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New World Order

The ways to start writing this piece are many but the reason sadly is only one. It would be safe to say that humanity and the entire structure of the society that has been hitherto built are currently in the stage of transition. From a world which we till very recently knew, to a world we are about to face. We all are collectively travelling across a dark, foggy graveyard, on one hand trying to make sense of what went wrong and on the other trying to make sense of how to win this war. And as we head towards the future, the tombstones in this necropolis we presently stand in, keep increasing by the day.

It isn’t my intention to sound grim, but the reality greatly and grievously is so. And precisely because it is, as a writer then, I am inspired to bring forth the fibres of my acumen and intuition into the dialogue against the devil which is currently looming around us. Instead of trying to debunk and conspire regarding the origins, science, and politics of this virus, I would like to comment on the social and mental impact the worldwide lockdowns and subsequent consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak are going to have on us as individuals as well as the society.

This phase of lockdowns and social distancing that is prevailing, and which I believe is going to prevail for some time to come, will without a shred of a doubt affect us on a mental level. Humanity as a group right now is ‘in between the devil and the deep blue sea’. We have distanced and locked ourselves to escape the devil on the outside, but the effects of this isolation, if not taken care of, can be as abysmal as the deep blue sea. It is imperative, in these times of all, to keep ourselves physically and mentally healthy, for the sheer boredom and lethargy which will follow could be lethal for our mental health. The depression and anxious thoughts that idleness and helplessness will bomb upon us are just a few of the various kinds of artilleries of this war, a war in which everyone has a role to play. And I believe that it is our role to fight and win against these agents of war, not only for ourselves but also for our loved ones and the world which is going to follow.

They say one ought to do whatever floats their boat. My virtue to keep myself functional and sane is my frivolity. Be it blasting the speakers while having my morning coffee and lip-syncing to my favourite tunes, pretending to be a rockstar since there is literally no one watching. Be it binging on Netflix and video games or even playing football and fetch with my dogs on the terrace in the evenings. Be it reading a few pages and keeping the book down or writing a few paragraphs and closing the window down. At the end of the day, my definition of puerile fun acts as a trampoline to all the existential baggage which resides in my head and is being fuelled by this isolation; it is helping me bounce through the day and making me a better cook while at it.

However, there are times during the day and the extra-long nights where I cannot help my mind drift and look for other elements of thoughts inside me. Thoughts which wonder how we landed up here and where are we headed to next? There is a school of thought which says that there is no real freedom in society, but man cannot survive unless you give him the illusion of freedom. I think that statement stands true especially in the times of war, be it of any kind.

What brews next are questions and realizations. I know the girth of what is going to come is too big for anyone to wonder, imagine or predict. But what I wonder is about how different we will be from ourselves once we start emerging from our homes back into the real world, once things get back to normal. Will it all ever be back to normal? It is hard to imagine things going back to exactly how they were before, simultaneously, it is safe to predict that instead of things going back to normal; we will have to adapt to a new normal. I can’t cease to speculate over the fact that once the threat has been eliminated, will this prolonged social distancing actually bring us closer to each other in the real world or make us even more addicted to the virtual one? Will this isolation finally make the world take mental health seriously? How differently will we, the common people who need the “illusion of freedom”, see the world?

The economic damage the coming times are going to have on us will be devastating and will haunt us for years. We are victims and participants of a war we neither wanted nor deserved.

And the worst part is, we have no one to blame and yet so many. Evading the multiple conspiracy theories regarding the virus doing the rounds, the fact of the matter is that we will never get to know (at least not any time soon) the complete truth about the outbreak. All that lies ahead of us right now is to accept the reality and try to march on through this necropolis by taking all the measures, no matter how much that sucks.

Speaking of things which suck, while I play my role in this war and isolate myself, I also cannot help but wonder how privileged I am to be even writing these words when compared to the different clusters of people across the world stuck in worse situations, especially the ones who are helpless. It sucks to be in a world with a malnourished health care system, it sucks furthermore to be a medical professional working within this health care system. It sucks to be a migrant worker in a country like India, to be left hanging out of nowhere, to travel hundreds of kilometres on foot, to die in the process or reach the border and be disinfected by chemicals in the most inhumane manner possible. Privilege does play a big part in what is happening right now and makes me reflect on what we have made of this world. It sucks to be an immigrant surviving in filthy conditions at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, the largest refugee camp in the world where up to 5,00,000 Rohingya refugees reside. A place where the novel virus has already reached, also a place that barely has any supply of food and absolutely no sanitary sewage system, let alone health care. And I’m just a guy sitting in front of a laptop in a house stocked with a month’s ration of food and other things.

All told, the days ahead are going to suck for everyone, varying only in degree. But I believe what will follow once this pandemic ends, which it will, is the emergence of a New World Order. The shift from a pre-corona world to a post-corona one. Throughout history, whenever there has been an event that has rippled across the entire world, there has been a transition in the balance of power, political thought, ethical outlooks, economic status and many more. The last world war was the orchestrator of the most recent world order, where the entire world came together. Trying to win a war, collectively travelling across a dark, foggy graveyard, trying to make sense of what went wrong on one hand and trying to make sense of how to win the war on the other. As they headed towards the future, the tombstones in the necropolis they stood in, kept increasing by the day. And once they emerged out of the war, the world as they knew it, had changed. Only time will tell what our New World Order will transform into, but we can still try to put a few pieces together.

As the experts predict, over time most of us will get infected by the virus but most of us will also recover from it. The data suggest that the elderly and people with diabetes and coronary heart disease are the groups we need to prepare for the most. This should be a harrowing and humbling awakening and experience for the young. The dawn of the post-corona world and what we learn from the present and do with the future completely depends on us. It is time for us to wake up and smell the coffee. It is time for us to build bridges of communal harmony not just for economic growth and sovereignty but also for social expansion and for the idea of global citizenship to come prosper.

Who could’ve foreseen the fragility of the foundations of our survival as a species? And yet, here we are, at the end of the day united, buying time and trying to win this war which has come in different shapes and forms.

I am absolutely certain that a day will sooner or later come, where we as humanity will emerge victorious against Covid-19 and won't have to be scared anymore. Some of us won’t survive this biological and mental war, but most of us will. What the survivors will make of themselves and the new world order will define us, for the better or worse. That being said, I’d like to wrap up by saying how critical it is for us to follow the social distancing guidelines to our maximum extent and while doing this, also take care of our physical and mental health. If history is indicative, when this war is over, just victory won’t be all that matters. Proper PTSD care of any physical and mental form would equally matter; for we are all soldiers in this war. Lest we forget.

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