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Lessons from a virus

COVID-19 has made us stop and take notice of the more meaningful things in life

Lessons from a virus
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The Coronavirus global pandemic carries some important lessons for mankind. The pursuit of endless greed and money can lead to no good. Mindless exploitation of the planet's resources has set us up for many such COVID-19-like catastrophes waiting to unfold or melt! We don't have much time to save the Earth, perhaps we are too late already, but there can be no arguments about climate change and the necessity for sustainable living. If you're unfortunate enough to be governed by political leaders who tell you otherwise, it's time to boot them out!

This virus is the greatest leveller…it infects both rich and poor alike. Kings and princes, world leaders, actors, all have fallen victim to this could-be fatal virus. Obviously, wealth makes even isolation and lockdown more bearable but at the end of the day, whether privileged or underprivileged, all have to adhere to government rules and stay put.

COVID-19 is an important lesson in human cooperation. After all, only if all of us liaise and follow the physical distancing can we break this deadly virus' inexorable march. We have to each think of the other and how our thoughtless, irresponsible actions can cause the spread of the virus. If only singer Kanika Kapoor could discern the difference between personal freedom and social responsibility!

The Coronavirus teaches us patience, you have to wait it out. The weeks of the possible implosion have to be ridden out. Spend time with family, pets, paint, learn an online course, workout at home, Netflix and chill, do what you want but you have to unwearyingly wait it out within the confines of your home.

We are being instructed on reverting to the simpler pleasures of life, reading a book, listening to the bird's song, soaking in the pollution-free clear blue skies. This virus, however, merciless it can be, is teaching us to appreciate the leisure activities that we have almost all but forgotten. A game of ludo or 'Antakshari' or should we energise the brain with a round of chess?

I have discovered the joy of spartan living. Reducing a few items of a meal, recognising personal addictions (potato chips give me the utmost joy!), sifting the 'needs' from the 'wants', the Coronavirus outbreak has definitely cleaned out my home and uncluttered my mind. The Coronavirus has forced us to accept that 'work from home' is indeed possible in many sectors. Some industries need a human presence but for many companies, working remotely is an option. The post-Coronavirus world should take forward the lessons of flexibility of the workplace. And not just for women wanting flexible hours post-pregnancy, the option to work from home should be offered to all (men, women, single, gay, married). Cutting down on commute time and expense can only make workers more productive. This is especially true of companies that have large teams and multiple personnel handling similar responsibilities. The virus has also taught us the need for companies and brands to have a digital presence, and the support that traditional companies require during times of exigencies.

And that brings me to finance. The biggest lesson for people, companies, and governments alike is to allocate money towards savings, education, and health. Millennials may want to spend their salaries on purchases, gadgets, and travel, but saving for a rainy day(s) is never more pertinent than today. We must, must, must have contingency funds to tide us over uncertain times like these. We also learn of gratitude, we should be grateful for the roof over our heads, the well-being and safety of ourselves and our loved ones. We should be thankful for the groceries and supplies that we have and the ability to take care of our household and family. We are indebted to our domestic help and support staff who make our lives easier every single day. We cannot appreciate enough the selfless work of doctors, nurses, and essential service providers.

In a world so divided over religion, race, and trade, the biggest lesson that COVID-19 has imparted is the irreplaceable need for global cooperation. This fight against Coronavirus is almost like a synchronised dance, an opera where all players must perform their piece and only then can we overcome this global pandemic and the repercussions that will follow. It will take the global economy months to recover from this recession, and the only way forward is by helping each other.

Most importantly, dear readers, the Coronavirus teaches us of compassion. The need to hold onto staff, the desire to help others, and the pursuit of meaningful goals. I hope we are all listening, watching, and learning, and do not forget these lessons that are coming at a great cost to mankind.

The writer is an author and media entrepreneur. Views expressed are strictly personal

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