Covid 19 and Mass Media

The year 2019 was a normal year until December when this normalcy was disturbed by the outburst of Corona Virus in Wuhan city of China. The villainous corona virus or Covid 19 has shattered humankind into pieces by killing people all around the globe. Within no time, the virus took a toll on social, cultural, mental, economical and every possible spheres of life. Despite the tragedy, people all over the world has been fighting hard against this unseen enemy with solidarity.

Role of Mass Media in Covid 19 pandemic

With the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic, mass media has been a crucial tool for information generation. Because people were confined to their houses, mass media was the only source to get information about the ongoing situation. People began to watch the news like never before to update themselves with facts. Not just the latest news updates but with an easy access to social media, people are making use of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc for personal and business updates. Even the government agencies interacted with the common people through social media to share information regarding the pandemic.

Negative effects of Media during the pandemic

At the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic, people were searching for all sorts of Covid 19 related articles and news and unfortunately a lot of misinformation has been circulated creating panic. Such misinformation and rumours manipulated the minds of the people leading to mental breakdown which further took a toll on the immune system. There has been cases where mentally weak people lost their lives after falling prey to rumours. However, many people were arrested for circulating fake news regarding Covid 19.

Positive effects of Media during the pandemic.

Keeping aside the negative aspect, the role of Mass Media is worthy of appreciation as it has been a constant source of making people aware about the DO’s and DON’T’s. News portals, social media users be it friends, family, health workers, politicians or celebrities encouraged people to stay in their homes, safe and healthy. People were encouraged to exercise and do yoga on everyday basis to boost their immune system. The Quarantine culture started to come in trend and people started embracing lockdown. The effect of Media on culture came to be more profound during the pandemic. We have seen people reviving their long lost hobbies, spending quality time with family which infact inspired many people to look back into their lives, taking a break from their hectic schedule.

But sadly, not everybody could embrace lockdown. This pandemic has been the worst nightmare for the wage workers, the migrant labourers and even the middle class section of the society to an extent. Fortunately, media came as a rescue for these people. When their plight was shown in the media, many influential people, NGOs came forward to help them with food, money, shelter, medical facilities and the like. Covid 19 has been extremely harsh for the elderly people especially with disabilities, people with serious ailments, people who lost their livelihood but people made use of Media platforms to raise funds and distribute money and essential items to the needy. Also in this pandemic, the term ‘Webinar’ has become quite popular. Many notable health workers, scholars and teachers kept in touch with people by conducting webinars to keep a check on each others’ mental health.

It can be seen that the role and impact of Mass Media in this pandemic is never ending. Like the two sides of a coin, mass media also have two sides – positive and negative. We, the people, must always approach the positive side and fight to overcome the virus. Also let us keep in mind what Malcolm said, “When I is replaced by We, illness becomes wellness.”

How important personal hygiene is to fight against Covid-19?

We know the virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person through coughing and sneezing, and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. The virus may survive on surfaces for a few hours up to several days.

Taking necessary precautionary measures will help us to fight the deadly virus. Precautionary measures such as use of masks, maintaining social distance norms and sanitizing hands and  should be strictly followed.

Covid-19 case numbers and deaths were exponentially rising in India. We all have seen how effectively our corona warriors have fought the battle. The second wave was too powerful and the number of cases in a single day stretched our health community badly. Though, the cases are now in control but we are not in that environment where we can live like the normal days. This is the time when we all need to come together and have a spirit by doing our bit in fighting against the disease.

Have we ever questioned ourselves, why the second wave took this drastic shape? This happened because of not having the right attitude, taking the virus as a normal flu, not wearing the mask properly. When the cases came drastically down in January, people thought that the virus has gone and this resulted the spike in the cases. As a responsible citizen, we need to understand that our focus should be on maintaining personal hygiene not only for ourselves, but for others also. Wherever we go, we should sanitize the area properly, maintain social distance, and wash our hands properly to win the war against the deadly virus.

Keeping in mind the situation many brands stood up and launched products in hygiene and safety category at affordable prices.

The main purpose is to prevent UTI, which is becoming a common concern among women. The infection involves greater risk when one uses public washrooms that are often unclean and unhygienic. Apart from Toilet seats and toilet tops it is important to spray the disinfectant on flush, faucets, door knobs and other hard surfaces to avoid the chances of getting infected.

Increase in COVID- 19 cases saw a spike and this generated a surge in the requirement of masks, sanitisers and other COVID products as well.

The pandemic has caused tremendous disruption to the lives and work processes. Irrespective of how severely or mildly it affects a person, it is still capable of wreaking havoc with our physical and mental fitness and ability to perform various tasks. In such a scenario, using hygiene and sanitation products and adhering to cleanliness can keep us safe from illness.

People are requested to take utmost care of themselves by using mask, sanitisers and break the COVID- 19 chain which is a duty of every citizen and don’t take safety for granted. 

