Lessons coronavirus is teaching us
















By William Pais

Apr 12: It is a remote analogy. But I dare to draw it in the present different and difficult circumstances. Back in my schooldays on the way to school during rainy season we used to encounter Trombidiidae, better known as red velvet mites or rain bugs, on the bright green grass just after the rains. Their velvety red colour attracted all, one would pick them up in hands and admire their beauty. They were docile and moved slowly. For all their visually appealing and meek qualities, colloquially they were called 'Cows of God' or 'Devachem Gorum' in Konkani. The parallel here, when two of these mites joined, to me, resembled the microscopic vision of coronavirus that is deeply engrained in the psyche of our present times and has robbed us of our peace.

A microorganism that is not visible to the plain eye has brought almost the entire world to an abrupt standstill. The work we thought was so necessary to our daily life stands suspended and mankind has no clue what will emerge in the next moment. Each morning as the thoughts of work for the day come gushing, the unwanted and unseen guests in front of our house dance in gay abandon, and put an end to everything, pushing us to inner confines of our homes. Most of us who took for granted what was on the table have suddenly realized the value of it and getting food is foremost on the itinerary of everyone. The raging roads with 24x7 zooming of automobiles have begun to look like ghost highways where none dares to venture. The bursting metropolis with zooming sounds of the machines of different hues and capacity, have come to a grinding halt, waiting for their resurrection, imminently days away.

Till last month the defense of every country was fighting a different war with their visible enemy but today the enemy of nation is hidden in the most unlikely of places. Back home, in India, the streets reverberated with echo for and against the thought of who will belong to this country and who will not. The elected government once elected, thought the piece of earth of which they were in charge, belongs to them and tried every trick in the book to oust those they were intolerant about. Their rants have stopped now. Even majority government has slowly started to think about the “others” and less fortunate. The granaries that were hitherto allowed to go rotten are slowly being opened to the hungry stomachs and money to the poor however miniscule has started to dent the greed of those who are in charge of the government. In the administrative landscape in reality there was no space for the dispossessed. Look at the abrupt call for countrywide lockdown in three-hour notice and note the utter chaotic situation in our urban centers. Migrants, poor and marginalized had for long had learned to trust in their own capabilities and ordered their feet to take them to a place where they hoped to be a little more comfortable. Any right thinking government would not mete out such a harsh treatment to its own people who elected them in the first place. The government basked in the glory of an absolute majority, thought they would wade through anything and everything. The irrational tax structure by the government was a detriment to lakhs of enterprising men and women; government would not listen to the woes of tax paying citizens. All of the government schemes were directed towards making the rich richer. Now the government is facing the prospect of drastic loss of revenue. All the actions of a majority government looked draconian and authoritarian. The narrative of a PM coming at eight in the night and saying from twelve midnight the country would come to grinding halt can only illustrate that we do not have space for the homeless, and the dispossessed.

The pandemic, in all its supremacy has not spared anyone no matter where they belonged. It has virtually brought everyone to his or her knees and made them wonder what lay ahead. The same PM who did not bat an eyelid to clamp the lockdown, now takes many days to consult the chief ministers and does not arrive at decision even after prolonged deliberations. He seemed to have prescription to every malady of the country but he is silent on the next direction the country needs in the difficult times. In fact it is the civil service and the state governments that are doing effective work to contain the pandemic. Corona has mellowed everyone. The religious leaders of different sects, who only seemed charitable at the outset and summoned the needy to their doorsteps, chose to deliver the food supplies to the needy in their doorsteps. The bishop of Mangaluru in a rare appearance was seen giving food packets to the hungry in a simple attire devoid of Catholic regalia, a sight of real church ministry. The seers have started worrying about the hungry and started saying none should and would go hungry to bed. The hungry and the needy were always there, only the possessed ones did not take note of them. To strengthen the already strong, to give possessions to those already possessed, was the adage till yesterday. Today everyone has slowly started to think about those who are hungry, we have started understanding why they are hungry and homeless. Disproportion that was deemed moral and legitimate is soon turning into a reality that we need to share something with the less privileged.

The thought that earth was my domain has slowly changed into a thought that the earth belongs to everyone. That we are not islands but a landmass connected to each other. No amount of preaching sermons, satsangs would manage to drill hole in the brain to espouse a feeling of kindness but corona managed to do all that in one go. That we were overexploiting the earth and its resources and the greedy became poachers officially and unofficially. That no amount of earthquakes, calamities made this point, even if they did, none would be taken note of. Invisible corona has done that in a minimum time. Corona has brought a good sense in our public and social discourse. It has brought humanity to the fore against divisions we created. It has brought out the need to share with others. It has brought a rethinking into our using of resources. Look at the hospitals which were overflowing with the afflicted everyday. But when the pandemic started to preside over, all other diseases have taken backstage. The need to go to a doctor for other ailments have become bare minimum, and by my conservative scanning of medical landscape, even deaths relating to killer diseases have come down.

The birds have started to chirp and the trees have started to sway in gay abandon. This pandemic in an opportune moment to rethink and redesign our negotiations with what is around us - both living and not living, tangible and intangible. It is time to restore everything to the place where it really belongs respectfully. That expelling something from its place may be fatal. Let corona pandemic be an opportunity to be just and kind. Corona to me looks like the red velvet mite and has come like the Cow of God to restore us to the place where we all really belong, a place of pride of our own in this vast Universe.

