Bigyani Das

Spring season

…While corona virus was taking over the life and living of people in the whole world, spring came with its magic brush to create the colorful lawns, backyard, parks, and the gardens. The flowers bloomed, the new leaves gave new looks and lawns became greenish. Neighborhoods looked beautiful and attractive with pink, white cherry flowers.

This is spring season in the state I live, the state of Maryland that shares the boundary with Washington DC, the capital city of the most powerful country in the world, United States of America (USA). However, this year’s spring is not the spring I had known for my 25 years of living in this state. We could not celebrate Holi, the festival of color. The famous cherry blossom festival of Washington DC was cancelled. The most awaited family and religious event of the Christian religion Easter was celebrated in empty churches. The beautiful parks with colorful flowers are empty. The beach towns have become ghost towns. People are desperate. People are fearful. Many have lost their livelihood. The spring break plans for the school and college students remained in their dreams.

This is all for corona virus, the virus that is controlling the whole world now, infecting more than 2 million people and causing more than 145,000 deaths. The brain spins, the heart beats faster and the mind becomes fearful about the uncertain future, the unknown world, the unimaginable upcoming days. Now, the number of infections in Maryland has increased to 11,000.

When Governor Larry Hogan announced public health emergency in the state on March 11, 2020 and then ordered two weeks of social separation, I never imagined it would go that far. However, it was real. The number of infections was increasing day by day. The number of deaths was increasing day by day. New York city became a hotspot just within a few days and converted into a disaster zone. New York state’s governor was desperately asking for help from federal government as well as help from other states.

On March 30, our Governor announced stay at home order. According to the order no Maryland resident should leave their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes. Yes, the situation was getting worse day by day.

We received announcements for extension of our work from home duration. There was no other option. There were all hands meetings held through online mediums to listen to the staff and convey the message.

pic US

While corona virus was taking over the life and living of people in the whole world, spring came with its magic brush to create the colorful lawns, backyard, parks, and the gardens. The flowers bloomed, the new leaves gave new looks and lawns became greenish. Neighborhoods looked beautiful and attractive with pink, white cherry flowers.

Messages flooded in my WhatsApp groups. Many messages and videos were forwarded and circled several times in those groups. Some of them were informational, some of them inspirational, some of them devotional, some of them were to make people laugh and others were just fake news. At least people cared for each other, thought about the well-being of friends, colleagues, community people. I am not very efficient in WhatsApp video management and hence it was showing me storage full signal many times and I had to selectively delete some of those videos.

spring season at martyland

My heart stopped many times while seeing pictures of dead, pictures of suffering and of hospitals in New York and Italy, pictures of stressed doctors and nurses without protective masks and gloves while treating contagious patients. The stories that the dead could not be honored properly, their family members could not be there at the last moment of their loved ones were so horrifying that nobody could control the emotions. My heart was pounding since my two daughters lived in New York City. Then they decided to come back home as they could work from home. Finally, they came, stayed in the basement in quarantine being completely detached from us except me delivering food to them in paper plates keeping in the staircase. At least I was relieved that the children were close to us.

More scary news was the news about how corona virus is transmitted. Initially there were theories to maintain 3 ft distance, then it increased to 6 ft and then the news came that it can be transmitted to 27 ft. Similarly, theories about corona virus transmission through grocery shopping, through mails, through delivered packages, through the shoes also emerged and it was so scary to even think of living daily life with the basic needs such as food.

In this time of desperation, I was just praying all the time, praying for our God Jagannath to do some miracle, to pour His blessings and give the right knowledge in the brains of the medical researchers to come up with the right treatment and vaccine to fight corona and eliminate corona forever.

There is a belief in our religion that “Whatever God does, it is for the wellbeing of the mankind”. Not sure how that will work out in this case. Our Governor also had declared the moment of prayer and reflection at 12:00 PM noon, on April 5. On Sunday, April 12, I watched Easter service that was being telecast in TV. The church was empty and only a few priests were inside the church performing rituals. As one of my colleague’s commented, “This is an extremely sad day in my life. In my life of 50 years, I had never missed Easter service in my church and never observed Easter alone without my family”, this is really a sad experience.

Same thing is happening with our Hindu temples. The temples are closed to public. The priests are performing all the puja and rituals and telecasting some services online for the devotees. No devotee is allowed inside the temple keeping up with the order by our Governor.

Dr bigyani das clicked pics

I keep the “hope” that these worrisome days would soon be gone. Our normal life will soon come back. Livelihoods of many people will be restored. There will be Holi events and spring festivals. There will be bhajan, kirtan and religious festivals in temples again. There will be friends and family members visiting each other, embracing each-other and enjoying food together again. The day will come. The day will soon come with the blessings of God, with the wisdom of scientists and doctors, with the care of noble citizens of the world that would take serious things seriously and observe all the disciplines needed for the well-being of the community. Until then as Fox news said, “Stay home, stay safe, stay strong, stay ahead”.

As I was completing this article, message came from the convenor of OSA 2020 convention that this year’s convention in July will be cancelled. I have been attending the convention continuously for 20 years. A stream of sadness started flowing through my body and mind. Who is the controller? Not me. Not my husband. Not Donald Trump. There is a superpower above all the powers, all the knowledge and all the wisdom. Only He can save us. Let us pray Him.

Wishing all a happy life with the blessings of the almighty.

(Dr. Das lives in Dayton, Maryland, US)