With coronavirus cases increasing daily in Delhi at an exponential rate, a staffer from the University of Delhi (DU)’s School of Open Learning (SOL) tests positive for the virus.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has been raging across India since March, 2020. With the country under an unprecedented lockdown and no end in the near sight coupled with the rise in cases, India currently has around 40,000 active cases with around 2000 people succumbing to the virus. With the virus still spreading after more than twomonths of lockdown in Delhi, one of the latest people to be infected with it is a staffer serving in Delhi University (DU).
The Staffer who works as an junior assistant-cum-typist in the School of Open Learning got tested positive for Corona Virus on 5 May 2020. It is suspected that he caught the disease after going to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for a routine check up, one of the hospitals where majority of the fatalities of the deadly coronavirus have been reported.

After developing mild breathing problems, an early indicator of the virus, the staffer got himself tested at a private facility. After finding himself to be positive for Coronavirus, he reported himself to the authorities and has been quarantined at the Narela Quarantine Centre.

The man who was staying with his aged parents at the staff quarters in Dhaka, Northwest Delhi before being moved to the quarantine centre. His wife and children were away and the university and local authorities have been informed, with the staff quarters at Dhaka about the necessary precautions and safety of the inhabitants, and an immediate sanitization of the area for the same.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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The existing peer pressure online to be “productive” is bound to make you question your futility and lack of productivity during the quarantine period. But, who said that the quarantine period is a contest? 

“If you have not learnt any new skills during this lockdown, you lack discipline!” 

“Learn how to use your time productively and amp your CV!”

“How do I use my free time during the lockdown?”

“How can I be more productive?”

LinkedIn overflows with enthusiastic students and professionals uploading tons of certification courses and virtual internships. Instagram overflows with budding chefs, YouTubers and content creators displaying their latest dish, video and DIYs. The existent peer pressure is bound to make you question your futility and lack of productivity during the quarantine period. However, the question that thus arises is, have we given in to the productivity guilt or not?

With an ample amount of time to spare, the idle mind surely cooks up conspiracy theories and fan fiction and that is alright! We have spent days and nights working, hoping to get the perfect CV ready. Over-work, over-stress, this is a much-needed break. The quarantine is nature’s way to ask us to calm down, to take a break, re-think and pause. 

Rhea Dsouza, a student of Jesus and Mary College reminds us to take a break amidst this world-shaking pandemic, “Think of all the times you have had to overwork yourself and do the extra deed. Look at this as a well-deserved break from all the times you overdid yourself.”

People are on the streets, dying. People are on the hospital beds, dying. It is a pandemic, a historical event which defines the course of history. Crude oil hits below USD 0, we await a global recession, world-leaders have tested positive, the world today is anything but normal. Some have the perseverance and strength to continue with their day’s work without any intrusive thoughts. 

As an individual with anxiety, it is not easy. The fear is not intermittent; it is constant, consistent, steady and staring right into your eyes. I too believed let’s work on that CV, managing over four jobs, two internships, assignments, societies, a stable relationship, an unstable family and mental health later, I quit. Life is more than aiming to ace the perfect CV, sacrifice your family and social life to work, work and work! 

A student of Ramjas College, Pranjal Gupta juggles amidst six jobs and internships and fails to draw the line between academics and productivity. “Ever since the lockdown, I’ve been checking people’s profile on LinkedIn. When I see them doing so many things, achieving so much at this stage of their lives there is this constant fear that haunts me, “Am I not giving my best?”, “Why did I miss this opportunity?”, “Shall I enrol in this or that?”  I have involved myself in so much that I seem to be lost somewhere and not know what my hobbies are.”

The relationship between productivity and capitalism is an old, toxic one. The hustle culture points towards a notion that those who don’t hustle, they cannot succeed. There is no harm in staring at the wall for day’s ends, binge-watching the same show countless times, experimenting in the kitchen, bonding over board games with your family, you have the rein to your life in your palms, only you can direct it, not social media gimmicks. 

Pranjal continues, “Lockdown hasn’t given me a chance to be bored and actually fuel me with a drive to do something new, I’m just running like a sheep. Is this how I’m going to be different from the crowd? Without any introspection in such historic times?”

