31 Dec 2019: It was an awesome day indeed. Amazing food, myriad cocktails, super-cool binge watching sessions. And amidst all this extravaganza, we were making plans for 2020. Destinations checked, from staycation to that long vacation, it was all sorted or at least it seemed to be! But we didn’t see something coming!

13 Jan 2020: Comes 2020! 13 Jan marks the first festival of the year. Lohri followed by Makar Sakranti on 14th Jan. Folks across India pray for bountiful harvest and it also onsets the days getting longer.  We too celebrated the festival, our eyes beaming with happiness and souls lit! But we didn’t see anything coming!

29 Jan 2020: We had a #famjam. Full on masti, shits go crazy! The body that denies to stop grooving! No time with family is any less better. We in fact had our next trip planned back home! But we still didn’t see that coming! (though hints had started to spread in China)

14 feb 2020: We had a perfect Valentine and yet we didn’t see that coming!

And then the world started crashing down!

24 Feb – We canceled our tickets to the first vacation of the year that was scheduled for 6th March to Krabi!

13 Mar – The orders were passed to start working from home!

15 Mar – The birthday that we celebrated fully indoors at home!

We had just lived the ordeal for 9 days when the country was put under a lockdown for 21 days. And today happens to be the 12th day of this Quarantine and self-isolation! We, humans, have been hit by a world pandemic (as declared by WHO). From the readings, I discovered that such a pandemic happens once in 100 years.

The last Ones were in 1920, 1820 and 1720 (so maybe 2020 was obvious) but we surely didn’t see that coming. That is the best and worst thing about humans. We are the most adaptive to change and also the quickest to succumb to over-confidence.

Well, having said that, the only thing different from this pandemic is – it is man-made rather than natural. It is anticipated that China is the brainchild behind this world attack. Things countries do to show their world dominance. At this point of time when the attack happened the entire world has been quite dependent on China for manufactured goods from electronics to utilities to raw material for various industries. This COVID-19 attack rendered the world helpless and sent the entire global economy into a slowdown. The IMF and World Bank amongst the World Economic Forum are not sure if how much time would be needed to recover from the economic crises that is a result of this world pandemic in 2020.

But we didn’t see this coming! It seems and feels like our merry-go-round was put to a jerking halt!

In the last few years we had developed such busy lifestyles for ourselves that we were almost occupied 24×7. Work, juggling between work and home, late night parties, camping and trekking during extended weekends, weekend getaways during long weekends, staycation and then another vacation. Binge watching, shopping sprees, eat-outs, sloshed at parties, binge eating and watching and incessant drinking and smoke-up sessions.

We have been absorbed in this idea of being occupied every nano second. As a result of this mindset, our overall consumption levels went damn high and while I am not against it completely, I will not be shy to admit that consumerism is a drug and we the human race has been high on it!

Rampant. Incessant. & Many a times Unnecessary – consumption of one or the other drug (sugar, shopping, content and alcohol) had turned us blind towards things that were quite BASIC.

Saying hello and conversing with neighbors, talking to our families and friends, looking at nature and appreciating its beauty and magic, it all seemed odd! And if anyone was found to be doing this, he or she was considered anachronistic. As if this was uncool but being high on a drug everytime was the only “cool thing” to do.

Writing letters was odd, reading books turned odd, star gazing turned odd, playing outdoors turned odd – anything that meant talking to each other and interacting with nature seemed out of fashion. And it all happened in the last 20 years.

The result of which – polluted rivers and streams, oceans full of plastic and waste, skies covered in smog and haze, flora and fauna speeding to extinction and humans headed to depression and drudgery. We had designed and devised a life for ourselves where we were working to fetch resources we didn’t have time to enjoy. And absolutely ignoring the gifts bestowed by nature upon us. Despite all this happening we just couldn’t see this coming!

Irrespective of how Coronavirus spread and put all of humanity under house-arrest, one thing it did good was for humans to see nature in its truest colours.

The deers and stags could be spotted again. Many birds and animal species that were believed to have gone extinct were spotted again. In India, no one knew that there were dolphins near Mumbai beaches but they were spotted too. On the other hand, on Odisha coast, red turtles headed to shores to lay eggs. The Skies that were hidden behind the smoke were seen clearly and stars could be seen in the sky from the high-rise metros too. There have been instances where people could also see the mountains and views for the first time from their city lands (they didn’t even know existed).

It is amazing to see that only 12 days of lockdown and nature has unraveled so much of its magical charm already. Maybe it is a hint that:

  1. The nature has divine power to claim what truly belongs to it (and it will if the need be)
  2. There is still time for us to course correct our lifestyle and live in total harmony with nature.

The choice is completely ours!

What remains to be seen is for how long will humanity be under lockdown and quarantine  before this COVID-19 dies! And secondly, what lessons we would have picked once all of this is over?

Will we be back to our blinded consumerist lifestyles or will we decide to live in harmony with nature! That will be our true test of intelligence and test of time because our bounce back will define what the future will hold for us!