Can we have this side-effect, please?

Dr. Navniit Gandhi
Monday, May 3, 2021

Seriously, this corona virus can color crimson our celebrities and super-stars, for it has managed to dominate minds, talks, write-ups, conscious/waking hours and headlines for days as none of the super-rich or successful or the divas can ever wildly dream of...

Since life is drowned in a mixed pool of fears, speculations, grief, carelessness and audacity, as far as the corona pandemic is concerned, ---I feel I too must take a little request of mine-- out of my psyche, pen it down and send it out there or up there somewhere…

My request emanates out of a sheer sense of bewilderment and wonder as to why has something as basic as this, not so far happened: when life makes someone unexpectedly stare at death --bang on, the person recoils in fear and spontaneously makes a vow or implores that if he or she survives that moment or ordeal and is granted life---then he or she would ‘correct’ a wrong or repent over any sin or give up black acts or live life to the fullest or cease giving pain to others etc etc.

Well, isn’t it so? When a danger or a tragedy threatens to strike us hard all of a sudden, do we not fold our hands instinctively and look up and offer a deal to that power up there that: if only you save me now, I promise I shall not ......?

Well, I would… Won’t you?

And, just imagine how many millions have faced the scare from close quarters and so also, there are those millions who have actually suffered the worst and survived! Shouldn’t vows –in similar a proportion escape our lips?

This is such a natural thing to do so. Whenever adversity strikes and threatens our very being, even if we do not take a vow or implore God for a deal, we do certainly experience a pang deep within and it is but natural for us to make some such decision whereby at least a little part of our conduct is reformed. ‘Near-death experiences’ are supposed to hit us hard or open our eyes or shake us violently and make us sit up and get going a little bit differently.

I get pensive when I observe all around that a pandemic of such monstrous proportions has struck us hard, and yet we witness no churning happening in hearts. Millions have been caught unawares and struck like a bolt of lightning, and they have stared at death as never before, while thousands have been actually pulled out miraculously from the clutches of death before it could have gobbled them all, and yet no sign of a ‘shake-up’ is pretty much visible.

Do you know of anyone who was afflicted; who suffered but was saved/cured and has vowed to, for instance, ----never be cruel to stray animals, the helpless folks, fellow colleagues and not be insensitive or selfish with family members…?

Do you know of a covid survivor who has discontinued hoarding or cheating or swindling the government or fellow citizens? Or, probably someone who even lost a loved one as a result of this infection and thereafter experienced (should have been natural) a prick in the conscience and started paying the taxes or stopped spitting or took upon herself or himself the onus of being kind to all?

Dear God, can we have this side-effect, please? Well, clearly, the existing ones such as body-ache, fatigue, loss of taste/smell and others have been insufficient in ushering betterment of any kind at all. Since this suffering is upon us so severely, and we are staring at death all the time and living in fear perpetually---at least add this one side-effect please… Alas! Why is there is no mellowing down of ego, pride, and vanity visible all around even though life has turned topsy-turvy big time?
Wish that a crisis of this magnitude had made us all take some solemn vows, beginning with the simplest one: that we shall, on emerging unscathed, look at people and the world a little more positively and generously than we already do!

After spending more than a year locked-up inside homes, and after having suffered recession, pay-loss/cut and loss of near and dear ones, and having endured isolation, cracks in relationships and severe pain---physical, emotional and mental---can we, when all this is over, find this world just 1% better a place?

Can we have this one additional side-effect, please???

Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academic, writer, author and a trainer/counsellor. Her write-ups can be read at
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