We need to be gentle with ourselves, there is only so much that our body and brain is capable of, without the burnout phase. Some people thrive under stress, some don’t. Some can learn a new language, some take multiple efforts in simply getting out of the bed. Some seek solace in working relentlessly, some can hardly breathe. Today, if you have taken a deep breath filling yourself with the rejuvenating air, that is enough. Just breath. 

Featured Image Credits: Instagram

Anandi Sen

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The COVID-19 situation has created an unprecedented period of complexity and uncertainty. Fears about the virus can take
an emotional toll, especially for college students, who are suddenly thrust into choppy and uncharted waters.

As college students, we are in a time of massive upheaval. There are so many things outside our control, including how long the pandemic lasts, how other people behave, and what the future holds. That is a tough thing to accept, and so many of us respond by endlessly searching the internet for answers and thinking over all the different scenarios that might happen.

But as long as we are focusing on questions with unknowable answers and circumstances outside of our personal control, this strategy will get us nowhere aside from feeling drained, anxious, and overwhelmed. Universities across the nation have resorted to online teaching methods to ensure that there is no academic loss.
However, many students are not comfortable with the teaching process, while, others face the issue of internet connectivity as an impediment to access online classes. In times like these, it is vital to stay informed about the happenings globally and follow the required precautions. Sensationalistic media coverage and misinformation will only add to fear and uncertainty, so keep a tab on the information that is shared with you. Stick to trusted sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO) to discern information about the pandemic. Do not constantly check for updates on social media, it becomes compulsive at one point of time. Stay away from media altogether, if you feel overwhelmed. With the US President Trump repeatedly referring to coronavirus as ‘Chinese virus’ fuelling theories that the virus was a biological weapon used by China, things have taken an odd turn with people using it as an excuse to attack the natives of Northeast India.
A report by Rights and Risk Analysis group shows that residents of the Northeast part of the nation are facing racism and discrimination ever since the onset of the global pandemic. The report titled, ‘Coronavirus Pandemic : India’s Mongoloid Looking People Face Upsurge of Racism’ cited at least 22 cases of racial discrimination or hate crimes against such people between 7th February and 25th March. These incidents are not very new to the University of Delhi (DU). On 22nd March, an M.Phil student from Manipur was spat on near North Campus and called ‘coronavirus’. A similar incident was reported by two female students of Kirori Mal College (KMC) when they were harassed and called ‘coronavirus’ by a group of six men, who also threw water balloons on them on 3rd March. On a social media group called the ‘Northeast Solidarity Group’, people are sharing their stories of ill-treatment by their neighbours and the society in general. All this clearly exhibits the cruelty and apathy towards the people from Northeastern part of our very own country.

Recently, I attended an online session which talked about ways to manage and control anxiety during the global pandemic. It reflected on the desire of humans to manage and  control everything. What I learnt through the session was that grounding yourself in the present situation will help you spin out the negativity and panic. I also know that this is easier said than done.

There are questions, a lot of questions surrounding us right now, some of them like- what about exams? Will they take place online? What about graduation or admission to a master’s degree? However, I firmly believe that spiralling out the what-ifs from our life in a situation like this will help us to feel calmer. Humans are social animals and are hardwired for communication. This is why it is important to stay connected digitally. Social media has emerged as a powerful to communicate with friends and family, in-person meetings have now been substituted for video calls, which more or less acts as boosters for our mental health.
Nevertheless, don’t let the coronavirus dominate your conversation. Remember to take breaks from the stressful situation and talk about work, family, share jokes and laughter. Be kind to yourself, maintain a routine, take out time for the activities you enjoy, exercise, and most importantly, help others. Amid all the stories of people hoarding up the essential supplies and fighting for toilet paper, all of us need to remember, we all are in this together.
I would conclude with a quote circulating in Italy, which says, “We’re standing far apart now so we can embrace each other later.”

Anoushka Sharma 

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As COVID-19 has resulted in a war-like situation around the world, we are not only battling the disease but also our mental conflicts. Seeing this, an alumnus of our university has started an initiative that will not only help us to utilise our time better, but also showcase our talents. Read on to find out.

