“This Too Shall Pass” by Anil Shrivastava ‘Musafir’

july 20 pandemic oic

It happened in my own lifetime. Growing up in a village in India, we didn’t have electricity, phone, TV, cars, commercial flights, air-conditioning or central heating. Personal visit and snail mail were the only form of communication. It used to take at least a week to hear from someone replying to a letter. In an emergency, we used telegrams. We were happy most of the time and sad sometimes just like today. We didn’t miss any amenities mentioned above because they either didn’t exist at the time or were not available to us.

Most of us, at the present, are confined in our homes due to COVID-19 pandemic but we are still connected to the world through the Internet, TV, and phone. We live in houses equipped with hot water, central heating, air-conditioning, dish washer, washer and drier. Most of us are still earning a living working from home. The retirees get social security payments and health insurance through Medicare. Those who have become unemployed are getting stimulus money. Small businesses are kept afloat through generous federal loans. Life is good in general.

Still unhappy? Let’s compare our condition with the condition during the 1918 influenza pandemic also known as 1918 H1N1 pandemic, aka Spanish Flu. The number of deaths due to the 1918 pandemic was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States alone. During the 1918 flu there wasn’t a centralized federal response to the pandemic in the United States. The government was preoccupied with World War I so they didn’t put the same weight on stopping the pandemic as they do now. President Woodrow Wilson never publicly mentioned the epidemic contrary to the daily briefing given by President Trump and his Coronavirus task force. Chicago’s public health commission and many other cities flatly rejected closing businesses. (Excerpts taken from historian John Berry’s article in The Atlantic.)

At that time most of the folks didn’t have phone. They didn’t have TV, commercial flights, air-conditioning, central heating, automatic dish washer and washing machine either. They were happy most of the time and sad sometimes just like today. They didn’t miss any amenities mentioned above because they either didn’t exist at the time or were not available to them.

Thanks God, we are not living in those good old happy days anymore. Does that cheer you up? Be happy and be assured “This too shall pass.”

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