Trying times test one’s character, and the grim situation unfolding over the COVID-19 pandemic will put on trial that of ours as a nation. Street-smart as we are—given our trademark pathological resilience and near-genetic affinity for jugaad to extricate out of sticky spots—this crisis riding on a rampaging virus creeping up to our doorsteps will require more than our inherent guile to combat.
Of particular worry is our creaky healthcare infrastructure that seems hard-pressed to cope even at normal times. But COVID-19 has escalated the pressure on the system to an entirely new level. Countries such as the US, Italy and Spain are struggling to stem its spread. That some, including myself, have been panicking in the face of doomsday scenarios being freely dished out by friends and relatives is not entirely unexpected. Alarmed that a total lockdown is imminent, cutting ourselves from other cities, and consequently our near and dear ones, was a terrifying cause for concern. It’s a different matter though that I have somewhat regained my composure since my daughter’s college in a faraway city announced a break and she hastily returned home to hunker down together for the unknown.