Being under quarantine is not easy and with a lot of time to spare, people tend to only suffer physically but also mentally. In such situations, all one needs is a way or a platform via which they can share their emotions. The platform ‘The Talented Indian’ is providing people with just that.

They have started the initiative #CreativityAtHome to help people make better use of their time. It is worth mentioning that the platform has a huge audience and thus provides a good medium for us to showcase our talent.

The Talented Indian is a digital media platform started by DU alumnus, Akash Kamal. He along with a couple of friends started this project six years ago with a single aim, ‘To explore the unexplored talent of Indians’. The platform has come a long way since.

The word “Talent, as Akash Kamal defines it, is not only confined to the performing arts but also includes poetry, storytelling, photography, sketching, sculpting, etc. We also cater to bring out the stories of people engaged in entrepreneurial activities, social service, and philanthropic activities. For us, every person is uniquely talented and we aim to create a level playing field for every artist while appreciating their craft.

Talking to us about the inspiration of this idea, he says, “Some time back I happened to meet a corporate executive of a major MNC. He was not only an exotic painter but also a versatile musician. While being so good he never had enough time to invest in his talents. On seeing his artworks I thought of giving him and so many like him a platform where they can showcase their talents. Thus we started the initiative. And even though quarantine has locked us inside our houses, it has given us one thing in abundance, time. Apart from this, sharing your talents helps a person to feel better, mentally and in a time when news channels are filled negativity creativity serves as a great getaway.”

One can showcase their talents or artworks via tagging The Talented Indian on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If the artwork is shortlisted, it gets featured on the website. Also if the talent showcased is exceptional then the creator is live streamed on the platform’s social media. 

Featured Image Credits: Recent submissions to #CreativityAtHome via (The Talented Indian via Twitter)

Aniket Singh Chauhan

[email protected]


The National Pet Day 2020 is a bit uncanny as it overlaps with a nation-wide lockdown. We bring you some tales from pet-owners as they tell us about their tailed-friends.

COVID-19 has been the most dramatic plot twist in 2020 as WFH (Work From Home) and silent streets become a part of our lives. While quarantine hasn’t been a welcoming change to some, our whiskered friends have some concerns and views about staying with their humans all day long. We understood that it would be hard to understand how they feel, so we rather asked some pet owners about their quaran-time with their pets.

“Quarantine is definitely a change for Jugnu because he sits in my room when I am at college. He is really surprised to see me at home all day long!
Whenever I am busy mopping the floor, he comes around to give me the social support I need. He gets busy with the broom or the mop, looking at him play, reduces all the workload. He is a constant companion during the online classes. He walks over the keyboard when I type my assignments but that is fine!
In a nutshell, I am never alone, he is the only one keeping me sane during these times”

– Anusha Khan (Mr. Jugnu’s Human)

Image Credits: Anusha Khan Image Caption: Anusha with Mr. Jugnu
Image Credits: Anusha Khan
Image Caption: Anusha with Mr. Jugnu

“Scampy has been the happiest and fattest bitch I know! She goes from one room to another to get loved. Once a person is tired, she switches rooms. She is being fed so much more than necessary.
The only time I go out of the house is when I walk her for two kilometres, twice a day. I think those are my favourite four hours of the day. She is the only one giving me purpose right now.”

– Shyla Sharma (Miss Scampy’s Human)

Image Credits: Shyla Sharma Image Captions: Shyla with Mr. Scampy
Image Credits: Shyla Sharma
Image Captions: Shyla with Mr. Scampy

“For starters, whenever the family gets down together to play a game like cards or ludo, she wants to be included as well so she brings her ball, her way to tell us that she wants to play!
She is loving the fact that everyone is at home and is always in a cuddly mood. Even though the whole family isn’t together all the time, she is satisfied that we’re all under the same roof.
One day when my parents went to buy the groceries, they took Misty as well. When they returned, Misty literally tried to pull dad’s mask off so that she could lick his face- as a gesture to thank him for taking her out for a drive.
But I remember the time she got scared and shivered a lot when the crackers were burst on 22March and 5 April respectively.”

