COVID Life Lessons.. Yes, We Can

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By Commander Sanjeev Raman (Retd) 

The physical training in the military academy is imparted by NCO (Non-commissioned officers) or JCO (Junior commissioned officers).  They have a special feeling in the heart of the officers who are trained by them. They play a very crucial role in shaping the officer’s outlook towards the military way of thinking and working. While undergoing my military training, one such trainer while giving punishment remarked, “Sir, khichi hui kaan se mila hua gyan hamesha yaad rahta hai”. (The lesson you learn which is given by pulling your earlobes is remembered lifelong). His words is so true even today.

The COVID 19 pandemic has taught us this very aspect of life. Humans have always ignored the importance of preserving nature. They have always tried to change the biodiversity in its quantity or the quality to seek immediate economic benefits. It could be by way of using genetically modified seeds or use of chemical fertilizer etc. But when we experiment with the very basic nature in the way a micro-organism function and try to alter it to suit our own narrative, the outcome can be disastrous. In my opinion, this is what we did to invite COVID 19, which has now taken the proportion of a pandemic.  

Interfering with the environment in its natural way of functioning has impacted us negatively, which we will remember all our life. There is very little which most individuals can do in such a situation, except to take precautions. But it has certainly made people dig into their own internal resources to fight back – to just survive. Many people, who never dreamt of walking a few kilometres, took the streets walking hundreds of kilometres to reach their home. Small children, aged parents, ladies, with no idea as to how they will survive through the journey, continued their march with hope, having faith in their own abilities and on the Almighty. Faith is a part of our belief system. It gives us the optimism and courage to continue in anticipation of a better tomorrow. It enhances human endurance capability.  In such a circumstance, the thoughts also start to flow in just one direction with positivity and the likelihood of better prospects in life. COVID 19 pandemic has taught us many things. It taught us the importance of preserving our rich Indian culture, our heritage, our knowledge of Ayurveda and yoga, the importance of gratitude, and more importantly, the resilience of the human body and mind. We may show compassion but COVID 19 has made us realized that it is actually the people at the bottom of the pyramid who have demonstrated this trait more effectively. Today, we are thankful that we are alive and healthy.

We see doctors, nurses, health staff, sanitation staff, security personnel, police, military and so many organization joining hands together for saving lives, even risking their own lives. Many lost their life knowing fully well the implication of helping others in such a situation. It all stems from our thought process. As Buddha said,” The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

The human resilience is one aspect which many have started to explore.  I learnt about this aspect during my deployment to Somalia in Jul 1993, as part of UN Peacekeeping Force as a young lieutenant. Monsoon was at its peak and the sea was unforgiving. The ship would roll 35-40 degrees either side with very steep pitching. It was a challenge even to eat and sleep. Ensuring machinery operational efficiency would test human endurance. Warships are centrally air-conditioned and foul smell of vomit further added to our woes. If we happen to go to the doctor – he would prescribe only one medicine – “eat”. He would remark, “If you eat, you will vomit food. If you don’t, you will vomit blood – the choice is yours.” The deployment gave me the conviction to trust your own ability to counter the external environment on which we have no control. It reinforced my belief – Yes You Can. This is what all of us have to do in the current situation. We need to develop our own belief system and convince us, “Yes We Can”. It will not only infuse positivity in our thoughts but will also help us to channelize our energy for a better tomorrow.

(The writer is a retired Naval Commander and an entrepreneur. The views expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. He can be reached at Email: sanjeevraman11@gmail.com)

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