Light at the End of the Tunnel

“However, as humans have always learnt and understood from such events, every cloud has a silver lining.”

The words “positives” and “pandemic” sound mismatched together, for how can the biggest humanitarian crisis of this century responsible for over five million deaths have anything optimistic related to it? The past year and a half have halted the lives and routines of billions of people across the world, and the foreseeable future continues to look bleak. People continue to suffer, families are still being torn apart, and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for several communities and masses.

However, as humans have always learnt and understood from such events, every cloud has a silver lining. While this period has been full of obstacles we are still trying to wade through, the skies will surely be much brighter and radiant at the end of this cold, dark storm. There are several positive outcomes we can look up to and bring up our spirits for the future.

Perhaps the earliest noticeable positive outcome of the lockdown was the impact on the environment due to reduced human activity (albeit it speaks volumes about the repercussions of our reckless behaviour, ignorance and foolishness). Nature got a period for rejuvenation that was long overdue, which came in the form of less air, noise and water pollution. The carbon footprint from China reportedly reduced by 25%, and ecologists claim that this has managed to save around 77,000 lives. People from many parts of North India could spot the Himalayas for the first time in decades. Animals have been rescued from rundown shelters, as people found solace in their presence and started keeping them as pets.

Speaking of pets, this brings us to how the lockdown helped build new relations and friendships, and made us cherish the existing ones. Sure, maybe vacations and outings haven’t been possible, but at least we don’t get to go back to impending work or deadlines! Because of hectic schedules, we couldn’t avert our gaze from work and dwell more in the beauty of the environment and people around us. It was only when we were separated from this setting that we began to sincerely appreciate these otherwise mundane experiences of our life. It has also become easier to build and manage a healthier work-life balance. Life may have slowed down, but it gave us all a much-needed break for introspection and reconnections. Perhaps a few decades down the lane, we will be reminiscing the moments we shared with our beloved ones and their support during these difficult times with a fond smile on our faces.

We’re probably all familiar with a wise saying, “Modern problems require modern solutions”. Several new tools, discoveries and inventions have been made during this period. For instance, the E-commerce industry has rapidly commercialized drones and robots and opened web stores to improve remote delivery services. In March 2020, Oregon Health and Science University pioneered the first-ever CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing in humans. Scientists working at CERN discovered a first-of-its-kind tetra-quark particle. SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch humans into orbit, thus ushering in a new age of commercial spaceflights. Several applications and websites have been developed to track the prevailing healthcare situations and facilities, all just a few clicks away. Rigorous research carried out by scientists and researchers day and night has made vaccines available at a large scale to combat the virus. These are proving to be of great help to the distressed medical personnel.

We are living through unprecedented times which call for action and awareness. Activism has grown exponentially as it has been easy to come together to help communities and understand their plight in these trying times. Despite the pandemic garnering most headlines, several global protests caught the attention of the media and masses. Multiple such images and videos surfaced on the internet, whether from the BLM (Black Lives Matter) protests in the USA against racial injustice, Thailand’s pro-democracy drive, Nigeria’s EndSARS campaign against police brutality, the march against the abortion bill in Poland, or the outroar against the Hathras rape case in India. The world stood in solidarity with protestors despite being miles apart, and fighting for the same uniting cause- to make the world a better place.

Making these positives last, however, comes with a great responsibility on our part. A lot needs to be learnt and corrected in terms of our reactions to such situations, planning and effective execution to ensure the least harm is inflicted by such catastrophes. Maybe times like these serve as a powerful reminder that we must all move together and develop unitedly and not as multiple broken fragments of haves and have-nots, or the elites and the non-privileged. Only then will the light at the end of the tunnel continue to glow brightly as we keep taking one step closer, together.

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