A Guide for your Mental Health

Many teenagers have developed a well-known problem amidst the pandemic- anxiety. It is no lie that many of us spend our time sitting idle in our rooms, just wondering over things and overthinking about life. Gradually we start to sense an uneasy aroma around us. We begin to get overwhelmed about stuff and commence to screech at petty things. However, this is not the main problem; the pain arouses when we begin to grieve over our behavior. We have no choice but to stumble down due to weighing bars of grief. Gradually, teenagers endure panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and perhaps OCD. Hence, let us examine we can deal with it by taking mere footsteps. While the topic of mental health awareness has recently made its way to social media, the origins of mental illnesses operate deep into history. Therefore, our foremost step becomes to study more about it rather than being ashamed of it. It is a common cliche that knowledge is one of the most vital resources, so why not examine mental health disorders? Invest your valuable time in productive activities. Try spending some time listening to cheerful music, watching birds, artwork, reading valuable books, and playing board games with your family, and yoga. Besides all these things, you need to have a good diet and enough sleep. Also, try eating healthy food like salads, fruits, chapatis, etc. Perhaps this may sound challenging, but seek help from your friends and family. Communicate your enigmas through unshamed conversations. This step will help to lay of weighing insecurities. You can always seek help from the experts in this criteria. Numerous emotional factors significantly affect our fitness level, like depression, aggression, negative thinking, anxiety, frustration, etc. Yet, these factors could be avoided with consistency in your routine and faith in yourself. Try making mere changes in your lifestyle today for a vibrant tomorrow. We can not deny the fact that it will take time, maybe a year but keep going. Several people with mental illnesses are now striving to raise awareness of disorders like depression and anxiety, and some claim that the best way to educate about mental illnesses is to teach about them in schools. Hence, schools and colleges should host interactive sessions to discuss the importance of mental health. Via educating about mental illnesses in schools, activists hope to build understanding about the topic and limit teenagers who have mental illnesses from feeling abandoned. This step has the strength to reduce teenage suicide rates. Remember, man; is entirely deemed superior to other animals because of his highly advanced brain. Hence, a person needs to keep both his body and brain fit and well. Both mental health and physical health go hand in hand and are evenly significant for optimum performance and quality of life. Never be ashamed of what you are feeling, do not let your emotions bottled up. “One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.” — Linda Poindexter.

Things we learned from Covid-19

We came to know real friends and relatives. In this lockdown, only a few people cared about us. Before that, in our life, we trusted everyone and helped them with good intentions. But when a problem was raised for us they left us in midway. Thanks to the virus which helped us to identify real ones and fake ones. If they betrayed us it doesn’t mean that we should not help them in the future.

Many relationships broke in this lockdown due to long-distance and lack of motivation to call the other person and the main reason is laziness. Due to this, the other person could have thought that you are no longer interested in them and the second thoughts will arise in their minds which will create a rift in your relationship. They will keep on pestering you to know the actual reason and you will say to them that there is nothing to worry about. Here you will come to know how much space your partner is giving you to breathe. If they keep on dominating you please leave that relationship immediately for your goodness and also for your partner. 

You came to know the troubles faced by healthcare professionals. They are the real gods in these tough times. They too have families to take care of but they served the patients with utmost care and good health care facilities. We should thank them for their good services in these tough times. There is a series in Dice Media channel called Operation MBBS. It has 2 seasons. The first season will talk about the normal medical college-related things. But in the second season, they captured all the issues and difficulties faced by people, healthcare professionals, and doctors. Everybody should watch that series to get a clear view of the difficulties in our life.

Many people lost their jobs. Even people working in IT companies also lost their jobs. Because there is no work left for people to do. Due to this, they got kicked out of their jobs. That is the time when we came to know the real value of jobs and skills required for us to land in good jobs. 

Nowadays skills are more important and we have to be skilled enough to land in a good company. So many students started to learn online courses to improve their knowledge and kill their time. Also, many online platforms provided free courses for students to learn. All we have to do is explore them and start learning them to keep ourselves updated.

Due to the lack of money people started to do freelancing. So heavy competition started to creep up in freelancing fields. Only people with good portfolios got selected. And another thing that arose in this lockdown is so many people started their youtube channels. They started posting so many videos and competition began to creep up. People are tired of watching them and only good productive videos got more views than random videos. 

We came to know about the importance of families and our family dinner. This lockdown gave us lots of time to connect with our family members and we spent our quality time with them by chit-chatting, playing, cooking, and laughing. These things could have happened once in a year but this lockdown made it lasted for more than 2 months. It is our family which will support us and will come with us throughout our lifetime. Others in our life are temporary and we should prioritize our time according to our needs.

Things to do in a lockdown

One should not waste their time in this lockdown. We have to learn new things to keep ourselves updated. Because when we sit for a long period of time without learning any new things our brain will automatically forget things and will become even lazier. 

1. Learn a new skill. There are lots of online platforms to learn new skills. Some are available for free and some are paid. If you don’t like to spend your money and at the same time want to learn something creative you can choose YouTube to learn new skills. If you want to learn a new course for free you can learn it from Udemy, Coursera, and Great Learning. But, for Coursera only some guided projects are free. If you want to learn other courses for free you can apply for the financial aid program. 

2. Read lots of books. Trust me the best way to kill lockdown is by reading books. There are lots of books for beginners to read. If you are a beginner and want to read books you can check on the internet to find the books for beginners and lots of search results will pop out. Pick out the one you like by reading the reviews. You don’t need to buy books from the bookshop. You can read it from your phone using the Amazon Kindle app. The best thing about the Kindle app is lots of options to explore. And the price is so less compared to the paperback. Hardcovers are so cheap and you can but with one click by making the payment.

3. Learn new crafts and decorate your house. How many of you know that we can make some amazing crafts using Pista shells? Yes, Pista shells are used to make a wide variety of crafts. You can easily choose from Youtube. Start by making simple projects and decorate your house with your creativity. 

4. Help your parents if you are a teenager. Because teenagers often spend their time on social media rather than learning something useful. If you help your parents you can interact with them and you will be able to spend more time with them. It is a great stress buster from this busy life.

5. If you are a student and want to do something creative and want to gain experience and knowledge you can do internships. Internships are so important for college students. Because nowadays companies are expecting freshers to have some experience. There are various sites to apply for internships. One of the good platforms to apply for an internship is Internshal. It is a completely free website where thousands of os companies post internships each day and you can find internships according to your niche and interest. 

6. Play games as a family. Family games are so cool and it is a good thing to interact with your family members and you can learn good things from elders. They will share their life experiences. If you have any difficulties you can share them with them and they will give you a good solution based on their experience. 

