Rhyme and Reason
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Rhyme and Reason

Foreboding & Survival of the Sanest

Alina sprung awake just like a child wakes up on their birthday. She hastily wore her slippers and ran to the bathroom taking quick successive steps. She got ready in a record 15 minutes and went outside to open the door of her apartment. There was milk, newspaper, and fresh flowers placed neatly in a bag clung to the side of the door.

“Well well well, look who wakes up before their mother now”, she said to herself, a little more loudly hoping her mom would hear her, wake up, and come out of her room.

But that did not work.

She looked at the time, it was still only 6:30 AM. Mr. Mascarenhas would drop laadi pav exactly in an hour.

She made two cups of tea and waited for Mom’s bedroom door to open.

It was now 7:00 AM. It was also day 15, the end of Mom’s quarantine. “Any minute now”, Alina said to herself.

But the door was shut tight. There was no movement.

Mom was late.

Mom is never late.

***

If this were a show, you would think something bad was about to happen now. Why was mom late? Did she not make it through the night? Would Alina’s excitement to meet her mother be short-lived and end horribly?

This is foreboding. A human quality built over several centuries and stages of evolution that helps one sense bad news (or threat). But something that was helpful once (and made drama writing fun) is now leading us to a dangerous, and perhaps unsalvageable doom.

Owing to the situation, we all are in a constant state of foreboding. We feel some panic every time we switch on the news, open Twitter or Instagram, check messages, or see someone’s missed call. But still, we continue to doomscroll, and end up feeling helpless, extremely angry at political leaders, and anxious about our family’s health.

So, I am here to give you a philosophical perspective that can help you orient yourself.

Choosing Happiness Like Our Progress Depends On It.

Right now, seeking happiness feels wrong. It feels inappropriate to even look for joy as the world crumbles. This is because human beings tend to be hard on themselves; perhaps to prove their empathy and consideration. And right now, we are being thrown into the deep end of misery; some of it kindling our foreboding instinct and some of it, ensuring an outrage. “The least you can do is bear witness”, they say.

But no, you don’t have to.

All you need to do is to remind yourself that you are just a person mustering courage and are doing everything in their capacity to make their own reality a little better.

The government has left us to fend for ourselves. That is the truth. How it happened, why it happened, who is to blame is not going to change the reality right now. Those are matters of retrospect. Let’s focus on the now. Want to help? Find a cause and go after it. That’s it. That is all you can really do. Just look at the situation as it is, without being worked up and without labeling it good or bad and deliberately, desperately hunt for some sanity. Leave the questioning to the journalists — they are doing a great job.

You just have to take charge of your own joy because the circumstance is not providing it. It is a tedious, unnatural practice, but I believe it is the need of the hour.

Here is proposing Democritus’s philosophy — happiness isn’t a result of a favourable fate or external circumstances; it is the property of one’s soul.

The progress of humanity is based on the premise that things will get better. But I also believe, you have to make space for hope in your brain. And hope comes to the ones in charge of their emotions and aren’t fostering foreboding. In today’s world, this is what would be considered as ‘survival of the fittest’ — the ones who don’t succumb to this feeling of doom.

***

Well for the sake of closure, nothing goes wrong in Alina’s story. Her mother comes out wearing her beautiful red kaftan. Alina and Mom look at each other and smile ear to ear. They say a big hello to Mr. Mascarenhas as he delivers the laadi pav and the two of them dip it into their lemongrass, ginger brewed chai, and savour it.

Also, I am not going to leave you without a plan. Here is my ready reckoner that helps me orient my energies towards sanity —

Step 1: Compile information
Figure out your exact first steps.
- Make a list of 3 ambulance services close by.
- Make a list of 2 doctors you can call.
- Make a list of 2 friends who can help you when you need transport, food, and medical supplies.
- Make a list of 3–4 hospitals/clinics near you that are functioning as COVID centers.
- Make a list of oxygen suppliers in your area with their phone numbers. (Do not already decide that there is no supply and panic; things will follow through once you are ready).
Call someone who has recently had this experience, for the best source numbers.

Step 2: Create patient cards: for digital circulation & hospital registration
Urgently need —
Name of the patient —
City —
Age —
Blood Group —
Hospital —
Phone number —
Aadhar number (for hospital registration) —

Step 3:
Make this information ready for everyone at home.
Don’t panic. Double mask. Eat your vitamins. Take the jab.

All the best. Reach out. We got this.

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Tanvi

Tanvi

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I hear stories and show it as data. Sometimes, it’s the other way round. Writer/researcher/marketer | Health-tech puhsun