– Rhea D’Souza (Miss Misty’s Human)

Image Credits: Rhea D'Souza for DU Beat Image Caption: Rhea with Mr. Misty
Image Credits: Rhea D’Souza for DU Beat
Image Caption: Rhea with Miss Misty

“I have a nine months old cat. She is super loving and very cuddly, contrary to what most people think about felines. Since she is an indoor cat, I do not face the problem of not being able to take her for regular walks or as such. However, she clearly likes having her alone time (haha). But now that everyone’s at home, I don’t know how it is for her. For me, I’m super happy. With a hectic college routine, I couldn’t give her as much time, now, it’s all hers. I’m around her the entire day. I am ten times happier since I am around her. I wonder once this period is over and my routine resumes, how much I’m going to miss her!”

– Ashwini Iyer (Miss Meow’s Human)

Image Credits: Ashwini Iyer for DU BEAT Image Caption: Ashwini with Miss Meow
Image Credits: Ashwini Iyer for DU BEAT
Image Caption: Ashwini with Miss Meow

This unusual National Pet Day, give your pets the purr-fect gift – your time, belly rubs and boops! DU Beat wishes you a very Happy National Pet Day!

Featured Image Credits: Priyanshi Banerjee for DU BEAT

Priyanshi Banerjee

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Self-quarantining is the best way to beat the coronavirus, but there are not many ways to beat boredom amidst the country’s lockdown. Here is a list of underrated Netflix movies that you can obsess over.

1. 50/50 (2011)
The movie is closely inspired by its writer, Will Reiser, and his own battle with cancer. Seth Rogen’s character is also based on his own experience. This comedy-drama essentially captures the hardships faced by a cancer patient. The protagonist, Adam Lerner, is diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called schwannoma neurofibrosarcoma that has a survival rate of 50/50.


Image Credits: Way Too Indie

2. The Platform (2019)
This science fiction horror-thriller movie is set in a prison the inmates are provided food through a distinct platform that descends the levels of the prison tower. This distribution system is immensely flawed as the prisoners on top levels have an unfair advantage of procuring more food, and the ones living below have no option but to accept the food that is left.


Image Credits: Collider

3. The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
Starring Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez, this comedy-drama revolves around an 18-year-old boy named Trevor, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and his relationship with his caregiver, played by Paul Rudd. Trevor dreamt of visiting the world’s deepest pit which eventually pans out perfectly as the team embarks on a journey to fulfill his wishes.

the fundamentals of caring

Image Credits: Iowa State Daily

4. 6 Days (2017)
This action-thriller is based on a real event, revolving around the siege which took place when armed gunmen entered the Iranian Embassy in London and took twenty six people as hostages in April 1980. It took six days to finally have a standoff that leads to inevitable consequences.

6 days

Image Credits: NME.com

5. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The movie stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, and this romantic-comedy essentially revolves around their dysfunctional bond that strengthens as they get to know each other a little better. Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, has bipolar disorder and was released from the psychiatric hospital after an episode wherein he catches his wife with another man.

silver linings playbook

Image Credits: The Guardian

6. Before I Go to Sleep (2014)
Based on a novel by S.J Watson with the same name, this psychological thriller film stars Nicole Kidman who plays the role of Christine who wakes up every morning with a man she does not know and forgets the happenings every night as she goes to sleep, and wakes up the next morning with a clean slate and no memory of how ended up in that bed.

before i go to sleep

Image Credits: Los Angeles Times

7. Uncut Gems (2019)
The viewers will not witness Adam Sandler as his usual funny self, but as a Jewish gambling addict who must retrieve a precious gem he bought to pay off his debts.

uncut gems

Image Credits: The Mill

Feature Image Credits: India Today

Suhani Malhotra

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Where to find a recluse when a physical world is at bay? Perhaps, the crevices of the books might provide a substantial answer to our skepticism and nervosity.

