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Lockdown Tales : Loss & Profit

Lockdown Tales : Loss & Profit

6 mins

For perhaps the first time in the history of Mother Earth, human beings in almost every part of the globe have been forced to stay indoors. It has been almost a month into this unprecedented lockdown now and while it is true that it has brought untold misery on human beings, it has also given all of us a new meaning to life and living.

Everyone is doing something to come to terms with the virus menace. In this series, I shall bring you some weird stories that I came across in the news. Based on these seemingly true events I have woven my own imagination, mixed facts with fiction and created stories.

Lockdown Stories 1: Something lost & something gained

Wilson Smith had just lost his job. The writing was on the wall, yet he was hoping against hopes that Corona Virus would spare his country, Britain. In the initial days of the attack, the Prime Minister was assuring the citizens that the pandemic impact on Great Britain would be minimal as the government had taken stringent measures to combat the virus. But then, the unthinkable had happened and the Prime Minister himself was infected with the virus! The whole country was locked down to ensure social distancing, something Wilson learned for the first time. The lockdown meant that offices, factories, schools, shops-everything would be shut down.

Wilson hoped that his employers would understand that their employees were not at blame for the situation. He prayed that his employers would continue paying wages even though employees could not go to work. But his prayers went in vain as it was clear that he would have to manage his family without money coming every month.

It was not clear how long the country would remain shut. They said that the restrictions will go when the ‘virus curve’ ‘flattened’, which meant that even the government was not sure about the duration.

Wilson’s wife was a devout Christian and was dismayed that she could not even go to the Church to pray. She was aware that her husband had lost his job and they would have to find a way to survive. She worried about her children, two of them, aged 9 and 12. What would happen to them?

Wilson consoled his wife by telling her that they were not the only ones to suffer. He made her watch the news on the TV, showing her how every country was affected. Nancy asked her husband why, even with so much technological advancement, no government was able to control the spread of the virus. Wilson told her that this disease was new and so the man did not have a cure for it.

The couple then discussed how long they could hold till all their funds got exhausted. Three weeks was all they had, thereafter it would be a challenge to survive. The government had promised some relief, but they did not get any comfort from this.

Amidst their tensions about money, they also worried about catching the virus. The government said that they had no way to find out who had the virus and who did not. That is why they wanted the citizens to isolate themselves. Nancy thought: “What if Will or I get the virus and die? Who will look after the children?” She wondered why God, who was responsible for their welfare, was suddenly not available to mankind? Had he forsaken Man, for all the bad things he had been doing? Will this be the end of life for Man and will he vanish from the face of the earth?

Will, however, had faith in God. He told Nancy that this was God’s way of cleansing the earth; just like earthquakes, floods, war, and other calamities. He asked Nancy not to give up hope, for it is hoped that would help them survive. A person without hope is a dead person, he said. All these bad things will lead to something good.

What Will said about faith in God is true. God always protects his creation, but we do not understand this always. I have heard, and surely you must have heard too, of miracles happening. I recall one such story about my uncle. He once had to travel from Hyderabad to Chennai by train urgently for some business matters. Unfortunately, he reached the station late, only to find out that his train had just left. He had to take the train to Chennai and upon inquiry, found that it would stop at the next station which was half an hour away from this station. He hailed a cab and asked the driver to drive as fast as he could to reach the next station. When they reached the station, my uncle found that the train had already departed. There was now no way he could get on the train and reach Chennai for the meeting. He was upset and cursed everyone including the Gods and Goddesses he so religiously prayed to every single day. He reached home, threw his bags violently and blamed everyone for his predicament. He would lose a lot of money because he missed the meeting.

Late in the evening, even as he locked himself up in his room and went to sleep, his wife shouted at him to come out.

“Stop shouting. I am not to be disturbed. Go away.”

“Forget your money and your rage. Come out at once and see the news on the TV. Come out now or we will break the door open.”

Wondering what could be so urgent on the TV news, my uncle opened the door, still abusing everyone, and stood in front of the TV.

What he saw stunned him into silence. The train he was to catch had fallen off a bridge soon after it had left the second station and fallen into the river. Rescue operations were going on and it was feared that several hundred had died in the bizarre accident!

Do you see the moral of this story? We always become despondent and angry when things do not go our way. Had my uncle taken the train, he would have been part of the accident, and who knows what could have happened to him?

Let us get back to our story about Will and Nancy. Will had faith in God and it was clear that he would not lose hope. Even as they struggled to adapt to the lockdown and their dwindling finances, unexpected news came their way.

Will habitually subscribed to a lottery, the online ones. He received news that he had just won the lottery of two million pounds! Will and Nancy could not believe the news. These were times of fake news and rumors, and one cannot make out whether this news was true or a hoax.

Will went about checking and cross-checking with the organizers. They confirmed and re-confirmed that he had indeed won the lottery and was eligible for a monthly payment of 10,000 pounds for the rest of his life!

Do you see? This is a true story though the characters and background are my imagination. Sometimes, we lose something to gain something of greater value. Will lost his job because of Corona but got more than he could ever dream of!

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