“Now we will count to twelve, and we will all keep still for once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; let’s stop for a second, and not move our arms so much”.

I remember these lines by Pablo Neruda from Keeping Quiet; the author asking the globe to pause for a moment and experience life and how I wished that it would come true, but not the way it has today.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about a moment that has no precedence in our lifetime. We are dealing with a situation that is fast-evolving, and requires every resource known to humanity allocated to counter it. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, accounting for more than 250,700 deaths worldwide and over 1500 in India.

The country has been on a complete lockdown for more than a month now. Personally, I am very lucky and privileged to have all the basic necessities readily available. I am in isolation with my family in the Army Cantonment, Ahmedabad. The entire area has been cordoned off for anyone who is not a defence personal or living inside the cantonment. All the necessary precautions have been put in place; wearing a mask for any travel is mandatory, only 2–3 people can enter the two daily needs shops operational here. Social distancing is maintained and anyone found guilty of breaking any rule or regulation is appropriately fined by the Military Police. Regular disinfection drives take place and people are advised to continue to stay home and not wander out without a strong reason. Vegetable trucks go around the cantonment, to make it easy for the residents to stock up with vegetables and other essentials without having to venture out.

But not everyone is so privileged or lucky. Many daily wage labourers, the poor and those who could not travel have got stuck in places without access to resources. This is where all the privileged come in picture. This is where our Individual Social Responsibility is needed. Charity, as the proverb goes, begins at home. Metaphorically, that is, because Individual Social Responsibility (ISR) goes beyond charity. Simply put, ISR encapsulates the very essence of humanity — to be humane.

We as privileged human beings have a responsibility to help. Those who can, should volunteer to feed the needy, donate to NGOs who are working day and night to do so. Please do not cut the wages of your house helps, they require the money most now. The help and responsibility goes far beyond monetary sums. We first have to educate ourselves about this pandemic, the disease and then spread awareness and educate others. Being a responsible citizen by maintaining hygiene and proper sanitation, staying in isolation will go a long way in putting a break in the spread of the disease. These small steps will not only ensure a faster recovery of our society but also truly help our Covid Warriors, our Doctors.

“Doctors stay away from home for you. Stay at home for them”

One step, one coffee a day