COVID-19 Diaries - Day 34 of Lockdown

CONTINUED FROM - COVID-19 Diaries - Day 24 of Lockdown

Changing Attitude

27 April 2020

A few days ago, Sugreev informed me that they are running out of grocery and it would be helpful if I called the Government helpline (155214). The last time they had called, the officials wanted someone who could speak in Kannada. So, I called the helpline. A man at the other end took my address and ensured that I would be contacted soon. We waited for three days and there was no response. I called them back again and this time a lady picked  up the phone and told me that it always took sometime to get the grocery and I should hear from the supplier within a few days. It has been more than a week now and we havent heard from them. Therefore, I decided to buy the grocery myself. So, that is Government COVID-19 helpline for you!

One day, Sugreev called me and informed me that there were several people standing outside our apartment. He wanted to know if they were supplying food. Upon enquiry, I learnt that a businessman who lives in the apartment opposite to that of our's has handed out coupons to some slum-dwellers via his employee. He was now distributing food grains to them. Two women came down and handed over big sacs of groceries to the people and took some pictures with them. So, that's Dhaan (Charity) by Upper class for you!

Sugreev seemed delighted that Oxford university is conducting human trials of a vaccine. He also informed me that they have taken details of migrant workers in the village. UP Government recently arranged buses to bring back students studying in Kota, Rajasthan. So, there might be chances that the labourers too would be brought back. 

I have noticed one big difference in my interactions with people such as vegetable vendors, grocery store owners, neighbours etc. Everyone has become much more compassionate towards one another. People are more polite now than ever before. The irritated, arrogant attitude among some people has disappeared. I hope we stay so when things get back to normal. 

We had an interesting class on philosophy of art. We discussed Tolstoy, Collingwood and Croce. In another class, we had an introduction to Rasa theory and a detailed study of a research done on Bhoota Kola ritual. As an artist, it was very interesting for me to understand the concept of rasa (Aesthetics or a sublime experience of an emotion). 

In Subaltern Studies, we discussed a little on Brahminical hegemony and Dalit movements. Mam made a good observation that I can completely relate to. She mentioned that as a Brahmin herself, she has always had an advantage in terms of how she was treated in the society. It is therefore, she said, that most Brahmins do not hesitate to object openly. For example, we do not hesitate to take up a fight with a boss or argue with someone if something seems wrong. Others may let it go or some may just accept orders. We, who have never been socially oppressed, often, revolt back. This also develops a certain arrogance in us that is hard to get rid of. In some small way or the other, it does show up in our behaviours. 

I completely agree with her. I have constantly been in this process of unlearning but there is a long way to go. Invariably, since childhood, several customs, mannerisms and behaviours have made us feel superior about our own lifestyle and it is really hard to let go of it. However, it is important to be aware of it in the first place so that we can make an attempt to change it. 

I recently watched a movie called 'Platform', that very well mocks our society. If only we eat as much as we need and share the rest with the others, there will be enough for everyone on this earth. Unfortunately, human greed at every level of this society has damaging effect on this planet and ourselves. 


Blacky, our apartment dog is doing far better with its injury curing rapidly. I had to submit a chapter of my dissertation for review and that kept me terribly busy for two full days. 


  1. You wrote "Everyone has become much more compassionate towards one another." People rise to the occasion. Hope this changed behavior continues even after this calamity is over.


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