dearest, that the closest to our heart is our self, and self-preservation is not selfish. We need it not only to survive but for us to thrive.

When we realize that we are in this fight together and must win it at all costs, we can begin to see a break from this New Normal back to the life we once had.

Well then, Babu, let us hope to see the maskless smiles of people soon.

I love you with all my life,
Mommy

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