Half of 2020 is behind us. As harrowing it may have been, there is always hope that the tables will turn in the other half. After all, nature does find the balance between ups and downs. Given how dismal the first half of the year has been, one can only hope, down the year, things look up from here on.
As India begins its second round of unlocking, there are some things which still remain locked. Should these activities open in the near future? From attending classes in the premises of schools, colleges to visiting cinema halls & gymnasiums, none of them seem possible anytime soon. Let’s look at each of these and weigh the pros and cons if these were to be unlocked.
The number of smartphone users in India may be well over 500 million but there are still many who do not have access to mobile internet. For such children, online education is a distant dream. There are also those who depend on a midday meal at school as they don’t get proper nutrition at home. For them, not being able to go to school is denying them the one meal that provides nourishment of sorts.
However, safety is paramount. It cannot be left to chance. If a sanitised environment cannot be created in schools and colleges with proper checks and balances in place, there is no question of risking the opening of physical classes. If this means, school children will have to wait till 2021 to attend classes inside the campus, so be it. This is critical especially for primary school students. Three months from now, those in secondary school and college may be in a position to attend classes in the campus if the number of Covid positive cases start steadily moving downwards. At this moment, it is not possible to hazard a guess how things are likely to be later this year. It is much better to err on the side of caution.
While attending school and college is a necessity, going to a gymnasium or a cinema cannot be viewed in the same light, in the prevailing circumstances. If you are a health-freak who looks forward to sweating it out in the gymnasium, you can still find a way to exercise at or near your home. It could be an open area near your house if you can’t find space in your home. It may not give you the same experience as a gym but you will still be able to stay fit.
Those who think that social distancing and taking precautions can work, need to bear in mind that it may not be possible to wear a mask while exercising at a gymnasium. Touching surfaces, weights, gym equipment etc are highly prone to catching the infection. Exercising involves deep breathing. There is a big chance of passing on the infection when an infected user exhales while indulging in a strenuous physical activity. So, why get into a situation which is prone to such risks?
Gone are the days when one could only catch a film at a theatre. Now, you can watch it online on your TV, computer, tablet or phone. It may not give you the big-screen experience but it is a safer way to live at the moment. For those who argue that the level of exposure to contracting the virus in a cinema hall is as much as air or train travel, need to bear in mind that one would not risk travelling at the moment unless it is absolutely unavoidable. The same cannot be said for watching a film.
There is also considerable apprehension towards other personal hygeine services like a haircut. While salons have opened up in most parts of the country, customers are uncertain whether to avail the service or not. In a salon, social distancing is tough given the physical proximity required to get the job done. However, with the use of a mask, gloves and face-shield and proper sanitization, one could attempt a quick haircut if you absolutely must. Or order a home-service after ensuring proper sanitization, which may be possible in some big cities. Remember, when you get it done, it is advisable to trim more than usual. So that it lasts longer without you needing another one, for as long as possible.
Who would have imagined that we would be yearning now for simple things which we took for granted over 10 weeks ago? So how should we condition ourselves in the latter half of 2020? A simple rule of thumb is to avoid all those activities which can be done without. Tell yourself it is only a temporary abstinence. But it could protect you and your family from unwanted risks. Would you want to risk your own and your family’s health for something which is not super critical to undergo now? Or would you gladly sacrifice the present for a better tomorrow. The answer, you will realise, is both simple and clear.
In the stock market, one hears of bearing short-term losses for the sake of long-term gains. Let’s follow the same investment mantra in our lifestyle for the last two quarters of 2020. For the sake of a healthier and safer 2021.