7. Have a family dinner daily. Having a family dinner is pure bliss. It is a complete pack of joy. Ask your children to help you in setting up the table and after eating ask them to wash the dishes. Make them engaged in some kind of work so that they will learn the values of eating dinner with you and it is the best place for them to open up things in front of you.

8. Do some exercises. It can be walking on your terrace or doing some yoga. Because staying indoors will lead to an increase in weight. Also, doing exercises is good for our mental health. 

Indulging ourselves in these kinds of activities will help us to maintain a healthy relationship without getting bored.

Covid triggered Unemployment

The covid – 19 pandemic has triggered the common issue of unemployment in our country. The real danger is this crisis will eventually increase the poverty and economical inequalities and will have an impact on our economy for years to come.

The government has imposed lockdown to control the spread of corona virus. As a result, it has impacted on the economic and commercial activities of our nation and effected into job loss and migration of migrant workers which trembled the entire nation.

This Job crisis shows no sign of slowing as the impact of corona virus continues to batter almost every sector now.

The economy has hit hard by this pandemic particularly the informal economy. Around 20 crore 12 lakh people lost their job in April 2020 as per CMIE (Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy) and 74 lakh people lost their jobs in April 2021 as per CMIE. Apart from job loss the household incomes have also fallen down sharply. The CMI has also said that 97% of households has seen fall in income as a result.

India’s Unemployment has increased from 7.97% in April to 11.9% in May. While unemployment is high, future too isn’t looking very bright. Our traders who were looking forward to recover from last year’s shutdown didn’t got the relief due to Lockdown 2.0. While big businesses are suffering losses whereas the small ones are permanently shut down.

The present constraints are majorly predominant in urban India, where most of the salaried jobs are. According to employment data from 2019-20, urban India accounted for 58 % of all salaried jobs in the country. The job loss in urban India during 2020-21 was, however, only 38 % of the total job loss of 9.8 million, as per the CMIE report. This means that urban India will observe further salaried job loss over the course of the year.

Migrant and labor forces:

Migrant workers constitute one of the weaker sections of the society and this pandemic has rubbed salt to their wounds. Due to lockdown, daily wage workers are left with no work. Besides job losses, the migrant workers are facing another reality – hunger. Unemployment in 2020 had left these labors and workers with little or no savings, and now jobs are scarce and living costs have gone sky high.

Farmers and primary sector:

Farmers are crucial part of the food value chain in India. They are the most significant element of the global food system. This pandemic has brought new risks which have threaten the livelihood and food security. Every year, Indian farmers face risks such as low rainfall, price volatility and rising debts. But risks from the COVID-19 pandemic are putting new challenges in front of a sector that is already under threat.

Women and Youngsters:

According to reports, women saw a larger decline in job losses in India than men. Covid also created turmoil in Young people’s lives by taking their jobs away. The youth share of total employment loss was 15-18 times greater than their share in total employment. This is pathetic. The pre-crisis challenges are now amplified due to covid – 19 hit.

Reference –

  1. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/rising-unemployment-adds-to-the-covid-pain/article34628576.ece
  2. https://qz.com/india/2011017/covid-19-may-leave-thousands-of-indians-unemployed-forever/

LOCKDOWn-RIGHT OR WRONG?

Lockdown-Right or Wrong?
We are facing the difficult times of our history.We are fighting with an enemy who is too powerful and the secret of its death is not revealed till now.Corona is that powerful enemy we are fighting with.It is attacking our life too badly and we are too much afraid with its power.We have no idea how to deal with it-how to protect ourselves,our family,our friends,our nation.Our government is trying too protect us from this killer-virus.Some vaccines are also produced by the scientists.But that is not sufficient to protect our lives as the vaccines can reduce the effect of the corona virus but can not fully kill it.We need some other weapons to fight with this enemy(corona).And we know the virus is spreading from persons to persons.Multiple corona cases chains are being made everyday.The healthy persons are becoming unhealthy by getting in contact with the infected persons.So it clearly indicates that the virus is spreading from one being to another.And if we really want to stop this then we have to break these corona chains to make our people safe.So we have a weapon named as LOCKDOWN to fight with this enemy named corona.Lockdown is a situation where unnecessary activities are being stopped and the risk of virus spreading is controlled.Only necessary activities are being allowed in a particular place.
But what do you think-Lockdown is right or wrong?
Different people have different needs.

Advantages :

  1. Lockdown Ensures Public Health Safety
    Public Health Emergency is why the government enforces a lockdown. This scenario is the preliminary phase of a Medical emergency that halts the movement of viral infections by ceasing movements of humans.

A person is allowed to go out of the home for essential needs only. A lockdown is put to effect when a country has not adequate antidote or cure to curb the impact of a pandemic.

  1. Controlling Pollution
    Blatant to eyes, during a lockdown people tend to minimize using their vehicles and automobiles including public transport. Industrial activities are also restricted during the lockdown phase, which also results in minimal emission of pollutants into water bodies and atmosphere.

Venice, Italy can be taken as the ideal outcome of lockdown. After declaring a lockdown after the COVID-19 outbreak, the fall in number of tourists turned out to be vital for the canals of Venice.

  1. Balancing the Ecosystem
    Being progressive and dynamic is what humans need to survive on earth. But, sometimes we also forget that nature treats every creature the same. Where lockdown seems quite disturbing to the humankind, it is turning out to be environment-friendly.

A clean and fresh atmosphere is what springs wildlife and brings balance to the ecosystem ultimately. With stopping the combustion of resources and fuels, animals get the benefit of lockdown entirely. Lockdown is a restorative process for many species that are extinct at the moment.

  1. Encouraging Healthy Lifestyle
    Sounds rhetoric, but that sometimes a strict and disciplined lifestyle is what can be beneficial during a lockdown. Staying indoors means, you can capitalize on your time and money on your health and the things that surround you. Access to food and healthcare items means you cannot access liquor or smokes even though you have an extreme urge or craving for such.

