SATURDAYS WITH SHIVANI: Giving Up Isn’t A Choice

As the lockdown lifts and the number of cases rise, I can feel the heat closing in on me. Two friends messaged me that their loved ones tested positive and are battling COVID. There are a few more about whom I read on social media; someone’s cousin, parent, loved one suffering and sometimes losing to the virus. They are not statistics for me but real flesh and blood people.

Naturally, this troubles me but as someone who has dealt with infectious diseases and outbreaks, I know that cases and casualties will increase in the days to come. Does this mean social distancing isn’t working? We may be tempted to think that all that restraint we showed during lockdown came to nothing.

With everyone talking numbers, it’s easy to give in to such thoughts. Resist that urge and continue to do the right thing. Stay calm and help others do the same. There will always be time to ponder on what could have been done and what would have happened. I indulge into that process myself only to realise that it isn’t helping me or the people around me.

What works however is my faith that comes with the scientific acumen I possess. I know that we shall fight the disease. We just need to stand firm and continue doing what we have been for the past few months. One early morning jog, tea with a friend or visiting your favorite vegetable vendor for your greens may seem innocuous tasks. Every time we choose to act on those urges, we set a chain reaction. We put our loved ones to risk too; some of whom may be extremely susceptible.

If we assume that we can outsmart the virus by this little cheating of ours, we are gravely mistaken. The good news however is that the reverse of it holds true as well. We break the transmission process with every mindful action of ours. Social distancing can only work when we are united as a population.

As the healthcare infrastructure groans and creaks under the pressure let’s do our bit to ease it. Any additional pressure and it will give up on us. By now most of us know that for all the money and contacts in the world, getting the treatment at the right time is a logistical nightmare. Can we afford to test our limits and limitations any further?

The reason that I write today is to tell all those who read this that despite the tough times and the rising numbers our efforts are not in vain. Dejection and fear are natural but giving up is not a choice we can risk. However long the tunnel may seem, there is hope at the end of it. Let’s hold on to it and wait for this darkness to dispel.

Allow me to share with you a quote by Faiz Ahmed Faiz that has often helped me through dark times-

Dil na umid to nahīn nakam hi to hai,

Lambi hai gham ki shaam magar shaam hi to hai

Dr. Shivani Salil

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