26 Thursday
March 2020
Earth closed for repairs.

Don’t you think the covid 19 epidemic is nature’s way of giving us a gentle warning? We have stopped flying, driving, working out of home. This time nature gave us a mild disease. One where lakhs are infected but a few thousand die. Not to take away from the pain of losing a loved one, but it could have been much worse than a respiratory infection. A plague causing boils and blisters, and a painful death. A bleeding diathesis with people bleeding from all orifices. But this one is highly infectious and dangerous enough to keep us all on the straight and narrow.

Meanwhile the skies have become clearer and stars are now visible. Air quality is improving every day. I’m sure with factories shutting down even the water quality will improve. Has the tree felling been temporarily halted to make way for coal powered plants, I wonder?

I know lakhs of people will be at risk from being out of work, stuck in ill-ventilated homes with very little access to food and healthcare. Hope the government provides rations to them while enforcing the curfew. This might go on for more than a few weeks. It might even be a couple of months.

We can use this time to reinvent ourselves. Meditate. Paint. Write. Spend time with family. Speak to long forgotten friends. Video chat with people we never had time to catch up with while we running our normal treadmill lives. Let’s use this time to reset our human buttons.

When the corona embargo is lifted, will we get back to jet setting across the world? Will we keep cutting our forests, keep making our 3rd and 4th apartment investments or will we begin to value what we have and live in the present? Will we stop breaking rules and not send effluents from factories into rivers? Will we become better humans and take care of the earth??

Or will we ask the earth to send it’s next virus to paralyse human life as we know it?? Pralay aaney se pehle kya hum apney aap ko sambhaal payenge?? Will be have the guts to change and live a more more nature friendly lifestyle or will we continue to accelerate towards the next pandemic? Please use the next 3 weeks to think about how you will change your life post the corona embargo.

Stay safe. Stay happy. Stay indoors.

Dr.Sarika Verma
ENT surgeon Gurgaon

15 Sunday
March 2020
Corona and me.

Four weeks back I was wondering how life mimics fiction and how the epidemic in Wuhan was just like the movies where the whole world is gripped by paranoia and self preservation. Astounded that in 1981 someone had even written about a similar virus as a biological weapon in a fiction thriller. Two weeks back I saw Covid19 or corona virus make an entry into India, and thought it’s another flu like SARS, MERS and H1N1. I then began to follow the global trends and started hoping that India would skip the exponential graph that most countries are now showing.

This week life began to change in so many ways. Holi was cancelled. Schools shut for 2 weeks.I stopped traveling by metro and began driving to Delhi.Wearing aprons and masks in the clinic and sanitising hands every few minutes. Cancelled dinner invitations and meetings. First reduced and now stopped eating out. Turned vegetarian. Our Summer vacations are being cancelled by airlines. And I’m using my elbows to call the lift!

It’s almost as if Nature is reclaiming the world. And telling humans to behave. Factories in China shut down and the air quality improved. International travel will get suspended soon and reduced emissions will make an immense difference. Many people have turned vegetarian. We invaded forests and removed their homes, now wild animals have invaded our domains and so have their zoonotic infections. Loss of biodiversity and forest cover is beginning to directly influence our daily lives.

If someone asked us to stop flying or stop meetings or stop working 2 months back, the world would have laughed them off. And now, we are voluntarily shutting ourselves in.Desperately hoping that the contagion will settle down and disappear as suddenly as it started but chances are it might linger on for months. Will it take on the deadly route of China and Italy or will India be able to stave off the exponential curve of new infections. The next 3 weeks will tell us. That we do not have the testing facilities or ventilatory support needed for lakhs of people if we have a pandemic on our hands is a given.

But if the infected people keep exposing others to their infection and don’t self quarantine, how can we hold the government responsible?? Why do Indians lack a sense of social responsibility? Will their families be grateful that they are risking all of their lives too?? Don’t they understand that one foolish person could cause illness to thousands of people and be responsible for a few deaths! They would be held accountable for murder!

Man is a social animal. Social interactions are what make us feel human. A subcellular organism is holding 7 billion people hostage. Will humanity course correct and choose responsible development, or will we continue to degrade the earth….. Will we learn our lessons and pave a greener cleaner future for our children or will we live crazy today ….and die another day?

The corona virus calamity can act as a wake up call to the human race. Are we ready to listen?

Dr.Sarika Verma
ENT surgeon, Gurgaon
#Coronavirus #lifechanging #climateaction #bethechange