Sad, Bad and Mad – Where are we heading to?

Yesterday a reader from the UK called me and described the pathetic circumstance around him – he is amid a hotspot of dreaded coronavirus pandemic – it indeed is a very sad situation.

The alarming level of spread and severity of COVID-19 is going from bad to worst. The death toll will exceed all predictions. The pandemic is the “worst crisis” ever known to this world.

It’s a maddening state for many. When I listened to people, I can feel the vibes – it is fear, helplessness, and desperation everywhere. CNN recently reported quoting experts that coronavirus can spread through talking or even just breathing!

“Udayji, I am really scared, not able to sleep; I don’t know what will happen to my kids,” a reader from New York sent a WhatsApp message. She said: “I don’t even know when will this get over? Or will it ever? I can smell death everywhere. We are hiding inside the apartment, crying and praying. My husband is a heart patient too. I am really scared Udayji, what to do?”

“Our life is shattered, Sir. My business is gone to dogs. I do not know how to feed my family. Now that lockdown period may get extended due to irresponsible religious fanatics at Tablighi Jamaat meet in Nizamuddin, who aggressively spread corona, people like me will end up in suicide…” another person from New Delhi.

Now, my personal experience:

The day before yesterday, my boss, who is a German settled in the US, called and said: “Uday, this global pandemic affected our business as our sponsors and advertisers backed out. We are cutting down the budget, hence a necessary freeze on online contractors…”

During the economic recession, the first casualty will be independent media houses as the business/corporates would cut down the budget for sponsorships and advertisements. So, it is difficult for an independent freelance journalist to survive, until and unless he/she clinch to any political, corporate or religious affiliation. I don’t have any affiliations and I don’t want it.

“I understand, you don’t need my services, which means I won’t get any payment, right?” I asked.

“Yes, it is a difficult situation for you, but I am very sorry, Uday”
I have been a freelancer for most of my life – that means I get payment based on the hours I worked or the number of words I produced. If there is no work, then, there is no money. I am used to this lifestyle. I have faced extreme hardships as well as enjoyed luxuries on account of this job. So, this is a very normal thing to happen. When we choose a profession we should understand the risks too.

Thanks to good currency conversion rates, I will have some buffer to make a living for a few more months. So, I am in a better position than millions of people who work on daily wages basis and those who find it difficult to secure a square meal. And, I still have a minor assignment in hand, which may last for a few more days. But what about the other people around us? Ask ourselves – is our problem bigger compared to them? So let’s live in moderation with the reserve we have. This too shall pass and new opportunities will pop up – it is normal.

“How can you be so cool even in this situation, Uday?” my colleague (whose work also got terminated) from the Philippines asked me.

“Because happiness is just a choice. I chose to be happy, come what may.”

“It is difficult to get any other jobs now. How will you spend your time then?”

“I have a lot of things to do. I have to get updated on my favorite subjects like astronomy, space physics, artificial intelligence, consciousness… I have a couple of manuscripts to finish…I always wanted to enroll for new online courses freely conducted by MIT or Cambridge…I have to catch up with missed Hollywood movies…I have a huge log back of messages and letters to read…Another most important thing is to research on its scientific aspects of Yoga Nidra…Shouldn’t I feel happy that I get such a break to do what I like the most? What more do I need? I even plan to switch off my phones for few hours to further save time…”

He laughed. “That’s a good one. Yes, we should also try to do something. But, if you fall sick? If you are broke after some time? Are you not afraid?”

“The beauty of life is its uncertainty. That’s why I love living. If your life is so certain, what’s the fun in living? Let’s always expect the unexpected. The only permanent thing in the cosmos is the change. Things will change. As far as the cosmos is concerned, a human being is no more important than a microbe. It’s our superstitious beliefs that human is special to God and on the top. If the existence will need me, I will be here, if not, well – I will be happily gone, what’s the big deal in it?”

“Hmm. My family members are already sad and mad being locked down” he said.

“At least you have your family with you, right? Compare your current situation with ours. My children are locked down in different countries and we cannot meet them any sooner. I and my wife said no to full-time jobs as we didn’t want to separate from kids. But we let them go when they are grown up and wanted to go for higher studies. Still, we travel to meet them or they come to us. Now it is not possible… But such is the way of the world. We have to accept situations that we cannot change.” I said.

“Sorry to hear that…You are such a positive thinker and very optimistic about life. Probably that’s your Hindu teaching…Though I am a Buddhist, I know a bit about it…”

“It is idiotic to think positively. Thanks to my ancestors, I am neither a positive thinker nor a negative thinker. Positive thinkers will end up in more trouble – stress, tension, depression, and miseries. My ancestral sages advised me to be a normal thinker based upon reality, fact, and science. Beliefs won’t save you, the truth will. Let’s be a realistic thinker”

“How do you manage it? Can you tell me the secret?”

“No secret, but I follow just two simple things. First one – I don’t chase my thoughts. The thought is just a product of the conditioned mind. The mind works based upon the inputs you provided through your senses and the residual genetical memories. Brain aka mind is just another organ. So when a thought comes, I will ask myself – DOES IT HELP? If it doesn’t help you or the world, what’s the point in toying with the thought? So I let go of such thoughts. I can utilize the time for my karma.”

“And the second one?”

“Whatever happens, that I cannot explain logically, I would tell myself, it is “HARI ITCHA”(Hari is a word denotes the cosmic consciousness. Itcha = wish or will). Any situation – good or bad – comes as per Hari’s wish. So, worrying about any given situation in life is equivalent to insulting the wisdom of Hari. Let’s make the best usage of the situation and time rather than worrying about it. So I just focus on my karma, without worrying about the results or future. That makes me happy.” I said.

So let’s care for ourselves and others till the dance of the virus is over. What’s the point in worrying about something beyond our control. And the good thing is that we can protect ourselves and we can do many things during lock-down. Also, as I said in my previous article let’s light the lamp of immortality.

??Pranam, Udaylal Pai (April 05, 2020). This message comes from WhatsApp Broadcast List. If anyone wants to join the list: (1) Save/add the number “+91-94475-33409” in your phone by creating a new contact (2) Then just send ONLY your name through your WhatsApp to: +91-94475-33409. The broadcast will happen ONLY IF the sender’s number is saved in the contact list of the receiver.

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