It is time to fight it out together by being responsive and responsible, inclusive and thoughtful

The Coronavirus has forced us to pause; to slow down, disengage, look within. It has almost pushed us to meditate. Not just in our personal lives, but also our careers, workplaces and business decisions.


As many of my recent engagements got postponed and rescheduled because of the alarming spread of the COVID-19 viral disease across the globe, it gave me much time to catch up on some reading. And I came across an article by mythologist and author Devdutt Pattanaik on the fever gods of Hinduism.

In this article, we get a reference from the epic Mahabharata to how Lord Shiva’s wrath resulted in the creation of fever. He writes, “In the Shanti Parva, Yudhishtira asks the dying Bhisma, how did fever come into existence? And in response, Yudhishtira tells him the story of Daksha’s yagna, and how he, in keeping with Vedic practice, refuses to offer Shiva a share of the sacrifice.” When refused entry to Daksha’s yagna, Shiva’s anger takes the form of fever and attacks Daksha as well as the gods who attend his yagna…. Finally, Shiva is appeased, the yagna is restored, a share offered to Shiva and Shiva distributes his wrath as fever across the universe.

The author continues with a significant reflection — about “how the disease has traditionally been seen: not as the presence of something unnatural, but as the imbalance of nature’s forces. Disease of the flesh was then seen as an outcome of social disease, as our inability to be kinder, more welcoming and more compassionate of the world around us. The fever gods frightened us because we refused to acknowledge some fundamental truths about life and living.”

Now, this article got me thinking about how we have almost forgotten to pause and look within. So busy we have become in our quest for happiness, that we hardly remember the last time we have had dinner with the entire family consistently for more than a week together, which is what’s happening now, as we are avoiding travel and staying put at home.

The Coronavirus has forced us to pause; to slow down, disengage, look within. It has almost pushed us to meditate. Not just in our personal lives, but also our careers, workplaces and business decisions.

Of course, with World Health Organisation declaring the COVID-19 viral disease to be a pandemic and so many countries including India going into lockdown, anybody guesses that such a disruption is bound to have a profound and debilitating impact on our economy.

Naturally, the knee-jerk reactions are going to be cost rationalisation and investment optimisation. To mitigate the economic crisis; corporates have to take a relook at business decisions.

The timing of the pandemic is crucial, as the Indian economy was anyways going through a challenging phase with investments shrinking because of a global recession. Now, the advent of Covid-19 will likely push down the global growth further.

From the consumer’s and investor’s point of view, a temporary pullback in consumption and extended pause in business cannot be ruled out. Some of the worst-hit industries are aviation, hospitality, consumer durables and electronics. We are going through an unprecedented crisis. We do not have an earlier reference to take notes from and fall back on. Hence the need of the hour is to fight it out together. A collective resilience is not a choice but a necessity today.

But what one might overlook or ignore in the resulting global pandemonium is the fact that resilience in the face of disruption comes only from keeping calm, looking inward and working together in harmony. Empathy and collaboration are the keys to safeguarding our economy from the perils of the pandemic.

So, let us look at how we can emerge out of the situation safely, with minimum damage, and better equipped to handle any similar disruption.

For that, we need to introspect. And the virus has forced us to push that reset button. The need of the day is deep cleaning. Let’s not just clean our hands and home, but also declutter our minds, lives and ways of living. Let’s not get carried away by the sheer threat of the viral spread. Let’s focus on mending our ways and planning for a better future.

In the business of being busy, we often overlook or take for granted little things in life which make much difference to our happiness and prosperity in general. As my movements and outside engagements got restricted because of the precautionary measures forced upon all of us, I started paying attention to those little things in life again.

I realised it’s time to rethink and re-evaluate. Because when you move forward mindlessly, then that takes its toll on your health — be it physical, economic or spiritual. Pandemic or no pandemic, it has always been an eternal virtue to be mindful and analytical if you want to prosper in life. Sadly, it took an epidemic for the world to sit up and recalibrate its ways of looking at life.

But I am an incorrigible optimist. It is my conviction that we shall overcome. Soon.

As we continue to be challenged by the growing threat of Coronavirus, it is time to fight it out together by being responsive and responsible, inclusive and thoughtful.


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