Small lapses have huge consequences. Sometimes the impact is limited to the doer (rather non-doer). At times, extends to many others around too. Of course during this pandemic, I cannot but help talking about individual lapses and irresponsibility. While it is easy to blame the country, government, municipality, hospitals, trains, aircrafts, buses, cabs, autos, events, employers, vegetable vendors and just about everyone around us for the spike and spread of Corona, the question is what are we doing to contain it ? Many of us are not even willing to wear the mask when we step out. It is a small act of wearing a small piece of cloth but can hopefully stop the unwanted alien from entering our bodies. Not just that, it can stop us from being the carrier and spreading havoc around. Does this mask alone help ? May be. May not be. But a small conscientious act from every individual will go a long way in contributing to mega things – health, peace, business, employment, GDP growth, sustainable living….so much so that it is in our ‘hands and mouth’ to ensure that countries stop sparring and warring with one another ! That is as much power that we have at an individual unit level of existence. Unfortunately many of us don’t seem to realise. The other day I watched the security guard of the neighbourhood park desperately trying to plead with a fitness freak who had broken into the gym area despite the barricade, not to enter in. There was yet another lady who had the mask in her hand and not her face. She cared two hoots for the security guard’s whistles and instructions to wear the mask as she was busy on a video call with someone, showing off the beautiful park and complaining about Corona. What hypocrisy ! I continue to see autorickshaws loaded with 6 people, triple riders on two wheelers, devotees in temples – all without masks, throwing social distancing to the wind. Small things with huge consequences. Sadly to entire society. These are not lapses. They are deliberate violations of simple protocols. We seem to need policing for our own safety too. This has become part of our culture to defy with disrespect and question without owning up any responsibility.
On the other hand we also have an entire Sikh community doing what they are best known for – seva or service. This picture and writeup (doing rounds on social media) about how the Sikhs are nursing the wounds on the feet of desperate migrant workers who are on their painfully long ‘paadayatra’ (walking) is very moving. I have always held this community in awe for their sense of service to humanity sans caste, creed and religion. Salute to them for doing something as simple as cleaning a wound but making a huge difference to the souls and bodies of the tired workers. To the psyche of all of us too.
Talking of small deeds and lapses with large consequences, I am reminded of a successful startup founder who is a well-known investor now. In one of his acquisition transactions, his lapse committed elsewhere caused a huge delay in getting regulator’s approval here. He and his co-founder had happily forgotten to complete filings of another dormant company where they were the only 2 directors. Consequently that company was marked “Active-non-compliant” by MCA which was picked up by RBI and approval for acquisition made conditional – strictly speaking the 2 transactions had no connect whatsoever except for the common startup founder. While the acquisition was completed, it was not without multiple rounds to RBI, calls and explanations to assure that the ‘forgotten company’ would become compliant soon. There may have been genuine reasons for the non-filing lapse, but it did cost in terms of time and money – both for the startup founder (now acquirer) as well as the target company that was hungry for funds. Bottom line is – whether corporate citizen or individual citizen, let us focus on self-governance and abide by the law / protocols. Now more than ever before so that the crisis doesn’t dissipate further. Small things do make a difference !!
Each one of us has some interesting lessons to share during these lockdown times. Not that there was no learning earlier. Just that we were too busy to stop by and observe. We thought we were ‘living it out’. Were we ? Perhaps not. We had allowed ourselves to be swept away in the swirl of events, even forgetting our own selves, our talents, our interests, our health & our relationships. The positive side-effect of COVID19 is that such hidden talents are surfacing albeit hesitantly, through songs, sketches, games, recipes, knitting, painting, photography, talks etc. Ms. Ashwini Hegde, one of our long term team members has sketched this beautiful piece. I never knew she had this artist hidden in her. The current situation has helped her rediscover herself and now she vows to spend a few hours every week sketching. Doing what we like best, apart from ‘working’ is the best therapy we deserve and should give ourselves !
You will be surprised that Work can also be therapeutic at times. Especially if you get back after a long period of rest due to lockdown, mourning, illness or joblessness. You value the availability of work even more just like you value rest and relaxation. As they say, you value something only when you lose it. This is what my servant maid and press-wallah (dhobhi) realised, being out of work for nearly 6 weeks. While they were itching to return to work, they had rusted so much by over-resting that for the initial few days they couldn’t work. Lakshmi said “Akka, I was tired and bored sitting at home but now after resuming work, I realise my body is not cooperating with me. I am unable to walk, bend and clean. Experiencing severe body pain”. Manogaran, the press-wallah said “Madam, the iron-box seems so heavy now that I am unable to lift it. My hands and feet are protesting”. Well, the only antidote to this malady is work, work, work. A few days into the week, both of them are feeling better and happy, feeling wanted, feeling a sense of pride and self-esteem. While “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a popular adage, the current forced hiatus has also taught us that “All rest and no work makes Jack a rusted boy” ! Lets welcome Work during these times to rebuild our society – with care & responsibility that we are the trustees of Mother Earth. The way we live and work has changed. Let Responsible & Responsive Living be the New Normal !!