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Opinion and Editorial

Time to stay grounded by staying grounded

Bikram Vohra
Filed on April 6, 2020


Each one of us has a role to play in fighting Covid-19

Yes indeed, people are stuck at various airports and cities. And they are severely inconvenienced. But this global shut down was on the cards a few weeks ago. What part of the geometrically increasing limitations on travel did you not understand. You hedged your bets and now you are complaining about the hassle.
Each one of us has a role to play in fighting Covid-19. When governments were issuing warnings and indicating they would ground you and then doing it in obvious stages even though the airline industry was hurting badly you didn't take it seriously. Several thousand flights have been cancelled. Many carriers fear bankruptcy in months. And still, there were people who did not get the message.
Now people are irate about the reception they got in a specific country, videos of chaos at Delhi airport and complaints about the service and the level of accommodation when what they should be doing is asking themselves a more pertinent question. Why were they on that aircraft in the first place?
The answer would most likely be, it was a matter of personal convenience. Urgent, of course, but purely motivated by personal interest. A wedding. A desire to get back into the family circle. The warm security of home as opposed to the cold, clinical world. The greed of a business deal, too much money at stake, cannot afford to delay it. Most of these reasons directly connected to normal conduct in an abnormal world. At least 80 per cent of these people could have stayed put and not moved from the port of embarkation.
The cruel fact is that people of worth often believe that the seamy and murky side of things does not concern them and they are not only above it but the laws and rules are not applicable. With that mindset they decided to fly and jeopardise not only their lives but the lives of those they do not know, others they would pass by and maybe infect, maybe not.
To a great extent this majority segment showed a great deal of indifference to the enormity of the situation and total disregard for global safety.
To be blunt besides the death of a loved one and the sickness of someone one very close to you, there was very little else that warranted getting on a plane. Business bottom lines aren't worth much if you are dead.
I had asked several people what else could be equally pressing to throw caution to the winds. No one came up with alternatives that demand flying.
And where it becomes criminal is when people like this so easily convince themselves that their interests are more important than the collective wellness of the world.
Think about it for a moment, governments are reeling under pressure, they are making decisions that have no precedent. Profound decisions. And here we had people taking a flight to sign a corporate deal.
Then we had this other tribe who believed they are too clever by far. They wanted to take advantage of the crash in air fares to travel and see the world, sit on a beach, ski, go mountain climbing, stay cheap through slashed hotel tariffs, live it up. Can you believe the sheer breathtaking effrontery in that their pleasures taking precedence over my life. They are finding virtue in their stance.
Smell the toxic brew. This is not the time for fun, it is the time to listen and obey and do the right thing for the right reason.
I read about this man in the US who ostensibly screamed about his constitutional rights because they told him he needed to be in quarantine. Another guy flew to Kerala because he had to make this big agreement, it was far too important to miss. People have flown with children indicating clearly they were on vacation, no, we paid for the room, why should we cut it short, we will manage.
It is incredible how they work out their sums. And they are same ones who make the maximum fuss when their comfort zone is encroached upon. No proper arrangements, no food, we only got one biscuit, they took away our passport, they wouldn't let us enter.

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