It was beyond human comprehension to imagine a state where the fast paced connectivity and communication in this universe, cosmopolitan encapsulation would be limited to the four walls of our homes. The global COVID-19 outbreak has certainly compelled the entire human race to rethink about its place and destination. While almost everything in this world is under a halt, to ensure the prevention of transmission of virus, governments all over the world have adopted lockdowns as a measure to tackle this pandemic. Markets, offices, public places everything has been shut down and so are the schools, universities, and institutions.

With the closure of many workplaces people have been asked to work from home and try to keep the chain in continuation; many educational institutions have also turned to online mode of teaching, with its effectiveness at such scale under the question radar, what needs to be reiterated here is that our studies and learning that must be identified as one of the most important things can be put in a better status than the quo.

In an unrestricted environment, studies can not only get more utilitarian but can even garner the interest and passion it deserves. When a major portion of our learning approaches tend to be towards the qualification of examination and other parameters, the actual purpose of understanding often gets killed to rote learning and mechanical trends as designed notes and selective study.

Without any doubt, our normal lives are intensely packed under the clock with tight schedules and deadlines, where a passionate study gets extremely difficult, but in a situation where we are struggling to keep ourselves busy- a completely dedicated study doesn’t seem like a bad option at all.

Utilize these times for in-depth study and subscribe to ideas and questions that matter the most, prepare notes and write papers, try a different way to do things, focus on areas where you are underperforming – not to perform better but introspect the fallacies and development of interest, read suggested texts refer to additional texts as well, learn all that you possibly can and put the quarantine to best use.

While many students are preparing for their entrances, one can utilize this to cover the most of it. Srajit Kumar, a final year history student of Jamia Millia Islamia feels that, “this is the best time to study. Being in the last year of graduation, a lot of people like myself are facing an uncertain future in every sense of the word. So, this is the best time to buckle up and study as much as we can. There are no external distractions, the climate is suitable, and this is the best time to strategize and get to the books.” Kumar even feels that because of the uncertainty of the world around us and the scramble for finding our own selves, it’s very essential that we find some semblance of sense in these crazy times and studying is just a part of a routine, which is the first principle of survivalism.

Although, there are various ways to achieve this mode of studying one can opt for techniques like – Pomodoro Studying, where one can engage in other activities at fixed intervals to continue the study for a long time those who aim to memorise multiple things can resort to ways like Spaced Repetiton as well, the idea is to use flash cards to highlight the key points and could be a good option for medical and history students.

Education has no boundaries and caters to an open methodology but in these constricted circumstances, studying can certainly provide us the necessary. So, pick your books, sit on your desks and fall in love with learning.


Feature Image Credits: Mayank Gulati for DU Beat

Faizan Salik

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With an increasing number of people getting isolated because of social distancing or quarantine, the ‘free-time’ that we have can be overwhelming and mentally isolating at times. 

Between the constant news alerts, memes and numerous WhatsApp forwards, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious and tense because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With too much time in your hand, it gets all the more important to take care of oneself.


Routine for the win

There is too much uncertainty right now. While you cannot control the situation around, you can take charge of your daily actions and form a routine. Getting enough sleep and proper nutrition, video calling loved ones, prayer, and breathwork makes one feel better. Opt for indoor exercises, solo dance and singing sessions. 


Get Creative

The best way to divert one’s mind from negative thoughts is to spend creative quality time with oneself. Read, research, draw, paint, sing, dance, cook – anything that you like, now is the time to start it again. Pick up a new hobby – you could learn a new instrument, a different language or try gardening maybe. 

self-care illustration aishwaryaa

Image Credits: Abbey Lossing


Political Science student at SGTB Khalsa College, Suhani says, “I’ve begun painting. I’m trying to focus on learning new things. I go through online courses and tutorials. It keeps me productive and distracted from all the other things.” 

You could also start a journal. It doesn’t have to be all Tumblr-ish fancy – begin with writing the best and worst things about your day, something you are grateful for or a new skill that you learnt. Make a list of things you’ve always wanted to do, it’ll be a reminder when boredom or anxiety starts kicking in.


