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We take a break from the ‘Story of a Pharma Salesperson’ and move on to other topics. We shall return to it again later.
How do we conclude a year so full of turmoil, anxiety and fear? What do we claim to have learnt from a year of chaos, uncertainty and sadness? We shall conclude all the same.
The most important fact about COVID is that it has touched all tiers of society in all parts of the world. No disease, calamity or even war had ever done so.
Every situation has the potential to teach something. 2020 is no exception. As I see, we can possibly list down the following learnings coming out of the excessive baggage of COVID. My focus is not Pharma alone; it is the world at large. Here it is:
Resilience – The first thing we see is resilience. Resilience is the human ability to bounce back after defeats and setbacks. We have seen plenty of resilience everywhere and it has shown itself in so many ways. People have shown extraordinary courage against adversity. They have persisted and fought back. They have helped others to recover physically and mentally. From live music from balconies in Italy to sharing food in other parts, the human beings have shown they will not be downed so easily.
Patience – It is exactly a year since COVID broke out in Wuhan. We have shown a lot of patience. Staying home had not been easy but it was done. Working from home is distracting but it was done. Doing nothing was most difficult but it was also done. Patience continued to show itself in long queues, long waits, slow services and other such unusual things.
Dealing with thee unknown – One of the most difficult propositions is to deal with the unknown. COVID has been great at that and continues to be so. Despite information coming from various quarters, the situation remained largely unknown. We did not know where it came from, how it transmitted, how to handle it, who would be infected and who will be spared, who will have light symptoms and who will end up on ventilator, who will live and who will pass away, were all questions but there were no replies.
Living with heartbreak – There have been many events of severe heartbreak. Many of us lost those who were so dear to us that we would not imagine living life without them, but it happened. The stories of heartbreak are numerous and heartbreaking in extreme. The stories of courage in adversity are also many which brings solace and inspiration and motivate to continue living with self-respect.
Community feeling – COVID led to forging of great community spirit. In so many parts of the world, people started movements to promote sharing and taking care. Community work evolved in all directions; from affording to affording, from affording to non-affording, and from non-affording to non-affording. All people can never be alike and there have been instances of extreme selfishness and possessing what did not belong to them. However, by and large, community feeling prevailed more.
Care sharing – everyone cares about their own. Caring about others who are not known is much less common. Care was extended to unknowns also. Many of these things are inter-related also. Media also played its role in promoting care-sharing and extending help to those who needed disregarding if you knew them or not.
Impermanence – COVID brought a reminder that life or nothing for that matter is permanent. It was more so for believers of religions particularly. Death is supreme and shall take over life when it comes at the appointed time. All great things that might have been built here would be left behind. Impermanence acquires a new dimension in the face of a calamity as big as COVID. It is true that it has not changed those who still believe they can control anything they want, and they are still trying to do so.
Sticking to hope – Lastly, we have learned to stick to hope even in extended period of problem. Hope is the biggest savior and we have seen plenty of hope cultivated and shared and sustained.
Pakistan had its own unique way of facing COVID. As a nation, we handled it well; as a community we did not take it seriously. We have a fatalistic view about things most of the time which we carried in this case also. The second wave reaction is no better; in fact, the seriousness is even less this time. Let us spread the word, keep the good things and shed the bad ones.
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