[ Ranjit Sinha ]
The other day, when I was in the peak hours of my morning chores, I made up my mind to get some mental refreshment to cope with the prevailing Covid-19 situation. Within no time I wore a mask, pocketed a small bottle of hand sanitizer, and reached IG Park (Itanagar) to discover myself in another world of peace and serenity.
“Hello, brother. Do you feel the Covid-19 pandemic is over?” I asked a passerby at the entrance of the park with my journalistic inquisitiveness.
“Ha-ha,” he laughed, and replied after a while: “No brother, it is not over. Take care.”
After nine months of self-imposed home isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, my visit to the park was memorable, as I was discovering IG Park another way amidst the worldwide pandemic. I meandered here and there for more than two hours, enjoyed the serenity, and later took a seat on a metallic bench somewhere in the park.
Suddenly, I discovered that the gentleman whom I had met at the entrance was approaching me. He said: “Hello, brother! Why do you worry about the pandemic? Enjoy life.”
“Would you like to have lunch with us?” the man asked me politely.
A few metres away from me, I noticed two kids and a lady with an adorable puppy. They had brought packed lunch. But, as a man with comorbidity, I have restricted my food choices, and politely declined his invitation.
The family of the gentleman began to enjoy the picnic-like environment. And I took a dip in my ocean of thoughts and recollected the preamble to the Indian constitution: “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens: justice, social, economic and political; liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship….”
I asked myself: am I a secure citizen of a democratic republic? Why were the people asked to return to their home states during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, even though we are living in our own country? Why did we feel it necessary to bring back our siblings to our home states when they are living in their own country? Why do the farmers agitate for their rights? And so on…
Suddenly I came back to my senses in the presence of that gentleman near me. He murmured: “Brother, not only Covid-19 pandemic, we are going to live with many other pandemics in the near future. Pollution is already there and it is going to create a pandemic in our brain cells. We are searching for peace and comfort somewhere else, not within ourselves. We are connected with people all through the day with the help of mobile network and internet, but we fail ourselves sometimes in making a meaningful relationship with our own selves, with our family, and our relatives. Try to find yourself and enjoy life.”
After delivering the sermon, the man left IG Park with his family, and I came back with a bagful of IG Park.