I have been reading so many forwards about the kind of horror 2020 has been. This leap year has tossed human existence on its head, transformed life as none of us could have imagined. I looked into my heart and I found I have a lot of gratitude for the year 2020.
I’m grateful to be alive. 723 doctors in India died looking after patients. Some died from duty in Covid wards, some from surgeries and others from doing regular out patient duty. I’m alive, and managed to stay Covid negative through 9 months of seeing patients. That is the biggest achievement this year.❤️
Two cousins’ family’s developed covid, but recovered at home. So did many friends. One friend had a desaturation of upto 86% and needed hospitalisation.He’s back home, and I’m so grateful for that. We lost a 32 year old member of our extended family and that was a shocking tragedy. We lost my bua this week and her kids couldn’t come as UK-India flights have shut down. The hurt and pain from this year will be etched in our hearts for a long time.
Globally 17 lakh people died and 1.44 lakh in India. All these were lives that were cruelly cut short by a virus and could have been long productive ones. I’ve learnt how important life is and have begun to cherish each day like never before. I try very hard to remain in the present, enjoy each minute and stay in gratitude every day. I’ve stopped quarrelling, fretting and getting annoyed. I laugh louder and say I love you a lot more. No one knows which day will be our last.
As a family I don’t remember having spent so much time together. With online school, children wake up late and stay at home all day. It’s been wonderful having them around, chatting between classes, having all meals together. We even did a lot of cooking together in the lockdown days. We started a tradition of daily family video calls with my parents and siblings’ families. It’s the next best thing to a real hug. Technology has helped us feel a part of each other’s daily lives. Definitely a tradition we would like to continue in future.
In the sudden and prolonged lockdown there were lakhs of people who did not have enough to eat. Thousands of Indians walked home during the late phases of the lockdown. We are blessed to have had enough on our plates and in our homes through it all. The government ensured the food supply chain did not falter even one tiny bit and there was no shortage of food, milk, vegetables or anything else. We were able to help people less fortunate with cars filled with ration, cooked and uncooked food. Not a day goes by when I don’t thank the farmers who’s hands toiled and ensured grain on our plates.
Crores of people lost their jobs in the lockdown and the economic slowdown afterwards. Every day I read messages of people looking for work. April and May were very difficult financially for most self employed people including doctors. I’m grateful we had enough savings to stay afloat through the roughest phase, that we were able to pay the people who depend on us through it all….and glad things are now looking better.
There are many households struggling to pay rent, EMI, school fees even today. Hope things get better very soon for everyone, and hope we never take our abundance for granted.
There are many industries that have suffered a lot like retail, fashion, lifestyle, tourism, restaurants and hotels. There are others who did very well including software, telecom, internet providers, online entertainment and shopping websites. Cinema houses are struggling to open but online entertainment had the biggest boom ever. Actors struggling for years got unprecedented success.
Live news reporters showed unprecedented courage like covering the Hathras incident but people like Arnab pushed the entire country into a frenzy about a star suicide, mg of drugs and Bollywood scandals. I discovered I couldn’t care less and continued ignoring mainstream media both television and print. I’ve learned to follow news on Facebook, Twitter and Inshorts at my own pace without the hyperbole.I’ve missed out nothing and enjoy the peace.
I miss meeting friends but I also value them more. It’s wonderful when suddenly one bumps into a known face in the lift or the walking track. One looks back at old times when we ate cake after someone had blown the candles on it. That is never going to happen again in our lifetime 😂
Vaccination is about to start, and I do hope the vaccines are safe and very effective. Hope the mutated virus strains don’t make life worse and that we can begin to meet, greet and travel like before. Hope people wear masks on their noses and help make the pandemic a distant memory.
Dear 2020, thank you for the lessons you taught us- the fragility of human life, gratitude for what we have and a sense of oneness with humanity. Hope 2021 gives us fun days, happy times and good health for all.
The Central Council for Indian medicine under the AYUSH ministry published a notification in the gazette allowing Ayurveda Doctors to perform 58 kinds of surgeries including appendicectomy, cataract, intestinal resection, tympanoplasty, mastoidectomy, endoscopic sinus surgery, gynae, dental and orthopaedic procedures.
This notification has the Indian Medical Association up in arms at what they feel is a step to dilute the standards of medical care in the country. Considering that General Surgeons are legally not allowed to carry out Eye, ENT or Gynecological surgery as they lack the required surgical training, how can the government expect an Ayurveda surgeon to be trained in so many varied fields in a 3 year course of MS Ayurveda?
A tiny virus all of which can be physically contained in a teaspoon, has altered the human race’s behaviour in the past 9 months.
We lost a young family member in April, so I could not take this disease lightly. 706 doctors died of Covid-19 in India alone, some as young as 25 years. For everyone who continues to walk without a mask and say “Corona se kuch nahin hota” I hope you will take a minute to think about all the families who lost their loved ones in the line of national duty.
Someone came to meet me in the clinic yesterday. He spoke about his company which is doing very well pan India. He then asked me, so who’s the brain behind your clinic brand. I Am, I said. Slight look of disbelief. Ok, so who runs all your clinics. I Do, I said. A whole different level of incredulousness. A change of subject, and moved on to more of this and that.
It’s not the first time that a man has expressed this kind of who’s-behind-your-business question, and I’m sure it’s not the last. I wonder if young men continue to believe that they are better than their female counterparts. And if yes, how come? In the Gurgaon of 2020, I’m mildly surprised and a tad bit disappointed that men can have start ups and become unicorns but they will continue to assume that a woman is incapable of the same. And they always expect her to have a husband/ brother/father to be “doing the business” while she is just “the face”.
Had another experience on social media a few months back. I wrote a political post, and a socially “woke” acquaintance said “Toh aap iske baare mein kya karengi, Facebook post?” I wrote to him that it was my timeline, and it was perfectly ok for me to write what I believed in. A common friend (male) rebuked him and said you know Sarika has been working on the ground to bring about socio-political change, to which the offender “friend” apologized to our common friend. Not to me. That was it.
How often do women face this kind of passive aggressive behaviour? Every day? Every week? Or often enough? I have had the good fortunate to be raised in a family that treated all kids as equal, married into a family that has never stopped me from doing anything and have had colleagues in various Hospitals and Associations who have treated me with respect and as an equal.
The fact is women have to be lot bolder, stronger and firmer in their interactions to be taken seriously by the world. I dream of a world where race, caste and gender will all become irrelevant when we deal with other humans.
Happy to share it’s been five years since I started my brand AllergyDoc Clinics with one centre.Now have ten functional centres in Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur, Chandigarh and Gurgaon.Breaking myths about #AllergyTreatment and helping thousands of patients lead #AllergyFreeLives.
Enjoying the journey. And happy to be breaking stereotypes every day 💖💖
ENT Surgeon & Allergy Specialist