Being Human in the event of a Pandemic

Human being is a social animal and needs company, interactions and conversations with others. This being of the biggest reason, even though I enjoy traveling solo, I love staying in hostels and meeting people.

On that bright Sunday morning, which was also the D-day of TabooDana’s Delhi Edition, I shared the breakfast table with a German, a Luxembourger and an Englishwoman. Since the spirit of the season is Corona, that also eventually became the topic of our discussion as well.

I got to know that these travelers experienced discrimination, panic stricken behavior from local vendors and plain passers by. They had been jokingly ragged as “you are walking corona virus”. As they wait to hear from their respective embassies and airlines for rescheduled travel advice, I could see growing discomfort on how they were being treated.

TabooDana In Delhi

With this in the background, as I prepped myself for TabooDana‘s listening circle, I got to know that there were 4 drop outs from the registered participants as they were feeling like having caught a flu. That being the case, with slightly dampened spirit, I set out to the event. In my mind, I was cursing the media for the over sensationalized news that has triggered this unnecessary panic.

Nevertheless, it turned out to be an interesting day.

Taboo Dana’s Delhi Edition and my second listening circle on Taboo (the first one being in Kolkatta) was graced by three people. The ones who braved the odds and the paranoia but stepped up to attend the event.

TabooDana Listening Circle
TabooDana at Kunzum Cafe, Delhi

I am in gratitude to them for the love and support. They

After a long day, I returned to my hostel accommodation. As I was resting in the common room, a lady co-hosteler joined me with a glass of tea and a cookie. We exchanged greetings and conversed.

My meeting with Coco
Coco and I

Conversation with Coco

  • I : “Where are you from?”
  • Coco : “I am from Italy”.
  • I : “It is a complete lock down in Italy.”
  • Coco : “I am here in India since January, much before the Corona Virus attack. I was traveling and was supposed to do a Vipassana Course in Jaipur, but they canceled my course. I am not welcome here anymore. I am going back tonight.”
  • I : “I am sorry to hear that and what you had to endure. But, if it makes you feel any better, let me sit next to you and get to know you.”

Coco smiles and her eyes fill up, dropping a tear. I offer to hold her hand and she gladly places her hand in my palm.

We continued our conversation and shared our respective stories of travel and what we have learnt and aspire to do, what we do at present etc. etc.I ended the conversation and exchanged numbers and gave her a hug.

My Two Cents

In all honesty, when media strikes panic in our minds, they really puncture every ounce of confidence, trust and faith in humanity. The consequences of hyped paranoia goes beyond education and precautionary measures.

For Coco, my Italian friend, the origin of her nationality became Taboo. She was no longer treated as a human being. Actually this human being doesn’t even have common flu

All things considered, is the excuse better safe than sorry enough for us lose our faith and our ability to be human?

Something I read which totally made sense

  • We need to wash not just hands
  • We need cleanse our thoughts
  • We need to elevate humanity
  • Before the virus is fought.

Supporting Solo Travelers

Solo Travelers are out there open to experience people and cultures. More often than not, travelers carry way experiences and memories than most living in mundane loops. My conversation and connection with the China Man is something I will cherish all through my life.

Overall, I very strongly feel that there is something we all can do.

There are a few ways I can think we can help or make a difference when we meet someone who might been be a victim of panic driven discrimination.

  • Have a conversation and listen to facts of that person’s journey
  • Offer condolence and consolation. Reach out.
  • Have conversations that can make the person feel better about themselves
  • Use some sense of humor that create an experience of laughter and happiness
  • Just be human. Balance and do the right thing to treat another accordingly

Let’s be kind, human and empathetic and reach out to make a connection that might just be for a lifetime.