Counting positives in the time of Corona

By Priyabrata Chowdhury

One may argue if a virus as deadly as this could leave us with any positives to count on and hold on to. There’s calamity at play as an untamed contagion continues to take lives into its deathly embrace, turning cities across the globe into war-ravaged ghost towns. Everywhere you look, the roads are empty, businesses closed, car horns amiss and vendors conspicuous by their absence. Even street dogs have fallen strangely silent, as if utterly bemused by the unfamiliar scenes around them. Body bags are piling up and the world is nowhere close to finding a cure for Covid-19.

So, what positives can a proper doomsday scenario throw up, you may ask. Well, the positives, to my count, are few but significant. They have been in the nature of simple things that we may have ignored earlier in the course of our busy lives. However, the world of leisure, brought on by an extended nationwide lockdown, seems to have put them on the forefront. For starters, the sky looks a lot cleaner, shorn of the dark clouds of pollutants and noxious fumes thrown up by vehicles and industrial units. The moon seems to have been lent a fresh coat of silver and even distant stars are sparkling more.

Even as the ghats of Benaras are lying empty, the Ganges looks the cleanest it’s ever been. In Mumbai, believe it or not, dolphins were recently spotted sporting in the waters. In faraway Italy, where natives haven’t had a lot to cheer for amid the Corona gloom, swans, which were wary of cruising on the serpentine waters of Venice, are back as empty gondolas lie moored. There are numerous other instances of nature reclaiming its lost space.

Across households, the buzz at dinner tables is back as professionals, whose unforgiving shifts seldom afforded them time to even sit down for a meal with their kin, now have a wealth of time in their hands for that and more. Many are busy posting selfies with elderly parents or grandparents on social media, not knowing when the next such opportunity will present itself. While not putting a sexist dint on it, homemakers can now chill as their husbands have ample time to not just lend a hand in the kitchen but also run other household chores.

Even as negativity surrounds us, let’s keep the spirit up in the hope that more positives will soon dawn on us like the golden sun after a stormy night.

Priyabrata is a journalist and a wary husband.

We welcome your articles, stories and poems (in বাংলা and English) at letters@timesofcorona.com

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