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The post-COVID Mantra: ‘I-SEE’

Dr Navniit Gandhi Wednesday, June 23, 2021
The post-COVID Mantra: ‘I-SEE’

A terrific and a terrible lot has happened in this past year and a half!

A lot, indeed

A lot of panic

A lot of deaths

A lot of running helter-skelter

A lot of baffled reactions

A lot of recklessness

A lot of over-confidence

A lot of job losses

A lot of emotionally-trying times

A lot of businesses shut forever

A lot of ‘politics’

A lot of deliberately induced negativity

A lot of loneliness

A lot of new avenues

A lot of creativity, wit and humor

A lot of negligence

In short, Life will never be as it used to be before the pandemic created this havoc. Even for nations and individuals that were not much rocked by grief and losses, life will not be the same ever again. The same was, perhaps, said of the world wars and other big disasters that shook the world, but though those events were huge---the world wasn’t this global and the impact wasn’t felt this overwhelmingly. This time, we are all devastated by it ---a little or a lot! But, we are…

Is there anyone out there, who hasn’t lost anyone he or she knew personally? A neighbor or an Uncle or a teacher or a cousin or a friend’s parent or any other relative or a friend??? A lot of us have also faced loneliness, helplessness at our inability to reach out to our loved ones, financial constraints and most important, almost all of us have faced FEAR!!! The FEAR of what lies ahead, and how shall we cope with the uncertainties ahead---is gnawing us from within…

While a lot of articles, slogans, messages, and sermons are doing rounds----finally, we alone can best lay down what is the most suitable mantra for us. Although, the final choice is ours, there is no harm in reading and trying to understand whatever we can in a bid to boost our preparedness.

One such attempt at a holistic strategy/mantra for the days and years ahead can be:


‘I’ ought to be our most important concern right now. If you survive and survive well, then alone you can be of any use to your loved ones, and to the community at large. Hence, first ought to be ‘I’. Sit down with a pen and paper and jot down everything that you can about yourself. As for example, write down:

• what foods suit you

• what ails you

• what causes you discomfort

• how much do you sleep

• are you sufficiently hydrated

• do you exercise adequately

• do you drink, smoke etc

Understand your self as best as you can and then devise for yourself—YOUR VERY OWN SENSIBLE LIFESTYLE… Whatever decisions you make today regarding: your habits; your choices; your self-control; your recklessness; your schedules; your fears---will decide the quality of the rest of your life.

Sadly though, as the lockdowns were enforced last year, we went about crazily gobbling foods dipped in oil and/or loaded with sugar either because everyone was experimenting in the kitchen or because we had not much to do with the spare time or because these oily and super-sweet savories were making us feel good. But, aren’t we paying a heavy price of all those indulgences this year as our immunities have dipped and deaths soared??? Think hard… Introspect… If you want to live, it would be good to live healthy and strong.

Hence, always remember that the most important is ‘I’.

‘Socially’, we have been hit hard by the pandemic. The ‘distancing’ from friends, cousins, neighbours, and others have hit us hard, and particularly worrisome are going to be the after-effects on our kids. We, the adults, may still survive and re-bounce once this is all over. But our kids did not, as it is, have a very strong social quotient. Even before the pandemic hit us, we were debating vociferously on whether the gadgets are giving rise to a socially-handicapped generation?

In this past one year, as our kids and we ourselves have stared at screens for hours altogether, our capacities to be amiable/sociable have regressed in leaps and bounds. A large number of our kids do not want to go to school anymore. They feel secure, sitting all by themselves in the cozy precincts of their homes. They feel awkward to go to school again and interact with fellow-students and teachers, in particular. Whether teenagers or adults, all of us must shrug this dangerous mind-set which threatens to damage our social skills forever. Sit up and take notice and refuse to succumb to this impact of the virus. Gear up! We are social beings. If you have begun to increasingly like to spend time alone, it is fine to some extent but if you have begun to dislike or feel uncomfortable if and when friends or neighbors drop in for a visit, then you are in a red zone.

Get up, and rectify this scene. Rise up to this challenge, and meet it, HEADS-ON….

‘Emotionally’, we shall remain in good health if and only if we have taken good care of ourselves physically and also not allowed our social ties and relationships with loved ones to deteriorate. If the body is fit, and the social ties are sturdy (even if they are with a few souls), the strain on emotional well-being shall not defeat us. Or else, feelings such as those of loneliness; anger; helplessness; panic; and fear and hopelessness shall engulf us soon and threaten to not just give a jolt to our immune-systems but also to our sanity. Open-up with others; share jokes; laugh carefree; and don’t just be in frivolous and large groups as a passive member at the receiving end of hundreds of messages daily but be there in groups of three or four friends where you actually talk, listen and where you matter…

‘Economically’, the world has seen and shall continue to witness the most tumultuous changes. The most crucial lesson here, for us, is that we need to adapt; be flexible and be in tune with the changing times. Most important, a spare set of skills will have to be always kept handy. Those who till-date thrived in areas such as travel, tourism, entertainment, hotels, and other related areas have suffered catastrophic losses in this pandemic. Careers which seemed pretty lucrative hitherto, look bleak in the near future. Of course, all will be well soon but the point is that whether for TV stars or for musicians or those serving hotels or airlines----the hardships were terrible, and particularly so, for those who didn’t swiftly adapt/shift, to other sources/modes in order to keep the food on the table for their family. This uncertain phase has taught us the hard way, that no matter which is the area where you choose to excel, you must have Plans B and C as well. Also, we need to splurge a bit less in life and always keep our savings augmented.

Other than what we can do within our means, the rest of the economic consequences are way beyond our control. The impact of the sluggish trends in the realm of world trade will have to be borne by us all. Production, demand, consumption, supply-chains, ----all have been hit and may recover only gradually.

Yes, the times seem tough…

But, make a beginning. The next time a crisis tries to uproot us, it better find us standing sturdy and tall.

Start your preparations earnestly, for YOURSELF…

It’s your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.”--D.F.Uchtdorf

Navniit Gandhi is an academic since 25+ years; a feature writer (300+ articles), and has authored 9 books. Her write-ups can be read at
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