You must be wondering, what is this 5 p.m. blog? Well, today on 22nd March 2020, we the people of India came together, to thank a group of citizens of India who are working tirelessly to handle the Coronavirus issue. Many of us came out clapping, blowing conches, thalis with spoons, to thank the team.The charged atmosphere and the thought that people of such a diverse nation from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Gujarat to Tripura can come together for such a cause raised goose bumps. Men usually don’t express such feeling and women do! I had become restless and the result is the blog. It may not be coherent but it has come from the bottom of my heart. How so many people forget all the difference in a calamity and come together was displayed yesterday. No commentary needed for video below.
Mr Modi, our Prime Minister, suggested the idea. It was a gesture to try and bring as many people as possible on the same page! In the speech about the event, Mr Modi had suggested that all of us should stay at home for this day. It was for social distancing; and say a big thank you to these professionals. It was to make people realise that this is needed and is doable. I was sure that it was a prelude to strict measures that were to follow.
Today, most of the train services, interstate buses, Delhi Airport are being shut down. Many districts in various states in India are now under full lock down till 31st March- to start with. Industries around Pune are also under full lockdown.
People have shared various statistical figures about Coronavirus. To me, the most crucial data is about deaths. The death percentage across multiple age groups is as below.
- Children &Teens:0.2%
- 20 s:0.2%
- 30 s:0.2%
- 40 s:0.4%
- 50 s:1.3%
- 60 s:3.2 %
- 70 s: 8 %
- 80 s: 14.8%
Among all viruses to hit our planet, Coronavirus has spread the world over to 160 plus countries, and the number of people affected has gone above 250 thousand or 2.5 lacs. In all other pandemics, the largest was Ebola in 1976, affecting 34 thousand people. Average death percentage is around 4% in the current pandemic.
But if you see the chart, it is the people above 70 that are in real danger. If these people have previous conditions, it is the worst situation for these people. Everybody is talking about a small percentage of death. But that is not the correct picture. Most of the deaths are in this “risky” range of people– people in my age group and above. When there is no danger, then why should the people below forty even bother about taking care of wearing masks and social distancing?
Friends, it is for your fathers/mothers, uncles, grandfathers/grandmothers you need to take care. You may be in a 0.2 % risk region, but these relatives are in a high-risk zone. I am sure when you look at the situation from someone else’s perspective, you will understand the real issue. Plus, these high-risk people also may have undergone some procedures, surgeries or health conditions. Blood Pressure and Diabetes are common in this age group. These preconditions increase the risk from 14.8% to a much higher percentage that I don’t know.
It is like saying that air travel is the safest way to travel anywhere. The risk is one passenger for more than 13 million people going. But when the air crash happens, there is a chance that 100 % of people die in the crash. For those families, death is 100% certain! So, when the statistics are mentioned, it is better to decipher what is being said.
The Coronavirus is teaching us to think about others, and on the other side, it tells you “keep a distance” for social distancing! These are two conflicting things we are forced to do for our benefit! But that is life!
What should people in the age group of seventy–plus do? Everything is doable. It is the will of the people that is more important. It is what people have understood; that is what is going to make the difference.
First and foremost is we need to go under total lockdown. In India, nobody exactly knows, at what stage is the Coronavirus spread. That is the reason the government has taken tough decisions to reduce the movement of people. It will also help to prevent people from mixing.
It is easier said than done. But give a thought, activate your grey cells, and you know what we could do. I will start with telling you what Jaya and I do! First is we go out for necessary purchases only twice a week. We go in the car though distances are small. It helps us to increase social distancing. Once we went to a shop selling ready to cook foods. We bought some soups, chicken tikka, and paneer makhani packets along with some other stuff. We usually don’t buy these things, but now we will not be going to restaurants for some time. Ten days, three weeks, one month, two months; we don’t know. It will be dependent on how the pandemic comes under control. So, some things that we eat in restaurants, we will make them at home, and yes maybe we will have candle-light dinner! Why not? One thing we have been doing for some time is playing cards. We continue to play cards every day. Of course, there are music systems, the Bose one, Caravan which has five thousand pre-recorded songs. But now we have a new tool. We bought an internet TV recently. What we do is search for jukeboxes on youtube. These could be Lata, Rafi, Madan Mohan, Sonu Nigam, Shah Rukh, Marathi bhav geete; we select different jukeboxes and listen to audios. The TV has eight speakers and gives a lovely sound!
Why am I sharing all the details? The only reason is with the changed circumstances, with none of us being able to move out, we need to take care of our mental as well as physical health. How can we do that? For physical fitness, you can walk around the house or in your parking area. If you are going to the parking area, make sure that you go when there are few to no people. I do it in a little different way. I have a set of dumbells and stretch band with me; I exercise with these and then do in-place jogging. After that, I do my bending and stretching exercises. Don’t remain physically idle else you can feel depressed.
Now we have morning tea in our balcony. The weather is delightful, and with a reduced cacophony of traffic, we can listen to birds chirping. Today, we went out for dinner! It’s a new place called “702”; it is in Karve Nagar. Initially, the government has declared ten days of lockdown, but we don’t know how far it will get stretched. So, we had chicken tikka and pulav at home! Jaya cooked both the dishes, and we ate at home! By the time we sat for dinner, we were too hungry. I wanted to change my dress and wear something formal as if we were going to a real restaurant. It is one more aspect I want to suggest. From tomorrow, after the siesta and coffee, we have decided to change to formal dress. Otherwise, for the next two months, we might be wearing T-shirts and track pant 24/7.
It is an excellent time to try and do something which you have been doing previously or start something new. Celine, our family friend, has begun the cross-stitch work. She is seventy plus. Another friend shared some design that he created out of dry fruits! Mohan has taken out his stock of Wodehouse books to get through these tough times. Scratch your head, activate those grey cells. Some new idea will come out. Remain involved, no point in keeping aloof!
It would have been easy for us to remain aloof during 5 p m event. But we were involved. It is a matter of taking control of the situation rather than getting dragged into a quagmire. You are not going out of your home. For people like me it could be a trailer of our life after five or ten years, for people in my age group! Who knows? Idea is to learn to adapt! It is in your hands how to remain happy!