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“Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it!”

28 March, 2020 05:45:43
“Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it!”

Alisha Gupta has grown up in Johannesburg and Dubai . She is a student of Vassar College, USA, studying Liberal Arts.

Since the beginning of the global pandemic, I have heard a multitude of different names given to what we all commonly known as the corona virus, or COVID-19. Ranging from the very low end of the spectrum, where people simply call it “flu” and a “fever” to the extreme other end where it is being referred to as the potential “plague of the century”. I won’t lie, for the longest time, I persistently told people that I don’t understand the chaos and craziness - that it is simply just flu - and I stuck to this school of thought only up until this crisis actually left a mark on me.

The sad truth is many a time you do not realize the severity of something until it affects your life. And that’s what happened to me and, I think, most people of my age went through the same experience. The main reason behind why we Gen Z kids are so nonchalant is because, frankly, we know that this isn’t really a major threat to our health, generally speaking. It’s purely us being selfish - but unknowingly. But I learnt the hard way (by no means the hardest way, but still difficult for me) that the virus is impacting so much more than people’s health.

After months and months of complaining about university and praying to go home - by a hideous trick of fate - my wish was granted. Being lulled into online classes at godly hours of the day (since people so quickly forget that time differences exist), and forced to do work as I once would have done freely, under the duress of my mother, I very quickly understood the phrase - careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. Academically, my biggest hardship with this is trying not to get annoyed at my mother and making sure I get enough sleep. I am one of the lucky ones; there are seniors missing a graduation which they’ve spent four years to earn, children who are unable to return home and are stuck truly isolated, those who do not even have a living situation where they can access online learning, and so much more. And yet, I still manage to complain.

It’s easy for me to forget that the bottom line of the coronavirus, is that this is a medical emergency; it has managed to affect every aspect of everyone’s lives. On top of academics, it has played a massive role in the separation of families at a time when you want and need them most. With travel laws being changed left, right, and centre, it is impossible to know whether you will make it home or not. A race against time. One minute, you’re safe booking a flight back home in two days time, and the next you wake up to a news article on how your country of residence has halted all entries. I sit here with my mum in our home in Dubai, while my brother and father are stuck in London. It’s not easy, but again, we are the lucky ones. 

We have a glass of wine and talk over video conferences and constantly text one another to make sure we’re alright - a privilege not everyone has. And still, we’re struggling.

One of my main takeaways from this is how relative people’s problems are. This pandemic has put people into terrible situations and yet it still goes to show that some people’s terrible situation is what someone else - on the other side of the world, or just next door - is hoping to happen for them. Yes, I miss my family. Yes, I’m struggling with this new approach to university. But I have a home and I have my health and I have my resources. At the same time, I don’t need a bunch of celebrities to sing Imagine by John Lennon to me and share videos yelling at people to stay home and stop being “stupid” because frankly, I do not try to give advice to people if I don’t know their situation, and neither should they. Not everyone has the comfort I do, and most certainly, people do not have the comfort that these celebrities do. Some people have to leave the house - else they have no income. Some people can’t stock up like crazy and isolate for two weeks - they don’t have the money. All we can do is do our part best we can - we are in it together and we do not need to be telling other people how to live in this pandemic because for all we know, they're doing the best they can in order to still survive.

And as for us Gen Z kids - I know. I know that we are in that prime demographic where we can get infected and we probably would be fine. That’s what I thought too - why should I quarantine? If I get it, I get it. Another privilege. Self-isolation is not for us - it’s for everyone else. We’re young, we don't have to worry - but the elderly lady who held that same tube bar after you do. We have the healthcare and finances, so that’s fine - but the people cleaning up after you trying to earn their living the only way they can cannot say the same. It’s difficult but as our beloved Troy Bolton once said, we are all in this together.

Story Tag:
  • Corona Virus

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