Compassion Quarantined

March 15, 2020 at 12:58 am 11 comments

For many a Holi, along with the colours, the dance and the attendant bonhomie, it is the mesmerizing delicacies of Pyare Lal, that add flavour to the celebrations in our housing society.  It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Pyare has wizardry culinary skills when it comes to dishing out hot Pakodas, juicy Jalebis or spongy Doklas, all gastronomical essentials to complete the festive revelry. And the best of bartender would still have a trick or two to learn from him in the cultivated art of creating the Bang, the intoxicating beverage exclusively concocted for the occasion.  And Pyare does it all, for every Holi, for a nominal fee that is part of his income at this time of the year.

But this Holi, there was little celebration, lesser colours, zero partying and no work for Pyare Lal, courtesy the Covid-19.  Kids stayed indoors, Whatsapp hooked the parents with continuous Corona updates and Pyare Lal sat at home, without an income.  The five thousand rupees which he could have earned from our society would have ensured that his two children stay in school the next academic session, but that now is doubtful.  And this loss of income was across to many in the similar economic strata, the colour sellers, the water gun vendors, the drum beaters … as all of them look forward to this season to earn a little extra but now stare to a bleak year ahead.

And the trail of consequence that Covid-19 is leaving behind is mostly impacting the economically disadvantaged though it does cause collateral damage to the privileged class as well. When air travel is suspended, the taxi drivers are idle, when corporate announce the “work from home” scheme,  the house-keeping staff is terminated and when we choose to cut down on our outings and the “eat outs”, the jobs of auto-wallas  and the restaurant managers, and of everyone in between, are in serious jeopardy.  When the cheap cloth mask is selling at the exponential rate of its original price, the Samosas of the poor tea-seller across the street is crying out for a buyer, many suspecting it to be the carrier of the deadly virus.

The impact of any eventuality, be it natural or man-made, economic or technological or even socially engineered, is always invariably on the disadvantaged as it is nay impossible for them to shield from its consequences.  When a flood could only inconvenience many of us, it destroys the entire produce of a poor farmer and thus his meagre annual income and an economic slowdown lays down thousands of labourers in the construction industry. The invention of the wheeled suitcase though has made our travel more comfortable and less cumbersome; it also has thrown hundred of coolies out of their jobs in our many railway stations.  A communal riot irreparably damages the lives of its victims as they struggle to come to terms with their personal losses and almost all of them are under-privileged. The poor is spared by none!

While we make newer and bolder innovations, as we adopt sophisticated technologies for our mundane work, it is indeed the poor who bear the brunt of these advances as their livelihoods are snatched away by cold machines.  Add to this the present lock-down and the “social distancing”, it the poor who are truly quarantined, of human compassion!




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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Saraswathi Raj Mani  |  March 15, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    So true and very well written Narayanan!!!

  • 3. By Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, & Other Stuff  |  March 16, 2020 at 1:28 am

    Wonderfully written!

  • 4. Sha'Tara  |  March 16, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Reblogged this on ~Burning Woman~ and commented:
    The things our fear and basic selfishness does not allow us to see…

    • 5. chapter18  |  March 17, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks. A compassionate world is the need of the hour.

  • 6. Sha'Tara  |  March 16, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    I have reblogged. More people need to be made aware of how we are being manipulated and pushed into irrational fear.

  • 8. A Star on the Forehead  |  March 17, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    Indeed is the poor that will suffer the most in times such as this. This is a good reminder to think of the less fortunate.
    Blessings! ♥♥

    • 9. chapter18  |  March 17, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      Thank you. This state of affairs has to change.

  • 10. Susruthi  |  March 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Well authored… So true..

  • 11. daneelyunus  |  April 26, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Nice one


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