For chain smokers and alcoholics, Lockdown seems a lifetime opportunity to stay bid goodbye to unhealthy practices. Also, you can draw yourself to good habits and utilize the creative side of your brain investing your time in healthy exercises and activities.

  1. Staying Indoors Means Family Time
    For the people with busy and hectic work life, Lockdown narrows all the possibility of missing out on your memorable moments with family. Limited and restricted contacts lead you to stay close to your loved ones which can’t ever be possible while you are occupied at the workplace.

You tend to learn to share some quality time with your family and staying together at the worst of times. As the saying goes, “Bad Times Brings us Closer.”

Disadvantages:

  1. Unemployment Crisis :Becoming the world’s first country, India had enforced an experimental lockdown for 21 days. This 21-day lockdown has put India on the verge of an economic crisis. With no further reports or orders on how long this lockdown might get extended, people with no job security (daily wagers) dreaded job loss due to this emergency.

Even though many governments assure to supply unessential workers to guard their life with benefits, not all the affected people are able to entertain the benefits. Around 3.3 million people alone in the USA had applied for unemployment claims endangered by the pandemic fearing a job loss.

2.Disturbance in System Machinery
From manufacturing to R&D sectors, from Blue-collar to White-collar employees, the work machinery gets into total disarray. One of the most concerning and noticeable downsides of lockdown situations is its impact on the education system. The pandemic strikes the developed and the developing nations equally.

With nations relying on digital modes of education, the education system may still be in order. But the businesses are severely impacted. While with developing nations, the situation is exactly upside down.

3.Displacement of Daily Wagers
Bringing an entire country to Lockdown can result in massive exodus even if the citizens are not allowed to do so. Heading back to New Delhi (India) where blue-collar employees had no employment benefits like US-Citizens with no job security.

With a population of more than 1.3 billion, the Indian government had gambled with many lives. On the fourth day of lockdown, many migrant laborers stranded in New Delhi had to flee the Capital City due to lack of shelter, food, money and imposed restrictions due to public health emergencies.

4.Black Marketing and Food Shortage
With limited time to buy food and other essential supplies, people tend to buy more items than usual and stockpile. Many consumers are left empty-handed since the supply of commodities during a lockdown gets shortened by many reasons.

Where some people stockpile the commodities, some may panic due to a shortage of supplies. This situation may lead to price-hike and also shortage. Black Marketing is one of the dreadful drawbacks of lockdown, where people have to spend more to fulfill their basic needs.

Does Tech complicate or simplify life?

Tech frenzy. Would be an apt way of putting the world we live in as of now. From toddlers to the elderly. 

The folks down at the Research and Development departments of most leading consumer gadgets are so good at their craft, that we’d have often fallen short to realise about the latest tech advancements this week.

In the act of them pursuing the craft of their desire, we have found ourselves addicted to one thing or the other. People infected with consumerism ever greater than before. Some buy to impress, some buy to get more efficient, to get more work done; but with the corporates taking the win in the end.

 A quote in a birthday card I got some time back, went like, “ Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.” A subtle way of saying you’ve grown older and perhaps closer to the grave. Softening the blow couldn’t get easier than this. 

As much as it is relevant to ageing, it’s relevant to the tech we consume too.

That made me wonder when was the last time I received a card for my birthday, not anytime recently, obviously.

With the outbreak of everything turning digital, I believe the jobs of cards were taken over by a simple text, via whatsapp. 

Which intrigued me of how seldom we text people these days, the days of texting close acquaintances has long passed, spending almost a rupee for a text made us value texts more. It meant something. The rules of the nature are indeed best relevant to tech now, “survival of the fittest.”

With everything turning cheaper, smaller, quicker; we’ve seem to have lost the joy of the little things. Making every single thing less significant but yet complex.

Time does really fly, we went from a time where logging onto the internet was an escape from reality, but now the tables have turned. Being able to shut out everything and taking our eyes off them, screens has become an escape from our realities. As much as I would love to not sound Cliche, the truth cannot be set aside.

Social media platforms went from simple socialising mediums to tools for marketing and making political stands. With people getting unbelievable power to express and do things like never before. Which yet again drags us back to the question, ‘has it made our lives complicated than easier?

James Franco, the brilliant Hollywood actor once joked , “My wife asked me why I spoke ever so softly in the house. I said I was afraid Mark Zuckerberg was listening! She laughed. I laughed. Alexa laughed. Siri laughed.”

If this doesn’t make you break a sweat, I don’t know what will. Our quest to socialise has cost us our privacy. A grave price to pay

There was a time, when we could’ve bored ourselves to death while being confined to our homes this long due to the pandemic . But times have changed, we no longer have the liberty or need to get bored. Unless we get bored of not getting bored that often.

The movies from the past, portraying the future have undeniably done a great job in predicting the backdrops magnificently. Setting aside a few cliche depictions like ‘flying cars’, ‘teleporting’, which are not here yet, but does seem just around the corner. 

Our cars can now self-drive, earphones are wireless, we make calls from our watches, everyone’s a photographer these days, and we can get answers for everything just with a few clicks now, these are all just from the top of my head.

Lives have been made simpler, but the question that springs to my head is whether, ‘we’ll all forget how to live, in our pursuit to live better?’.

Facing the Future: Lessons to be Learnt From the Pandemic

“The outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia will inevitably have a relatively big impact on the economy and society … For us, this is a crisis and is also a big test.”

