All of us would agree that with the COVID 19 disruption, the world has hit a reset button. A few months ago, who would have believed that in the immediate future, we would remain locked down in our respective homes for weeks at a stretch. And, now, here we are. It is an imminent reality that the impact of COVID 19 will be felt for months and maybe years, even after the lockdown eases. Not only its economic fallout but also its social implications. Some of us may be lucky to escape unscathed, but there are tens of thousands who will have borne or will bear the loss of their near and dear ones. Millions have seen an erosion of their hard-earned savings, just feeding their families during this crisis. For many others, their sources of livelihood have just vanished as if these never existed. The havoc created by COVID 19 is probably the most defining moment since the last world war. Never in our recent memory has the entire world been brought to its knees like this before. Never have we felt as helpless as this before. Never have we come so close to doomsday.
We are slowly but surely rising to the challenge, which gives us the confidence that humanity will live through this disruption. In the midst of all this, I am wondering what is going to change in this world for better and what are the lessons, we as inhabitants of this planet would have learnt. How is this black swan event going to impact us as individuals, as communities and as a planet?
- Much-needed opportunity to pause and re-think where are we headed in our respective lives. What is the end purpose we are working towards?
- Become acutely aware of the fragility of life. Irrespective of the speed each of us travels at, everything comes to a stop at the red light.
- Many us will need to start afresh. Is this an opportunity to re-write our destinies? Do we just need to do things differently, or is it that we need to do different things?
- Living through scarcity and having our freedom curtailed is a hard lesson for this generation. Many of us have probably not encountered this as closely as this, to know its true meaning. We will hopefully now, value more what we have.
- Some of us would have survived through our addictions locked down in our homes. This could be an opportunity for them to stay that way — de-addicted and sober, rather than queueing up at the liquor stores!
- More closely knit and connected than ever before, we will know more about people around us and value the communities we live in.
- Resilience to face hardships and emerge stronger by supporting each other
- Awareness and consciousness for hygiene and sanitation will increase our levels of personal hygiene. This coming close on the heels of Swacch Bharat initiatives (in the Indian context) will mean cleaner communities going forward.
- Respect for some of our public institutions will go up, having seen their more humane side in this catastrophe.
- Disasters such as these are great equalisers, neither wealth nor fame nor power (ask Tom Hanks, Prince Charles, Boris Johnson or countries such as the US, UK or Italy) helps you get on the safe list is a lesson to remember.
- Redefine the way we work. Organisations sitting on the fence on ‘working from home’ policies are realising how effectively they can operate in this mode, this live pilot has proved it to them beyond doubt. More and more will adopt this as a new way to work.
- With this pause, nature has got the much-needed relief that it deserved to get. It has reclaimed some of what we have plundered in all these decades at an exponential rate. Will we be more conscious and considerate from here on?
- We don’t know what we don’t know. Reminder to us, that there is still so much to pursue and discover, despite all the scientific strides the world has taken so far.
- We all are in this together. How deeply connected the human race is and how borders don’t matter when it comes to disasters? Could we also see the world as one, when it comes to opportunities?
While we reset our lives as we come out of this, let us all hope this means more sensible individuals, a more deeply connected world and a more sustainable planet.
This is our best and possibly the last chance to inhabit a more sensitive, unified and civilised planet, let us make that happen!