Connect and reconnect, virtually though

While you are at a ‘social distance’ from your loved ones, you should still be connected to your college friends, old school friends, cousins and family. Set up video calls or write them an email. Form a Netflix party or binge read books together – trust me, there is no better time than this to reconnect with them. In the hectic college days, we often miss out on family time. Amidst the lockdown, now that everyone is probably working from home, talk to your parents and grandparents. Go through old pictures and revisit those memories. 

Prachi, a second-year student at Indraprastha College for Women says, “I’ve been helping my mother with cooking all the meals and it actually helps me spend a lot of time. We talk and our bonding has improved so much. Learning new recipes is almost a therapy now.”

Learning to use technology in a socially healthy way is crucial in times like these. React to stories, share memes and write good things about each other – a little online kindness certainly goes a long way.


News and Alerts

There are a whole lot of rumors, fake news and solutions about the virus that keep circulating. Because it’s crucial to stay informed, refer to news from official sources only. However stop when you feel it is getting too much. Take a break. It can get upsetting to see the updates, videos and images repeatedly. 


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following are common signs of distress –

  • Feeling of numbness, fear or anxiety
  • Changes in energy levels and appetite
  • Difficulty in sleeping due to upsetting thoughts
  • Nervousness

Look out for these and talk to your closed ones about it. It gets important to let it out. However, remember friends and family are not therapists. Seek professional help if the need arises. William James had said, “The greatest weapon against stress is your ability to choose one thought over another.”

While the pandemic is expected to persist, you must stay composed and spending quality time with yourself can help the most. Preserve your mental health while avoiding physical proximity.


Feature Image Credits: Hannah Jacobs for Yahoo Beauty

Aishwaryaa Kunwar

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As soon as the lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on March 24th, the Ministry of Home Affairs put down the rules and regulations which are to be followed during the lockdown. Read on to find out.

The whole nation has been under complete lockdown since March 24. The lockdown, as of now, is 21 day long and a lot of us have various confusions over the do’s and don’ts of the same. And this confusion and deliberation has led to various social media memes about police taking action against those who violated the lockdown. So to save you from becoming a meme here’s guide of the things and activities that you can and can’t do during these 21 says.

What is shut? 

Most State and Union Territory government offices will remain shut. However, police stations and municipal bodies for essential services like municipal bodies, administrative services, home guards, electricity, water and sanitation will function with minimum staff
Offices of the Government of India, its Autonomous/Subordinate Offices bad Public Corporations shall remain closed. With exemption to Defence, CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces), Disaster management, post offices, National Informatics Centre and Early Warning Agencies
Commercial and private establishments that work in non-essential services will remain shut and work-from-home
All educational institutions, including coaching classes, will remain shut
All places of worship will be closed to the public. No religious congregation will be permitted–without exceptions. Funerals are permitted but attendance will be capped at 20 persons
Transport services (air, rail and roadways) will be suspended. Only transportation for essential and emergency services will continue to function


What is open? 

Hospitals, nursing homes, dispensaries, chemists and ambulance services
Shops and stores selling groceries, fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and fish
Banks, ATMs and insurance offices
Petrol pumps as well as CNG and LPG stations
Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment through e-commerce.
Private security services


Can I order online? 

Yes, you can order essential items like food, medicines, etc. via online platforms like Zomato, Flipkart, Amazon, Grofers, Big Basket, Medlife, Pharm Easy.etc. However these platforms are only serving select cities and localities.

Can I go outside my house? 

You can go step outside your house, however, there are certain conditions related to it. A person is allowed to only step out only in case of an emergency or a valid reason. Valid reasons may include the need to buy rations, medicines, essential/life sustainingcommodities, etc. and you are required to do so only in your local areas of residence  

What if I violate the lockdown measures? 

The refusal to abide by the directions given by the Central as well as the state governments will result into a fine or/and an imprisonment of up to one year. If the unruly behaviour persists then the sentence may extend upto two years.

How do I approach doctors if I develop COVID-19 symptoms? 

You are allowed to go the hospital in case you develop any symptom related to COVID-19.

How can I reach out for help? 

