Posted in Personal Stories

Our Connected Destiny


The second week of March was supposed to be just another ordinary week. The arrival of spring break , anticipation of a planned vacation to meet family and friends, booking classes for the upcoming summer vacations.

The world, as usual, was beset with action and drama – through the lens of sensational news that filters into our lives everyday. The theatrics of upcoming US Elections . A mysterious epidemic unraveling in an industrial hub of China.

In fact, it was exactly a month ago when we were spectators to a new virus unfolding in China.  News like this is not novel and has happened in the past. There have been disease outbreaks in other countries, and here in our protected confines – we have usually viewed them as empathetic and horrified spectators. In spite of all the empathy , the epidemics are still happening in another corner of the planet. You realize the impact it has had in the part of the world where it wreaked havoc, but life goes on. They are vignettes on a mobile or TV screen, but they do not come knocking on your doors.

That was about to change very fast.   

I woke up one fine March morning, getting on office calls and business as usual meetings – until I looked out and saw empty streets. A chopper hovering over in the sky. A surreal scene out of a war movie.

The headlines screamed in distress and my day punctuated with news that demonstrated increasing intensity of alarm. The Covid-19 virus ( it now had a brand new name ) that was circulating far away had broken through our collectively false sense of security and permeated our daily lives.

First, it was advisory to stay inside, and then slowly the tone hardened and became more urgent. A few days out, the county enforced a ‘shelter in place’, which instructs residents to stay at home unless it is an absolute emergency. The gradual eroding of the politeness of the message matched with the increasing shock and alarm. Friends and family were sharing unnerved messages, the anxiety laying bare in the words. 

My news feed became a source of increased unease . Gun sales had skyrocketed. Price gouging and black marketers had created a shortage of sanitizers. Social liberties would be curtailed. Schools and libraries would be closed. Life as we know it would come to a pause.

As a modern society, we are not used to existential and mortal threats. We cannot imagine a scenario when we would not be able to get the best in class medical treatment when needed, or that our lives would be subject to war like protocols and choices . Especially in the West, with our deeply individualistic lives where we are so used to being in control of what we do.

When the epidemic broke, it was one country which was at the epicenter and struggling to control the outbreak. Very soon, the mayhem spread across the world , emphasizing how closely are all in this together. When the number of cases were doubling in a matter of days, this new phenomena was like a war but with no visible enemy.

This is a turning moment for us.   But it also affords us to learn from what we have seen so far. As humans, we have a Connected Destiny.

There are slow existential threats like climate change which are hard to fathom and would have a visible impact on a timeline that counts in decades. Nevertheless, as the current events have shown us – we are not invincible. Rare, extreme impact events like these can indeed happen, and shut down our normal lives within days.

We are all in this together, so the sooner we get onboard and accept our Connected Destiny – the better it would be for our collective future.

Photo by Clint Adair on Unsplash

Posted in Personal Stories

Observations on Fall


I look out into the vast stretch of green outside my patio. The colors are a dark pastel green, accentuated with tiny patches of yellow and orange creeping in . And with every gust of wind that whooshes through the trees, there is a swirl of leaves that sweep down.  Yes, Fall is here.

Slowly and steadily, these yellow patches would spread and the entire expanse would get transformed. The leaves would fall, winter would tumble in , and the woods would turn into ghosts of their past selves.  All the life that had burgeoned over this summer would be destroyed. 

I remember my snow-covered backyard from last year , with a background of bare naked spidery trees. The charm of a white winter eventually turned into a realization of the true meaning of the phrase “winter in coming”.

On especially cold days, I would watch as the water that flowed out of the air conditioning pipes snaked out on one end and congealed into ice at the other end, making me feel fortunate that I was now on the warmer side of the patio door.  One of the most frequent phrases I heard were – ‘when summer arrives”. As if all eyes were pinned on the opportunities that the warmth of summer would bring.

Slowly, the earth revolved and the season changed. Summer shone on us with its full glory, and what a resplendent glory it was! 

The destruction of winter had breathed a will to prosper even in the tiniest of shrubs. The greenery that rose from the ashes had something special about it .. a hunger of its own. I have never seen leaves so alive, and trees so lush in any other season.  It was almost as if the trees have suddenly discovered their power and are burgeoning to  grow out and vanquish everything that had stopped them before.

This incessant, inevitable cycle of nature reminded me of the important role of destruction in creating a better version of life.

The path to evolution is paved with destruction.

What has made you successful in your past might not lead you to victory in your future. You have to destroy your beliefs and learnings to pick up new ones.

To move from one level to the next, you have to unlearn all that you’ve learnt and re-learn again!

Photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver on Unsplash

Posted in Personal Stories

A Hundred Year Plan


road_to_eternity

A hundred years from now,
What would I be?

A whiff of wind blowing through someone’s hair
Or a tiny drop of tear tricking down a cheek
A speck of sand kissing wild waves of the sea
The bright red paint on a playground’s swing
A hundred years from now, in divine merriment
Returned to Earth, element for element..

A hundred years from now,
Where would I be?

Stored as digital crumbs in dusty archives
Faded photographs in an ancient album
Fragments in a distant stranger’s mind
The sliver of an idea fueling someone’s existence
A permutation of DNA that signifies an identity
Or trapped in some words written by me?

A hundred years from now,
Why should I care ?

So affected by daily intoxications
And captured in the shards of time..
Consumed in yesterdays and tomorrows
Powerless before unknown powers and designs..
A hundred years from now might be a good plan
To face Destiny – Man to Man!