Oh corona give us fear but not disease
Oh corona Give us lessons not death
Oh corona become an angel to the weak
Oh corona become Cow of God
Oh corona go soon but before you go
Make this world a better place.

William Pais is the author of the Land Called South Kanara and is the director of Gallerie Orchid, Mangaluru.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the above article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Daijiworld. Daijiworld does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.





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Comment on this article

  • Alwyn, Mangalore

    Mon, Apr 13 2020

    Great article.

    Oh corona gives us the fear of God but not the disease of politicians
    Oh corona Give us lessons of humanity not death in religious hatred
    Oh corona become an angel to the weak but not God to the devil
    Oh corona become Cow of God but don't give COVID-19 milk
    Oh, corona go soon but before you leave Make this world a better place,
    if possible, take all corrupt and evil politicians in your kingdom.

    I just added my thoughts.

    It is really scary to see when a person is dying with COVID-19 infection.

    Stay Home. Avoid unnecessary travel or visit. Wash your hands often. Drink warm water/lemon juice with ginger, turmeric, honey in it.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kishore Kumar, Mangaluru

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Corona virus has truly thought us what is 'untouchability' !

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr. Zita Lobo, Mangalore/Rak

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Discussions along these lines are good. This epidemic has shaken everyone from the stock ways of thinking.
    The biggest lesson learnt in this whole saga of COVID-19 should be to help each other in whatever one's capacity is. In fact, the most respected healthcare workers are now seen with suspicion and fear of having contracted the virus albeit while helping fight the disease. "Vaidyo narayana hari " are seen as messengers of yama. Hopefully this will change soon. Keep the faith. This too shall pass.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • H M Perrnal, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Agreed - It is time to restore everything to the place where it really belongs respectfully. But at what cost ? Appreciate the prescriptive. Good One Sir.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    'Devachem Gorum'...

    ...good one.

    I did not know it had a scientific name. Thank you for the article.

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, Mangaluru

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    This Virus
    Has Come down to Teach us
    Things unknown hither in Complete Lockdown
    Still the Ego refuses to bow down.

    We Continue to Bicker
    As to who is Better
    When before a miniscule unseen killer
    All continue to shiver.

    It's a man made Disaster
    Without caring for Mother Nature
    Looking for solutions eagerly outside
    Senses still under the Hammer.

    Everything we took for Granted
    The ' ME' The ' I' ..To be Masters of Fate
    This Tiny Fly has come around
    To show our accomplishments till date.

    Very well written dear Pais.
    Keep writing.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Josephine Dsouza, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Excellent piece William! Well done again! Your passion and commitment comes to the fore in your writing. Keep up the good work. God Bless.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joe Britto, Nakre/Bangalore

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    THANKS William Pais For a wonderful article......Great information............................................................

    Nature is saying 'You are not necessary...... The Air, Earth,Water and Sky are fine without you.
    When you come back remember you are my guests NOT MASTERS.

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • francis lobo, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Imagine every day we read that this person died in a car accident, bike accident or road rage. That person died by suicide, this lady burnt herself so and so, that child was killed due to family disputes.

    But Corona made a change. Today the accidental deaths are few, everyone stays home safe. There is no urgency to go to the office or reach an event and get killed. There is no voice to kill another person for money, caste, religion, dowry, etc. There is no time to cheat a person and make money. People live within what they have. , We have looked only for today, there is no need to stock more for tomorrow or after that. Because we are not sure whether it is up or down after that

    Your concluding poem is very inspiring.

    I jot down the last sentence of Rabindranath Tagore poem " Let My Country Awake "

    " Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake".

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • John B. Monteiro, Bondel Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    William Pais is down to earth. He has also very relevant messages to absorb and act upon. His concluding poetic lines say it all without any verbal expansion.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sahil, Mangaluru

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Thank you sir I was bit patience and gone through complete article... Great meaning..... and felt like reality-based...

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Johnny, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Eye opener - a very good article. Thank you.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Navneeth, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    MISSING!! I am wondering where these people are, ? RaGA, Navjyot Siddu, Khaniyya Kumar, Akhilesh Yadav, Antanio Maino, Mayawati, Priyanka and Robert Vadra, Mamata Begum. Not heard of them every since COVID19 hit the Indian shores.

    DisAgree [19] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan, Mangaluru

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Boy, Rahul Gandhi, warned Modi Govt, on Feb 12th, yet, Modi was hosting Trump on 26th, Feb, Trump now proving to be most incompetent leader ever in US history. At the same time around, in Delhi too the TJ, got permissions to host congregation, denied by even Maharashtra. It is not a rocket science to understand, who is in the wrong.

    India has strong cultural and spiritual values. They are the only thing, that could save India.

    This is a good article. Thank you.

    DisAgree Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Surendra Poojari, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Yes you heard only from Modi...to ring the bell, light candle etc...no press conference on how to tackle corona

    DisAgree [3] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pradeep, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    So do some prominent Ministers, MP, MLAs went into hibernation

    DisAgree [3] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Navneeth, Mangalore
    Amit Shah has also Disappeared ...

    DisAgree [2] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Avil Dev, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    There is no funds coming in , where one can do some golmal and pilfer something,
    Its only spending or donating,, so you cannot find these people in such instance.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Save my India, India.

    Sun, Apr 12 2020


    Have you heard from Amit Shah ever since....................???

    DisAgree Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

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