With the whole Coronavirus pandemic engulfing the whole world in its clutches, there’s a thing or two humanity had to learn the hard way. Firstly, all strings are attached. If your neighbour’s house is on fire, then it is not the time to judge his doings, his karma, even shielding your own house isn’t advisable. Run for him, save his house put off the fire first. Secondly, invisible thing mess us up better, whether it is your so called almighty or a deadly virus. Third, public are the second priority for any government, obviously, first is their party. Lastly, home isn’t sweet home but a jail if you live locked in it for months. It eats you, it’s door is like mouth and you’ve walked into it yourself, and can’t find an escape route.

We, as people, have started craving human connection. What happened to conversations? We are all stuck in this same catastrophe, feeling like there’s nothing left to say. We focus on the weather, pretend its something new. There’s an elephant in the room that keeps us standing six feet apart. We all miss human touch. We now feel like an empty shell, once fuelled by love, now left to rot. It’s hard to speak these days. Respirators and cloth masks return our warm breath and words against our lips and cheeks. Many of us haven’t seen a smile in weeks. Even if our mouths weren’t covered, I’m not sure I would see a smile in these conditions. These are dark times. There’s a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so afraid we’ll all forget these lessons, as we open back up, and cause greater destruction. It’s really sad that coronavirus is creating a point of shared experience between the chronically ill and disabled and generally healthy people all forced to stay at home. And while it will be handy going forward to explain to people who think me being home on disability must be nice, I can now say “remember coronavirus?” But at the same time, people have died and are dying just so ablest get a taste of what disability living is like.

The pandemic has also taught us a few valuable lessons that can’t be ignored in the future.

• Foundational research may be expensive, but it is necessary.
• No country can deal with a crisis like this on its own.
• A strictly for profit health care system is not prepared to deal with a pandemic in any way, shape or form.
• Instead of equating wealth to success, as we have done until today, we will need to start equating positive contribution to society with success.

We can see some signs of such a motion during the pandemic in the praise that health-care workers receive for their efforts to help the often-unmanageable amount of coronavirus cases. However, we need to further internalize this redefinition of success, as our social connections, life engagements, work and social values all stem from it: There is nothing successful in being individually successful and wealthy at the expense of others. Success lies in creating a positively-connected society, where its members take responsibility and care for each other, contribute to each other’s well-being, and promote to each other the need for centering everyone’s focus on benefiting others instead of benefiting our individual selves.

The world is learning about the need to be more considerate of everyone, as we all depend on each other. However, I think that an extra “push” on our behalf to further implant this understanding will serve to better balance us with the tighter interdependence and interconnectedness that the coronavirus era has revealed to us.

Whatever silver lining we can find in this crisis will, however, always be tainted by travesties we had to endure, because we had the knowledge and tools to do a lot better and save more lives.

Screenshot_20200731-114044_Chrome

A key way to fight a pandemic is with positive chaos, to sew kindness and love into the fabric of society at every opportunity possible.

Staying fit in lockdown

Corona virus disease which was first identified at Wuhan, China has caused a massive spread all over the world as because this is an infectious ailment, our country has adopted the method of Lockdown to tame down the vulnerable situation of Covid 19. This circumstance is becoming a lot more serious over the days when Corona virus is creating a dreadful impact worldwide. Lockdown basically is a very effective process to ensures the security of people by isolating the positive cases. Government has taken up this solution to break the chain of Corona Virus. Lockdown will help in the reduction of death rate as face to face interactions nowadays is to be avoided. The policy of staying separated from one another is also known as Quarantining oneself. This is relatively a new term which signifies that people should not get much exposed to the contagious disease. World Health Organizations has termed Covid 19 as a Pandemic. Hence, all the other places like Shopping malls, Cinema Halls, Restaurants which provided entertainment to the common folks after a strenuous busy day have been closed down. Also, school, colleges, universities has declared to be shut off till the Graph of Covid spread goes down. Hence it is much crucial for all of us to take proper measures and precautions to protect ourselves at this time. Usage of Masks and Sanitizers has become compulsory as declared by the Government which is undeniable and is the best rule to be followed for the protection of every one around, preventing the spread of Virus. Those who are breaking such regulations are to be strictly punished by the cops. Other than that, Few below mentioned steps can be followed for a happy living:-

1) Mental Health of a person needs to be taken care of and known just as we do to the physical Health. Mental Health is not much talked about and not many considers this as a significant issue. This requires serious treatment too. Mental Health is a time span when the afftected one faces a lot of trauma, starts gets negative feelings and lose all hope of living. A large no. of people commits suicide on a regular basis due to depression. If someone seeks help he should be talked to often or will mandatorily attend a psychiatrist. Understanding the depth of such an ailment in India is practically impossible as they don’t know how to communicate regarding this to another. due to this Covid situation Mental Health is getting hampered as because People are social beings, it is a torture of them to caged down for a very long tenure.

2) As because the Gyms are closed, you cannot skip on your exercises. Exercises are a must for your body, it releases stress and motivates you to get back in shape and keeps away ailments. Even a little bit of working out, or running around would help a lot. Exercising is the best way to work on yourself, plank for 30 seconds, arm and leg stretch is indeed a must. If someone has never been to a gym, this is the best time to indulge yourself in working out at home.

3) Talking to family is a very relaxing idea as it takes away all the boredom of your life and opening up to them is essential for your growth. Family is the foremost place which knows you thoroughly and understands you better no matter what. Spend your leisure time by chit chatting with them or playing indoor games like Chess, Ludo, Cards together just like we did in our child hood days. Family bond makes you feel and live much better. Use this ample of time to strengthen your connections, which was previously lost due to shortage of time by getting closer to your family.

4) Eat properly, take proper vitamins and minerals which are prescribed by the doctors globally. Taking medicines time to time is very essential these days. In taking Junk foods are absolutely a big No No for your health right now. Food should be consumed at regular intervals, Seasonal fruits shall be consumed daily for removing body toxins and it also keeps the body hydrated.

