Life lessons from the coronavirus


Image Credit: Reuters

Covid-19 and I: everyone should reflect on this during these times. This is necessary because it will define how we will be in the new world dawning on us sooner than later.

I have learnt two lessons, which will set my ethos of how I am tomorrow. The virus has proven to be a teacher. It has taught me that we need to think of others more than ourselves (Only I can decide not to infect others). This will also save me if others are safer. At the same time, it has also taught me that I need to keep myself well-exercised with extra lung capacity and maintain good health, so that I can survive if it gets me. The virus being merciless to everyone unhealthy and unfit irrespective of age.

The virus has also defined a more humane world. It has set a situation for us. The situation has set the future for us in terms of new commerce, new economy, new behaviours, new government and public engagements, our relationships, our transactions, our social responsibilities, our health, our duty towards the Earth and most importantly, how we are, and act as human beings.

Commerce and transactions are now about new customer experiences. It has been like that before the virus. Now it is on a sugar rush after the coronavirus pandemic. The experiences are however both imposed and exposed. What is imposed has also been exposed. Customers have developed an eye to shop more visually sitting at home imposed on them which has also exposed them to more of things they never knew. This has led them to want less, buy less overall.

Learning to live with less

Retail sales everywhere are dropping even when shopping of virtually everything is possible online in the comfort of ones’ home. I have realised that we can live with less and still get more of life.

The more of life: spending more time with family, more time to exercise, more time to reflect, more time to pray, more time to love and of course more time to do work as well. This has actually saved money for people like me and surely tomorrow people will spend less to live more.

I also see and hear more of birds chirping, I see nature more clearly, I hear my friends in the UK and Europe talking about deer coming out of the forest in herds onto the main road, videos of dolphins in Venice waters, UN citing cleaner air, and I feel it too …. I see more of life ahead of me that I never saw before.

What is sad is economic future is uncertain, and this is because if I spend less and do the same tomorrow, it will also impact everyone else who had jobs because I was spending and living. I was the reason that many had jobs, and I will be the reason many will not. Is the future then dependent on my actions and will my future be dependent on how I go back to how I was before the pandemic? Is not Earth cleaner today because of me too?

This uncertainty and clarity in my mind has led to a new thought — why did all this happen in the first place? I can only think of “lies.” Lies caused this virus to spread. Then when this pandemic would have destroyed livelihoods and lives, people would be even weaker financially, and finally, when the virus is beaten through the vaccine, would not “lies” become the new virus.

Would not fake news and lies become the new virus?

I believe it will. It will then be a battle of lives and livelihood. When the battle to save lives is won, the new battle of livelihoods will begin. I hope the lessons taught by the virus will not be forgotten. I hope we do not forget the good the pandemic did too, and not bring out the worst in us when the battle of livelihoods starts.

— Richard Menezes is the founder, executive vice-chairman and CEO of Utico.

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