2020: A Paradigm Shift

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A long time ago, a group of humans in China interfered with mother nature and brought along a bat with what is supposedly a pangolin to be sold on its ‘live’ markets.

The exchange that followed between the two creatures would alter the course of history for mankind in the 21st century. A pathogen so minuscule and so infectious, that it could cripple major economies without being detected through any medium. Such was the impact of the virus, that it led to the closure of several major economic activities to slow down its spread.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world went about their activities unabated, assuming that this mysterious virus would be contained in its tracks. Like a true feminist, the virus swooped in and unequivocally affected all sections of humanity. Be it the rich or poor, VIP or a commoner, old or young, or any gender for that matter; everyone was equally affected.

Suddenly, everyone was displaced from their loved ones and friends and the implications were yet to be realized. Healthcare systems were stretched to their limits and industries were laying off employees in order to cut costs and survive. On the other side of the coin, education across the world suffered a big blow, and misinformation and hate campaigns across social media spread like wildfire, instilling fear and anxiety among people.

Nature’s plan seemed to have worked well so far, but that was only a teaser to the actual movie. While the virus was keeping people busy on their toes, other disruptions such as cyclones, earthquakes, storms, and a locust attack were deployed all at once to test the mettle of the most intelligent species. These calamities left a trail of destruction in its tracks and left health care workers and medical professionals with no choice but to offer medical care and attention to critical patients while the other unfortunate ones were left to take care of themselves.

All these incidents point back to a single phenomenon — climate change. It is now time for the world to wake from its slumber and assess the impact of climate change on our planet.

That was the story of 2020. What could 2021 bring along to the store?

2021: Heartbreak (so far)

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The year 2020 changed the way we operated and lived. There were many hardships endured and a lot of new learnings to take forward with us to the new year. With the promise of vaccines, the road to recovery looked like a fairytale, or was it?

“We are all victims of our own making.”

This is an old saying in English, but it is the most appropriate description of the events that preceded until now.

Instead of looking at the bigger picture, most of us (including yours truly) were fed up with sitting at home, and we were all busy looking for excuses to step into the outside world. Unfortunately, these actions went against the recommendations of scientists and the medical community, who were the undisputed warriors against the virus.

The frustration of the public was complemented by the apathy of our government, and this situation escalated into the worst phase of the pandemic in our country. Scores of people outside participating in election rallies and festivals gave the virus enough incentives to spread and infect people as quickly as possible.

Inevitably, the majority of the states and territories imposed movement restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. Owing to the massive spike in caseload, healthcare systems were thrown in for a toss and there was a massive demand for medical oxygen along with ICU beds. The situation was unprecedented and it spiraled into further chaos, confusion, and stress. Unfortunately, many of our loved ones lost the battle against the disease and it left us feeling helpless and heartbroken. Even mortuaries and crematories couldn’t keep up with the pile-up of bodies with many reporting that there wasn’t enough space or firewood to burn the bodies.

The grim situation was made worse with a special group of scammers profiting from the needy and desperate. These devious groups of people hired various middlemen to partake in such elaborate scams with the assistance of a larger network. Overpricing of essential supplies and medicines was taken to several manifolds and it was offered to grieving families at the cost of something else.

Last but not least, two regions with a decades old conflict resorted to violence and warfare to settle down the spat. It was all but a juxtaposition of an old-fashioned war against modern-day suffering.

With all this happening, will there come a day where we can all go back to our lives?

Humanity and Hope

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What I uncovered was just a small fraction among a myriad other issues across the globe. If there was one thing that the pandemic truly exposed, it was the fragility of these ‘well-oiled’ corporate structures and policies.

I am no expert on these corporate mechanisms, but anyone with common sense would note that these systems relied on a meticulous and almost faultless supply chain network. They were all doomed to failure under unforeseen circumstances such as the ongoing pandemic. While efficiency ensures that things run smoothly, it is also important to adapt to ever-changing situations.

For mankind, adaptability and innovation run deep in our blood and it is because of the same reason that we’ve come this far in the 21st century. Technology has enabled us to remain connected at all times whilst extending help to those in need in the quickest way possible.

While a lot of things have changed from the past, the human touch continues to remain as strong as ever. Several frontline workers, good samaritans, and professionals rose to the occasion to save lives and help other people by setting up several clusters to arrange for beds and cylinders, creating mobile and web applications, posting and sharing relevant information on social media including databases, and working around the clock with the authorities to ensure a hassle-free process.

What does this all convey?

No matter the extent of a crisis, humanity has a way of bringing people together to fight for a common cause and to boost hope and morale against all odds. 

In order to prevent such a situation from happening again, we all need to make our own choices. In this current scenario, we need to empathize with our healthcare workers and try to understand their situation by putting ourselves in their shoes. Though difficult, it is imperative for us to follow the official guidelines and protocols set by the government and medical institutions in order to protect ourselves and others from the disease.

The power of making a choice is heavily understated today. Any choice we make triggers an action and every action is associated with particular consequences. All consequences are interconnected in some way or the other. It is important to note that the choice we make could make or break the current state of our planet. This phenomenon is known as the butterfly effect.

We could all choose to continue down this road or we could take a leap of faith and make a choice for the betterment of our world. 

For our health and wellbeing. For all sentient and insentient beings. For our nature and surroundings. And most importantly, for our planet.

Choose wisely.

Disclaimer: Originally published on Medium.