5) Many people can start pursuing their lost passions once again, utilizing this time for your benefit is the best option. Hence those who couldn’t earlier manage time to continue with their likings because of the work pressure can restart by cooking new dishes, gardening, painting, singing, dancing, writing e t c. All these are a part of self care which would enhance your skills once again.

6) Children are getting time to spend with their parents which is in turn a boon for them because both the parents work for a lot of time and do not get the scope to speak to their children, also the children spends a lot of time in Schools. After a busy day, no body has the energy to communicate with each other making the child lonely and irritated. Parents must take the initiative to engage the child and watch a movie or t v shows all together or read out a book to them which will increase their moral values and they will become comfortable while exchanging views.

7) Youngsters should help their parents out with household domestic chores which in turn is going to make the difficult and boring work ten times simple. Also, Teenagers should spend time with the grand parents, hear out their stories of experiences which also serves as a healing therapy both ways. Also they can associate themselves with new Learning courses online which will enhance their knowledge.

The practice of Domestic Violence all over India should be stopped immediately as this will hurt both ou and your loved ones.

Students And The Pandemic

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, record 98.82 per cent students pass in ...

the coronavirus pandemic has already affected atleast 188 countries with more than 14.5 million confirmed cases. The virus has not only killed 6 lac people but has also made countries experience their worst economic crises. The pandemic has indirectly affected people in many ways, starting from poor to rich, everyone is facing one or more problems. It has forced some powerful countries with largest economy to impose lockdown which has affected many communities, not because the government wants to destroy their own economy but because there is no other choice left to save people. Countries now are in their worst condition, as they are in situation where they know that in order to save lives, their decisions and strategies will indirectly affect many communities.

Among all other communities, students are one such community who are also facing a lot of problems. Yes it is true that their difficulties and issues might not be greater and even equal to the difficulties faced by health officials, police forces, daily-wage earners, LGBTQ community or any other human being who is seriously affected due to the pandemic, but yet we can not ignore the problems faced by the students since they are the future of the country.

It has already been 4 months since the lockdown was declared for the first time in India. So probably 23rd of march was the last day for students at their schools and college. school students were then very happy about the 15 day lockdown since they thought they will be joining their respective schools after this mini vacation but little did they know that this little vacation of theirs will go on forever.

All sort of educational institutions were forced to close their doors for the safety of their students,but students are atleast now able to cope up with their studies through virtual classes. But unfortunately not all are able to access online classes since it requires good connectivity and most of the students are unable to attend their classes because of poor network. Especially students living in remote or rural areas are facing this particular problem. Government has failed to address this issue since students can only depend upon internet to continue learning. Apart from that we understand that online classes are a good option to continue learning but not the best when compared to classroom learning.

The Dangers of Keeping the Schools Closed – AIER

Student – teacher interaction is something which is lacking in online classes, and hence it decreases their motivation to study. It is quite understandable that such problems will arise in such a situation and it can not be avoided. Students have to manage their studies during this crises, since there is no other option left. This pandemic has also left final year students in a great confusion as they are not sure whether they will be having exams or not. Most of the companies have also withdrawn their offer letters from the students which is another sad thing faced by the final year students. Till now nobody addressed these issues faced by the students and no serious decisions are taken regarding this.

All i know is, that it took a whole pandemic to make students realize the importance of classroom teaching. Nobody knows for how long educational institutions will remain closed, but i am sure all of them are badly waiting for that day when they will be able to learn in their classrooms.

Anxiety-Mind’s own prison

Nowadays people associate the word anxiety only with mental illness but anxiety is just an emotion like happiness, sadness, etc.  It is quite a familiar emotion which we come across seldom in our day to day life like, before taking a test, pressure at work. Occasional anxiety is “OK”. But anxiety disorders are different with constant fear and overwhelming.

Causes

  • Stress at workplace
  • Emotional trauma such as the death of a beloved one
  • Use of prohibited drugs like cocaine
  • Maybe a symptom of heart related problems
  • Emphysema or Pulmonary embolism,etc.

Symptoms

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems

During this lockdown, the levels of depression and anxiety are much higher than usual in the society. Surprisingly, exposure to the coronavirus itself has had minimal impact on people’s mental health rather,  the social disruption had a much more effect. People confined in their houses has both negative and positive impacts; positive because people can spend more time with their families than before and negative as humans are social animals and disconnecting from the outside world, friends, relatives is the cause of a frustrating environment in the house. This change in scenario might fuel anxiety and depression.

GAD-Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder(GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder. It is characterized by persistent, excessive worrying about everyday events and activities which the person finds difficult to control. People with GAD find that their worry is excessive (blowing things out of proportion), difficult to control and pervasive. People are often tempted to avoid threatening situations, but if you do, the anxiety will be worse the next time you are in that situation. The best strategy is to confront the feared situation. Usually, it is better than you thought, and if not, you will have learned valuable coping skills by confronting your fears.

People with GAD should work toward challenging their beliefs and assumptions about themselves. For example, your worry might be “I’ll never be prepared in time,” which may be accompanied by the assumption that “if anything goes wrong, it’s my fault” and the underlying belief that “I am a failure.” Cognitive therapy strategies can help you identify and challenge these assumptions and develop alternative and more realistic beliefs.

The Six Structured Problem Solving Technique-

This technique is a simple yet as effective as medication for people dealing with GAD or any type of anxiety.

  • Write down exactly what you believe the main problem to be.
  • Write down all possible solutions, even bad ones. *
  • Think about each solution in practical terms.
  • Choose the most practical solution.
  • Plan how you will carry that solution out.
  • Do it.

image courtesy-TOI

The Forgotten: The Stranded Migrant Workers

There is no section in our country that remains unaffected by the difficulties caused by the affliction that is COVID- 19, however it’s safe to assume that, the most gravely affected by the crisis are the underprivileged labourers and workers. Their agony, their pain, their ordeal cannot be expressed in words. Who amongst us cannot understand and feel what they and their families are going through.