Apart from this, you may also reach out for help via these phone numbers:-

Central Helpline: +91-11-23978046 and 1075
Central Helpline E-mail: ncov2019@gov.in or ncov2019@gmail.com
Delhi Helpline: 011-22307145
Uttar Pradesh Helpline: 18001805145
Haryana Helpline: 8558893911

Image Credits: Jewel Samad/AFP 

Aniket Singh Chauhan

[email protected]

Suddenly, no more do you hear the rattle of bullets, nor do you see any Sisyphean clashes in the name of religion or beliefs.  All you see is concern for loved ones and prayers for the ones afflicted. The current pandemic has showcased how beauteous humanity really is.

The year 2020 has been terrifying. We never could have anticipated such testing and difficult times. Our everyday lives and activities have come to halt as we battle against a microscopic enemy, who is gnawing at our strength and harmony every second. Entire countries have been locked down, more than 14,000 people have lost their lives, flights and trains have been cancelled and people have been  asked to quarantine themselves; scaring us all whether this is the end of the world as we know it. Sir Francis Bacon quoted, “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” And in these dark times, the innate benevolence, unity and resilience of humans have transpired as our gleam of light.

The entire atmos has been engulfed in clouds of dismay and gloom but from different corners of the world we also hear stories of courage, magnanimity and empowerment. Usually, movies depict state of affairs like these as total chaos, people going into frenzy, turning bloodthirsty for survival and so on. Although some people have contributed to mayhem by hoarding sanitizers, toilet papers and other necessary items and by spreading fake news and lies; it is well evident that during such a threatening pandemic we have not descended into anarchy. Videos from countries such as Spain and Italy are being shared in which residents can be seen holding musical concerts and singing to the tunes of famous songs, from their balconies in order to raise each other’s spirits. As the elderly is under the highest risk and advised to be under strict self – isolation, their neighbors, random strangers and numerous people on platforms like Nextdoor app are offering to help them buy groceries, medicines, etc. Many celebrities have also taken up the responsibility of spreading awareness and asking people not to panic. For instance, Ndlovu Youth Choir, a group of young South African singers released a catchy music video to raise awareness of proper hygiene and optimism.  Some even have donated to address the supply shortages of necessary goods and to food banks, while others decided to pay for the salaries of certain workers who will be greatly affected by the shutdown. Few celebrities have also come up with unique ways to help out like Josh Gad, the voice behind Olaf from Frozen, has been live streaming himself, reading from his favourite children’s book while Lizzo, an American singer, recently hosted a 30 minute meditation session on Instagram. The coronavirus outbreak has shown that the medical staff, sanitation workers, people running grocery shops, pharmacies and other authorities working day in and day out to aid us are the real heroes of current times, and the masses have recognized and appreciated their selfless service by clapping and beating thalis (steel plates). Another incredible aspect of this turmoil is the encouragement given to all to talk about any mental health issues they are facing, through means of social media and helpline numbers. 

Apart from all these positive and consoling instances, cases of hostility and racial discrimination have also been reported from different places. Incidents like a woman at an Australian supermarket allegedly pulled a knife on a man in a confrontation over toilet paper, a Singaporean student of Chinese ethnicity was beaten up on the streets of London, an Asian man was left stranded on a road in Egypt and bullied by the passers – by, and many North – eastern students in Delhi were taunted and called ‘Corona’; are not only infuriating but also show that some of us can stoop so low. This kind of demeanour and attitude is a thousand times more deadly than the virus itself. 

Rebecca Solnit, in her book ‘A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster’ (2011) which examines the resiliency of human beings during catastrophic times quoted, “Disaster doesn’t sort us out by preferences; it drags us into emergencies that require we act, and act altruistically, bravely, and with initiative in order to survive or save the neighbors, no matter how we vote or what we do for a living.” We must realize that all of us are dealing with a common enemy. This silent killer has already ruined many lives and families. It is high time that we shun our differences and contribute in whatever capacity to the higher cause of defeating COVID – 19 before it further ravages our lives. We must not let this crisis shatter our dreams and toilings rather use it to bring out the best in us and empower all. In the end, the ‘marvelous’ words of T’Challa from the movie Black Panther are sure to inspire us and must define our future course – 

“We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.”

Image Credits – Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

Ipshika Ghosh

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