Opinion and Editorial

Delhi Covid crisis: Why an NRI heart is in limbo

Filed on May 3, 2021 | Last updated on May 3, 2021 at 06.29 am
A man walks after cremating his relative, who died due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, India, April 28, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui


The common man has finally relinquished his faith in ‘institutions’ and decided to take charge.

Today, the Indian capital is burning. There are a range of emotions too that the masses are going through. After all, what do you call a concoction of grief, anxiety and anger?

Looking for oxygenated beds, plasma therapy and remdesivir, oxygen cylinders and concentrators, the common man has taken the matters into his hands in his battle against a newer mutation of the virus. At a time when even the privileged are struggling to find all the support that can save their loved ones from the onslaught of Covid-19, we can only imagine what the poor and the vulnerable must be going through. The social media has become the new helpline. Scores of numbers are being circulated, civil society volunteers are stepping up to help the vulnerable, urgent requests are being quickly shared or retweeted in the hope that a Good Samaritan somewhere will reach out. The common man has finally relinquished his faith in ‘institutions’ and decided to take charge.

There is another common man — the one who may not be suffering on the streets of Delhi, but is going through just as much pain while receiving updates about a loved one who succumbed to the virus. As suffering becomes the new normal in India, tens of thousands of NRI families all over the world continue to live with a sense of desperate helplessness. There are moments when a video call or a WhatsApp message reassures us, and then there are moments when these very things break us. Some of us momentarily believe we are on top of things when we successfully manage to find a concentrator, or get medicines delivered to our families while living here. While others continue to fight a battle in their minds, imagining — and reimagining what may have happened had they been around.

In either of the circumstances, one is caught in a limbo — a place that does not offer any easy finality. Covid-19 has robbed us of that sense of an ending. But sitting far away from the site of suffering, the virus is teaching us an important lesson — to not take it for granted. Resuming our lives in the ‘new normal’, many of us tend to believe that the lifestyles we led before Covid-19 are to make a comeback soon. The gut-wrenching scenes from the Indian capital are a reminder that we cannot claim triumph over the virus so easily. Social distancing, masking, hand hygiene, contact tracing, vaccination will remain the realities within which our lives will unfold.

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