My life is socially isolated on a good day; the lifestyle changes due to current social distancing guidelines have had little impact on my emotional space from a personal change point of view. If a neighbor doesn’t say hello, what would offend me some years ago is now commonplace in the rat race of the Bay Area. Southern or South Asian hospitality, even among my native tribe, is a distant memory. I’m continuing to work, kids are home and engaged with digital nannies, there are enough groceries for a week or more, and there is no other need to step outside of the home. I have also been able to avert a toilet paper crisis, as I seemed to have had the foresight to replenish my dwindling stock some three weeks ago. Where I am suffering deeply is when I try to envision the future of our community and society. And I only pray that we can ride it out with grace. Community spread is not contained as there are many who continue to flout the gravity of the situation, or unable to abide by the rules. Xenophobia is growing and may become palpable. Economic hardship is spreading and may lead to one of the worst recessions of modern times. Children are falling behind on academic instruction, which will greatly impact underrepresented communities, locally and globally. My parents are in an over-crowded, mismanaged country that is ill-equipped to deal with the exponential nature of this illness. They are both part of the ‘vulnerable’ group. With much weighing on the heart and mind, after 3 days in the house with kids aged 14 & 6, we ventured out for a walk in the neighborhood. Through the mist of light rain, we saw a handful of others and everyone automatically maintained a distance of 3m or more, often not even making eye contact. I cannot say we ‘met’ anyone. Tenuous social graces from the past have dissolved into outright avoidance. I felt saddened by the underlying mistrust and fear that is shaping our mannerisms. As I held my son’s hand on the way back, we paused to marvel at the drops of rain collected on the leaves of this ground vine. Somehow, I was mesmerized by the crystal-clear droplets, that seemed to have minds of their own.
Standing tall. Defiant. Singular. Proud. Unaffected. It made me appreciate the resilience of hope. As long as I can look into the clear eyes of my children, there is hope and there is a desire to fight for their future. In the grander scheme of things, we will all come out of this stronger and more malleable to challenges. We will learn to sort information from data, as our survival will depend upon it. We will learn to form our own tribes who will support each other through means available. Innovations in the labor market will widen the scope of a digital economy. The robustness of digital infrastructure will strengthen, to enable societies to fully function with minimal economic impact in face of similar disruptions. And we, as humankind, will continue to make forward progress in the face of challenges that come our way because we are, if nothing else, a learning system that is designed to evolve and adapt. Sometimes, a single drop of water can make all the difference in the world. #Survival #CrystalClear #Covid19 #Hope #Future #Droplet