More than 92.5% labourers, including daily wage earners, have lost work and are unemployed owing to the lockdown imposed by the country, according to a survey of migrant workers in north and central India. This is despite the labour ministry’s plea to owners and contractors not to retrench workers.

Why are the migrant workers so hard hit during lock down?

The answer is pretty simple, while many people have lost the jobs, it’s the migrant workers that have lost their only livelihood without any fall-back support. They don’t have any fixed income, health insurance ot savings. They get paid in wages, only if they work, most of them being employed in the informal sector. They are also devoid of sufficient monetary resources to sustain themselves and their families (who are dependent on them) during the unemployment period. Further, they are the only groups who have been displaced from their normal place of residence. Nearly six lakhs migrant labourers are stranded in government camps. They are more vulnerable to corona virus infection as they have repeatedly failed to observe social distancing die to their special living conditions and full dependence on public transport.

The aforementioned consequences may have the following impact if they aren’t monitored and checked by the government and the respective agencies. They might have to draw loans in order to sustain themselves with their home or land they own as the collateral. It might push them further into economic insecurity and instability. The education of their children will also be affected, even during the post lockdown period as they might be unable to afford the fees. If left unaddressed, it might put the migrant labour under tremendous mental pressure and strain, leading to a substantial rise in mental health issues in the community. It’ll also widen the gap between the rich and the poor, thus leading to increased economic inequality. There are possibilities of increased exploitation in terms of employment compensation in the post lockdown period, when a lot of people will be looking for work in an economy which was already suffering from unemployment.

How did their future become so grim?

When the Indian government announced a lockdown with just a four hours warning, large numbers of migrant workers all over the country were left stranded, with no idea of where to go and what to do. No arrangements had been made for them, whether to transport them back or to house them in shelters. As a result, there were tragic consequences. Panicked migrant workers going to buses and train stations and getting beaten by Police or being sprayed with bleach. Thousands of migrant workers trying to walk back hundreds of kilometres to their villages, with many dying on the way. I guess the decision makers seemingly forgot about the most vulnerable people while deciding, why? When they could arrange transport for pilgrims and students, why was no thought put in about what would happen to migrant workers? Why is it that only the NRIs were retrieved from affected areas? Is it because they are voiceless and they don’t have a pressure group.

Even if they were forgotten about while planning the lockdown, there was still a means to rectify the mistake. Day after lockdown, a relief package was announced by government for the vulnerable section, which ended up being too little and too late. As soon as the lockdown was announced, this section immediately lost their jobs and because of the sustenance nature of livelihood, they immediately ran out of food and basic necessity. The moment lockdown was announced, all the relief should have been announced simultaneously. The gap between the announcement of lockdown and the announcement of relief package was enough to create panic in these sections and due to uncertainty they started taking the extreme step of walking back on foot to their home. And soon the situation got out of control. Because remember, we are not talking about a handful of people, not even thousands, they are millions in number.

There was still a scope of avoiding the unfateful. All the states had enough resources and means to take care of all these workers but they failed to pacify and communicate to them. The situation came to a point that state government had to announce for hundreds of buses to carry them home in such a condition, loosing the very purpose of lockdown. The risk of people dying of hunger became believe than the outbreak itself.

Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Indian Economy

To an economy which is already going through high unemployment, the lockdown will add more supply stress, accelerating the slowdown further and jeopardizing the economic well being of millions of people. A complete social and economic lockdown of India for 21 days has severely impacted the supply side of the economy, that is, production and distribution of goods and services, except for the essential items that are allowed. An economy that is already going through rising unemployment, demand depression and lowering of industrial output and profits, all of which is happening together for several quarters now, a supply-side constraint would deliver a big blow, affecting growth prospects and social and economic well being of a large number of people.

While it is not easy to estimate the magnitude of the impact of a complete social and economic shutdown, but it is likely to be far more severe than either the 2016 demonetization or the 2017 GST rollout. Nobody now disputes that those two events gave economic shocks from which the economy had not yet recovered when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

At current, it is a supply-side problem. Both production and distribution of non-essentials have come to a big time halt. This affects at least 55% of the economy. It can even be larger because of previous partial lockdowns by various state governments. It may take a some more months for the final production and the sales to resume.

The impact of lockdown will be felt through several channels, weakening domestic demand, disruption in the financial market, and disruption in the supply chain. All of this would result in declining production and reduction of employees.

Even though the country may not slip into a recession, unlike Europe, the US, or Asia-Pacific that have stronger trade ties to China, analysts believe the impact on India’s GDP growth will be significant. GDP growth in India, is already at a speedy low and any further dent in economy output will bring more pain to workers who have seen unemployment and their wages erode in recent times.

Moody’s Investors Service, sharply slashed its projection for India’s GDP growth in the for year 2020 from 5.3% to 2.5%. Whereas, Crisil warned that there are further risks if the pandemic is not contained by April-June 2020, or if it spreads rapidly in India, affecting domestic consumption, and investment.

Parenting during the Lock-down

Parenting in the times of coronavirus lockdown.

I had a feeling that we are headed towards a strict lockdown in the second week of March. Playschool for my toddler was shut anyway and for the elder kid, we were mainly going out only for therapies and a little park time in evening. I ordered a toy car for my two year old to drive around the house if playing outdoors gets banned. But before the delivery could happen, India plunged headlong in its fight against corona virus; Uttar Pradesh reported a few cases and Noida became a red zone!

No couriers will be delivered, no parks will be open, no play dates can happen, schools will remain closed, and domestic helps barred entry in the society – welcome parenting in times of lockdown.

