One night my teenage daughter and I were sitting on the sofa and watching television. My daughter Vivian was 16 and quite mature for her age . Thankfully, she wasn’t a fan of MTV or showed much teenage tantrums which are common for youngsters. The credit goes to her mother who had been the pillar of our family right from the first day of our married life. A devoted wife and later a sacrificing mother to our kid.
It was 11 PM and my wife had already retired to bed after the dinner feeling terribly tired. Vivian was quiet and absorbing the news updates of the day. Before I could complete my train of thoughts, Vivian called me rather loudly.
I: Sitting right beside you, my dear.
Vivian: Oh sorry! Didn’t see you. (She smiled innocently)
I: This is how you wish to spend your ‘Me Time’. Instead of parties and hangouts, listening to news anchors.
Vivian. Yeah, dad. You know that I don’t like parties. They are stupid. Like really, stupid! (She said trying to gain my confidence)
I: I agree. Well, you are not a typical teenager. So, I am … happy.
Vivian: So selfish, dad! You always say this. (She said loosely)
It was her frank nature that made her the center of everyone’s attention. She always spoke to the point and hit the bull’s eye with her statements. Just like her mother, I thought.
Vivian: Why do they keep saying this?
I: Can you elaborate, please.
Vivian: Learn to live with COVID-19.
I: Because we have to.
Before I could continue further:
Vivian: But isn’t it like saying ‘Learn to live with guilt’. Why should I live with it? I don’t want to! It is like choosing a life of regret. You suffer from loss of sleep, appetite, self-esteem, anxiety and even depression. Should we ever attach ourselves to a negative force?
I: Of course no! Optimism is the right way of life. We must attach ourselves to the good things around us. Things that inspire and motivate us.
Vivian: Should we bring ourselves down voluntarily? COVID-19 is a negative force. Right?
Vivian: Then why is the Government saying so? Why should we become slaves of this virus?
I had nothing to say to contradict her. She was right! I knew the sad realities of life and how the Government was programming the citizens to risk their lives to save the economy. Unlocking in phases or all at once will invariably bring countless sufferings and deaths, I knew. That’s no solution! Individuals either don’t have savings or have sadly forgotten the value of life over money. They are ready to step outside risking the lives of their dear ones. It is a fact that the people who are and who will be suffering the most in the crisis is the workforce. They are nothing in the eyes of the Government. Programmed to ‘Work, work and work!’ they are only being puppets in the grand play of things. In an ideal world, every living soul for his well-being must stay inside. Practice Work From Home. Protect themselves, their families.
Vivian: Why, dad? You didn’t answer my question.
I: The Government knows the best and is trying their utmost. We, as citizens, can only hope for the best and stay inside. Stay safe.
Vivian and I were quiet for the next few minutes. I knew she wasn’t satisfied with the Government’s false reassurance and so wasn’t I. We were in the same boat. She openly and I, as a concerned father, silently.