Since end March, the nationwide lockdown due to Covid pandemic has thrown our lives into complete turmoil. Our work, travels, regular routines, social life, fitness and sporting activities — everything has gone for a toss. Such is the power of a Virus which we cannot even see with our naked eyes ! All our strengths & influences, military powers, weapons & ammunitions, nuclear warheads, scientific & technological advancements have been nullified by the power unleashed by an invisible virus making many of us anxious, insecure even hopeless at times.

However the current situation precipitated by the pandemic has had quite a few camouflaged effects.

· The pandemic has brought all of us together in a joint fight for the survival of humanity. Everyone is equally affected irrespective of which part of the world you belong to, your monetary & social status, your profession or religion. Today we are all united in trying to research & figure out a vaccine to beat the virus. It’s a healthy competition to reach the finish line first to save humanity.

· The stay at home mantra has given us an opportunity to introspect, to sit back & analyze our lives, to connect better with our children & family members, to share household chores, to cook & have meals together — all ingredients of a healthy family life prescribed so often by wellbeing professionals in recent pre covid times.

· The pandemic has also brought to the fore our ability to adapt. We are routinely doing things today which we would never have imagined till as late us mid March ! Working from home, studying/teaching from home, running offline businesses online, having multiple online sessions at home simultaneously for family members, getting acquainted with virtual meeting sites and leveraging them- we have truly adapted well. Kudos to all of us.

· One of the biggest virtues of the virus is that it has breached the social divide so strongly entrenched in our society for donkey’s years. Doing household chores today we realize the physical effort put in everyday by our maids & helpers, how dependent we are on the municipality workers, the cleaners, the guards et all. The pandemic has brought people from all strata of society together to help the vulnerable sections. Personally, I was part of a citizen’s initiative called Khaanachahiye in Mumbai wherein people from all walks of life joined hands to serve cooked meals and dry ration kits to the under served people and migrants. Starting with a modest 1200 meals on Day 1 in end March, the initiative soon became a massive movement to touch a mind boggling 45 Lakh Meals in June ! In another instance,we distributed more than 2 Million meals & rations through NGO Indian Development Foundation. For many of us it was a visit to those parts of Mumbai where we have never ventured before though we may have crossed the areas several times. The activity has helped us develop a unique bond with complete strangers, the smile and gratitude of the beneficiary when they get the only meal for the day from you is truly priceless.

The Virus has thus helped us have a unique experience in our lives, something we never expected or ever imagined could be possible, it has helped us realize our priorities in life, it has made us grateful to the people and services which we had so far taken for granted, it has taken us to the basic roti kapda makaan struggle of the millions of daily wagers, migrants and under served people and given us an opportunity to bring a smile to their faces. The lockdown has helped us look beyond ourselves and care for the world around us. It has truly Liberated us.