In ‘normal’ times, a good 7-8 hours from morning till afternoon are taken care of by a fixed school schedule on weekdays and weekends are sorted with a few hours of outing or meeting friends and family. But now every day is a holiday for the kids while you have to work from home and for home!

The biggest challenge is to keep them ‘engaged’! How do you do that from 7 am to 7 pm? Problem multiplies manifold when you have a child with special needs and a toddler under the same roof. The little one it seems has an unconquerable diet for play time while my nine year old autistic girl can spend an entire day asking for food! The kitchen is now forced to churn out 5 meals and 8 snacks a day!

Did anyone mention workouts during lockdown? Not possible when you have a toddler in the house! Do your pushups, he will lie under you, try the hip thrusts – he will sit on you, squats are incomplete without him riding on your shoulders and don’t even aspire for walking lunges, there are toy dynamites on every inch of the floor!

However, what we have successfully managed to do is to keep our sleep cycle unchanged. We follow same school routine of waking up early and sleeping on time. One parent handles the digital class and therapy schedule of the older kid while the other takes care of the little ones play and food needs. Lockdown compulsions have also brought forth our own capacity of working as a team and managing with limited resources at hand. Half an hour of skating on house tiles is allowed, using crayons on walls is allowed, screen time has increased too but so has bonding time for all four of us. Many challenges of parenting in lockdown have thrown many positives too for families during this uncertain period.

As I write this piece, we are in the eighth week of lockdown and praying that things ease out a bit in the coming days. There are memes abound on social media that if this lockdown continues then a mother is sure to find some vaccine for the virus before scientists.

I had stolen some time for myself to write this bit but now I need to unlock the door before their (kids) banging breaks it.

It’s been more than a month, and I’ve been feeling more and more like the inventive father, Guido, in the 1997 film Life is Beautiful, as I try and shield my almost-eight-year-old a little from the unprecedented reality we are living through. I try and create games through the positive spins I put on everything, from rationed chocolates and ice creams to the short-masked cycling excursions I allow her for filtered mouthfuls of the freshest air that Gurgaon has experienced in the last 20 years.

Everyone across the world is living their own strange reality these days, but parents of under-10s are perhaps going through their most puzzling and challenging parenting phase yet. While kids these days are more aware of the impact of climate change, can navigate a Zoom class easily, and put together a complicated puzzle faster than our generation could, they are still emotionally fragile and processing this time as a very significant part of their childhood. It is what it is, we say, as we grapple with the bleak financial forecasts and the rising numbers of casualties across the world. Every parent has their own unique coping mechanism, but here’s what I feel has worked for me.

1) Tell them Age-Appropriate Truths:

If you have a curious one (and I think 99% of us do!), you will need to explain the impact of COVID-19 and what the foreseeable future holds for them in small easy-to-digest nuggets. By now, they are probably on auto-pilot as far as scrubbing their hands, slapping on masks, keeping an arm’s-length distance are concerned – but how do you tell kids that school as they knew it may not happen till July? September? Who knows? Or birthdays? Or playtime in the park? Or that the pool may not be open all summer? I try and stick to weekly silver linings…next week, we may be able to hit some tennis balls downstairs or let’s fill the splash pool so that you can enjoy a pretend swim. Let’s do a four-way video call with your pals so that we can simulate some school girlie chatter. We even did a video birthday cake-cutting where they sang Happy Birthday for a friend. It’s my way of showing her that we will inch back to normal slowly when it’s safe to do so. 

2) Revel in Nature:

Since our kids are already little eco-warriors, this is the best part of the narrative to emphasise at this time. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they remember this time as the phase when dolphins and flamingos returned to Mumbai’s waters, or nilgai and peacocks roamed unfettered on Gurgaon’s streets, or the Ganga and Yamuna sparkled with clean waters and the snow-capped Himalayas were visible from Ludhiana? I make sure I show her all the WhatsApp forwards I receive that highlight these wonders from across the world so that she can feel good about the Earth rebooting itself and animals having their day. 

3) Family First:

This is the biggest and most obvious plus. How long has it been since Mom, Dad and in some cases, Nana-Nani/Dada-Dadi, have all been home all day, day after day? My daughter has discovered that Dad is a mean cook and has the patience to complete a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle over a week; Nana and Nani rock at Ludo and Snakes and Ladders, and Mamma can dust the whole house, tidy every cupboard and play word games with her. We’ve all cribbed about the lack of quality time and missing our children’s milestones, so now is the time to get the most of these trying days. Believe me, we will miss this the most when it’s over, so let’s create some family rituals that we can carry into life post-COVID. 

4) Less is More:

I’ve put together squared notebooks from empty pages of three older ones for her math homework, diluted paint in half-dried poster colour bottles so that she can paint watercolours, sharpened every colour pencil (we have far too many as a blister on my finger can testify!), taken out every single Lego set stashed away in drawers to. Suddenly, every toy bought over the last five years is that much more valuable as is every piece of clothing! She has enough summer clothes without me having had an opportunity to step out to replenish her wardrobe even though she’s grown more than a few inches over the last year! Involving her in making bagfuls of food, clothes and toys for charity also helps her empathise with what the world is going through. 

5) Touchy Feely Time:

My day starts with cuddles with the dog who is on Cloud Nine having all of us home 24-7, followed by at least 15 minutes of having my sleepy child draped all over me, hugging, just being, and sharing her night of dreams (both fantastic and fearful) and plans for the day. Such a far cry from the rushed school mornings we are all missing, right? All of us have stashes of handmade cards proclaiming her love for us with her ridiculous spellings and her adorable illustrations. Virtual goodnight kisses are shared with grandparents and lots of love, hugs and kisses are being dispensed on FaceTime, Zoom and every other possible medium. 

Kids are much more resilient than us, but as parents we are going through another learning phase through this lockdown!