If it is to Be, It’s up to Me

Saturdays With Shivani

Having lived in Mumbai for almost 14 years, I had come to notice a pattern. Whenever disaster struck, and it did on a regular basis, it was Mumbaikars who would make rag tag disaster mitigation teams and reach out to each other. What is popularly called Mumbai spirit is actually the belief that if it is to be, it’s up to me. That is the mantra which sees them through the annual monsoon floods, the bomb blasts, the stampedes and whatever else that’s thrown in their direction.

Every incident follows the predictable path of initial shock, the casualties, administrative blame game, media crescendo and all of this eventually ending with a whimper. While the media and administrative vultures hover, the common man jumps in to the rescue. I had not witnessed this in Delhi or any other city that I have lived in and it has never failed to impress me.

COVID, or to be precise, the second wave has changed my perception. Since the past few days, people have started to come together and taken to social media to share relevant information and resources. Calls for donations are being made so that life saving drugs and oxygen can be procured. Strangers are reaching out with their little acts of kindness that make a huge difference.

Today I just want to thank all of you who are trying to be a part of the solution to the gigantic problem our country has slithered into. As a child, I would often hear the older people say that it’s the crores of Gods and demigods we pray, that save our country but now I know that it’s cumulative karma like yours that’s keeping us afloat.

For those of you who may feel overwhelmed when somehow anything you do doesn’t seem enough, I’m sharing two lines that have immensely helped me;

“I’m so small,” said the mole.

“Yes,” said the boy “but you make a huge difference.”

-Charlie Mackesy; The Mole, The Fox and The Horse

In the last year, I have lost my patience over reckless behaviour and rued about lessons we refused to learn but today I choose to focus on the kindness and empathy of those who are doing their bit in delivering us from this evil.

I hope all of you are remembered and revered when all this over. All of you are in my prayers and so is my beloved country. Love and light to all

Dr. Shivani Salil

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