Almost a year ago, Mother Nature gave us a shock treatment, from which we are yet to recover. Maybe ‘she’ felt it necessary to give us this shock treatment but my God, what a major blow this pandemic has been!
What to do?
The world turned topsy-turvy and with it, all of us, as we whirled around, like we were in a washing machine that has run amuck. And just when we thought that it was all going to end, a new strain of the virus began and honestly, we don’t know what next and when all of this will end. Maybe never… I don’t want to think of such bleak thoughts, but what to do?
Directly, indirectly affected
As this shock wave hit, some of us were swept away, never to return; some held on to flotsam and survived, barely. Very few can stand up and confidently say that they have not been affected by this pandemic wave. If not directly, they would have still been affected indirectly.
Learnt to be grateful
For over six months, my workplace has been shut down. Salaries were halved and naturally, as a parent, with two school-going children, I felt the weight of the world squarely on my shoulders. I have a car plus other loans and my rather complacent life was suddenly filled with tension and worry. But some deeds will warm our hearts and the decision of my house owner, a truly kind-hearted and understanding soul who took only half of the usual rent, was one such act. Yet, the struggle continues. Money is hard to come by and I had little or no savings so it is tough and it is going to get tougher. But all through this, I have learnt to be grateful as I look around and see there are people who are undergoing bigger hurdles, tougher times and deeper stresses and pain. So even though my heart wrings, I tell myself no, there is no need to despair. Just let it be. 2020 has been a tough teacher. But, I have learnt my lessons well. I will never be complacent again.
These drastic changes will affect the future. Many still have their jobs, even if the nature of it has changed beyond recognition. Newly introduced social distancing rules and COVID health regulations affect how people interact with customers, patients, and colleagues at work. Working from home comes with its own challenges, such as changes in communication, technological difficulties, interference of private life or higher self-organising demands, to name just a few. All of these changes demand a great deal of adjustment from people, requiring an extra amount of effort, grit and creativity to make them work. This is happening against the backdrop of a pandemic that has already forced us to adjust to undesirable patterns of living, with reduced and changed types of social interactions and increased health worries.
Oman Malayali renders help
In my own humble way, I have tried to be part of the drive to help those who are in serious financial distress. As one of the conveners of an adhoc Whatsapp group named ‘Oman Malayali’, which was created after the outbreak, and whose objectives are to help Keralites who have lost their jobs and are struggling to get air tickets back to Kerala, I contribute my mite. Together, we have managed to help many folks return to Kerala and this work continues.
My wife and kids are my biggest support. All of us put our ‘break’ time to good use by making a small vegetable garden at my home and this has produced some good results.
Quality time with family
I must confess that when COVID hit, I had a huge problem in coming to terms with it and various aspects associated with it, like wearing masks, using sanitisers, and maintaining social distance. I am a social animal but I had some rough time during the early period as I forgot to wear mask, or use sanitiser and even keeping social distance. But after some embarrassing situations, I finally got the hang of it and now I am behind all of those who ‘forget’ to wear a mask or keep social distancing. One major positive aspect in all this is that I got to spend some quality time with my family and that I think supersedes everything.
Gave wings to song writing
The other BIG break for me as COVID raged was to give wings to my song writing and compositions. This has been my passion since childhood and moreover, I come from a family with a deep-rooted musical background. My dear brother, the late ‘Maharaja’, was a musician and composer. He has always been my inspiration and I continue in his musical footsteps.
Currently, I have uploaded all my songs on my YouTube channel. I am a lover of melodies and I always want to have my songs to be in touch with tradition. COVID gave me the chance to create five to six songs. I think COVID is a thorn-like rose.
(*) Vincent works as a printer. His passion is music – writing and composing Malayalam songs. He hopes readers would like, share and subscribe to his channel on YouTube.