By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC
An Army Officer’s wife’s message, so straight, touched my heart, so thought of sharing it with ‘SOM’ readers:
“I contemplated a couple of times before jotting it down. I know probably a few will still not agree with me and bash me left, right and centre. But I don’t care as long as this post of mine brings a positive change to even one in the group.
I had decided to marry a ‘fauji’ and so we shifted to Kashmir when it was going through one of the roughest phases — the death of Burhan Wahi, resulting in burning of Kashmir to another level. We shifted there just couple of weeks after Burhan Wahi’s death and I was locked inside my home. My husband went on duty and I was inside the cantonment with no internet, no connection to him or any family whatsoever. We would desperately wait for internet connectivity.
I managed everything alone — cooking, cleaning, etc [had a male house help but if there is a curfew he would not be allowed to come inside]. I had 3 dogs then and took care of them alone. We had no access to any online shopping.
A vegetable van would come once a week and we would stand in a queue to get vegetables and necessary grocery stock for a week. Made great friends in the community [because all of us longed for support and everyone displayed impeccable community spirit], made calls to parents whenever we would get network and life went on.
My dogs learnt to pee and poo inside the washroom because the situations were such and also when it used to snow one cannot go outside too. Many times there were threats and whole area was under strict curfew and sometimes even the lights were put off. We could just have minimal lights, so we used to sit and pray that we survive for that one day. We also had to pray that our husbands return safely everyday.
Whenever there was relaxation, we went out and could hear slogans like “Army go back, Indians go back,…” It was the toughest time of my life but I survived.
I survived my days of pathetic pregnancy too. We used to go in a military jeep with bullet-proof jacket and gear to get advance check-up to the Main Cantonment [that was about 15 kms away from the cantonment I lived].
What was our entertainment? Films on “How to survive if there is an air raid? How to survive if there is a bomb raid? How to survive if there is a terrorist attack? etc etc. But I survived all this, and on the 8th month of my pregnancy, flew all alone out of this area to deliver the baby.
Why I am sharing all this? Because I am deeply pained seeing all the “cribbing” going on for everything in this lockdown. Less of grocery, maids not available, kids can’t go out, etc etc. Just imagine if it was not a lockdown due to virus but an actual war, would you still like to send your kids downstairs? Would you still go for a walk? Would you still crib if you did not have salad for a meal?
Then why crib now? Corona has already claimed more than 1,50,000 lives all over the world and this is no less than a war situation.
Teach your children resilience, art of survival, life skills, patience and last but not the least, ask them to count their blessings. Be happy, you have survived and are alive.”
Stark truth, bluntly said from someone who has survived a war. I am a senior citizen. This is my fourth week of lockdown and I personally do not feel the pressure anymore. Days are passing by without any problems. I do miss my favourite serials but I compensate them by viewing some old classic movies like, ‘Roman Holiday,’ ‘Ben Hur,’ ‘My Fair Lady’ etc. But all round, I find people cribbing as if the world has come to an end. Everything from groceries, medicines to vegetables are available in plenty. The Government on its part is trying hard to ensure that the citizens are not put to any unnecessary hardships but when dealing with such mammoth numbers, there is possibility of a slip-up here and there.
I am reminded of a story from Mahabharata: Ashwatthama became very angry when his father Dronacharya was killed so he unleashed a terrible weapon “Narayana Astra” on the Pandava army. Lord Krishna knew that there was no other ‘astra’ which could retaliate it. So he immediately asked his complete army to discard their weapons, kneel down and pray to Lord Narayana. The ‘astra’ calmed down and vanished.
The reason I am bringing out this story is that some battles are won by staying put, and remaining quiet. In today’s time, in order to face nature’s fury, we all need to stop work for some time, remain quiet, stay at home and pray for this virus to pass with minimum damage.
But let us all face this one reality. Lockdown is not the cure for Corona. The only help this social distancing will do is to flatten the curve till a vaccine cure is found. So we have to live with this virus for some time to come, even after the lockdown is lifted.
Let us face it. This a war and we have to survive this. And this can be achieved only through self-discipline and nothing else.