What this Virus has taught me

What this Virus has taught me

March 26, 2020

By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC

A Gaur Gopal Das sermon,  which I wanted to share with SOM readers: Any of you getting frustrated at what is happening now ? Or any of you are disappointed that your plans are not going through ? Things are only  going wrong in your life? You must have asked this question several times: Why is this happening to me?  

Let me tell you a personal story of what happened to me a couple of years back. In November 2014, I went on a spiritual trip led by my Guru Radhaswami to a small but vibrant temple town called Udupi along with a group of 5,000  disciples. Every morning for the three days we were there, ten groups of 500 each would visit various spots in and around Udupi.

In the evening our Guru would  deliver his sermon and after that he would ask us to chant keerthans and dance  in joy. This went on for the first two days without any blip. What a bliss.

Last day, as I was singing and dancing with vigour, I heard a crunch in my toe and  knew immediately that there was something wrong. In tremendous pain, helped on by my two friends, I was taken to a  doctor, who diagnosed it as a fracture and advised me rest for three months. I came back to Mumbai. All my travel plans had to be  cancelled. I was not able to even go to an important summit in Germany where I was the keynote speaker.  

Frustrating, all plans blown out of the window. Yet I decided to see the positive side of this injury.  For three months I started to read all the books which I always wanted to read but somehow did not find the time. I also took care of my health. Met a lot of people which otherwise was hard because of my schedule.  By January 2015, I was up and running back doing my normal schedules. 

Four months later, May 2015, as I put my foot down from bed, I heard the same crunch in my toe again and the same cracking pain reappeared. Ironically, in the same toe. Based on my experience I knew it was a fracture. Why me ? I asked myself since I knew that again all my scheduling will have to be changed.

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Next morning I went to an Ortho, a friend of mine, who upon examination confirmed that it indeed was another fracture. He asked me: “Do you play football in your spare time ?” I asked: “Doctor, I may look like  a sportsman, but I have never played any sport in my life, why did you ask?” He said: “This kind of fracture, Jones fracture, is very common to footballers.” Still, it is not common to have a fracture on the same spot without any stress. 

Can you get a bone density  test done and bring me the result? When I brought the result to the doctor, it confirmed his worst fears.  He said: “You have a condition called Osteopenia, used to be a ladies problem but now quite common among men too.” He then prescribed the line of treatment. As I sat there looking at him, writing the prescription, it suddenly stuck me if I had not got the second fracture on the same spot, the doctor would never have recommended the  bone density scan and I would have never come to know that my bones were getting brittle and the reverse Osteopenia would have turned into something very terrible and irreversible over the years. 

With this changed perspective, I was grateful for the second fracture, although it meant another three months of forced rest. Yes, I lost three months but regained bone health with proper treatment.  What is good and what is bad is a relative thing. Never evaluate something based on a face value. What is apparently bad may turn out to be good in the long run and vice-versa. 

Now, let us apply this logic to the current Coronavirus self quarantine.  You may not be able to go to a restaurant or a movie; forced to eat boring home food. The flip side of this is that you eat healthy home food; out of sheer boredom you may pick up a book and start reading it. Practice safe and good hygiene habits like washing hands etc., which later on becomes a habit. With so much time, you may start observing nature, learn to observe the beauty of flowers, trees, birds etc. 

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To conclude, let us start enjoying this self quarantine. Think that it is a blessing  to be with your family and so spend quality time with them; you will notice that the time passes very fast, you look glowing and feel better at the end of the quarantine period. On the contrary, if you start brooding over this, you will feel miserable and make others miserable too.  So, it is up to you. Use this period to catch up with things you always wanted to do but could not and at the end of it, thank God you are safe and sound.

 As a Spokesman of the WHO said,  the whole world is watching how this population of billion plus is going to cope up with this virus. We Indians can and we will show the way to the rest of the world. Do you agree ? 

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