Letter to my Daughter

Hello my dearest daughter Asmita,

We are all at home first time in many years, just us spending quality time. Life feels like it is at a standstill. Lot of poor people are on the street walking hundreds of kilometres to reach home to be with their dear ones. We, as a country, are not prepared. We have limited testing kits, lack of ventilators, hospitals are not equipped so we are in hands of nature. No worries we are taking good care of ourselves. We will weather this storm collectively.

In the process of keeping ourselves safe from the virus, the world has realised that life is more precious than our beautiful luxurious homes, the fancy cars parked outside and all the designers sarees and clothing locked in the almirahs. All the expensive jewellery and accessories which never saw the light of the day for so many days and months, neither did anyone need all the expensive cosmetics. Oh I don’t even remember what happened to that wonderful red lipstick of mine I never allowed you to use. People said I looked sexy wearing it. I have even forgotten about those heels I always wanted to have, all ladies leather purses, belts and I don’t know what all which, inspite of people’s conviction as vegetarians,they continued buying as they didn’t care for those animals whose skin consumers fancied. I have even forgotten “what will people say”, typical Indian mindset driving us mad in our social behaviours.

But in lockdown, you retrospect but also reflect. Why did we not lock ourselves when Delhi was declared the most polluted city in the world. Cars didn’t stop racing, circling the city mostly for no reason,factories did not stop releasing smoke and fumes because we needed more production. We did not even ban plastic which continued polluting ponds, rivers and oceans. Why werecigarettes, alcohol and gutka allowed knowing well the health hazards of each one of them.

We live in a world where we needmore and more of everything. More food, clothes, fun and travel.The human life was valued at how much you have,what is your net worth. How high is your home, how deep is your pocket. Who is the designer of your clothes, your body, your looks, your wedding celebrations etc. If you have no designer clothes, you are worth nothing.You are not worth recognition, not even worth getting invited. So where are these designers? If you are poor, you don’t exist; you are discounted. Oh too bad you are poor, it is your one fault after all, you are not hardworking enough, you don’t deserve even a sub-human life.

The great realisation today my dear daughter, is that we are the master of our own destiny. We don’t need what we didn’t need in this period of lockdown. If we want to be safe the message is
“Stay Home Stay Safe” As a result of following the social distancing model to flatten the curve, the environment has become clean. Here, we’ve never had clean air, blue skies, birds singing from morning till night even in the midnight we never had rivers as clean as the river water has become now, government planned to spend millions of rupees to clean the river and river water has become clean on its own, nobody had to do anything but to just stay home. What a simple solution to every problem we as humanity are facing.

I only saw the paintings and photographs of the beautiful nature around us. On every social media platform, human creativity has come out in the form of nature. Beautiful plants, greenery,butterflies, flowers blooming. I’ve seen photographs of animals enjoying there free land and lots and lots and lots of beautiful poem songs. Where was this creativity lost? Did people forget who they are? And did we really need a pandemic to remind us of the beauty that lies within and in the world?

I remember Gandhiji‘s famous saying “there is enough for everyone’s need but not enoughfor their greed.”That is the new mantra of the “New Normal” post COVID -19.

With lots of e-hugs and e-kisses,

Your Mother,
Ranjana Kumari

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