When Breath Becomes Air

By Riyaz Kazmi. Dated: 8/7/2020 10:50:03 AM

Struggles give meaning and add value to our efforts and existence. They are the doorways which lead us to our goals. They help us to bring incremental changes and improvements. We learn the art of living and mark our indelible presence through them. We understand the value of all those things which are achieved by blood and sweat. They endorse our painful journeys. Our needs are never satiated. We are consumed by the infinite desires. We keep on striving for the best. Doesn't matter if there are no fortunes or favours but fortitude is something by which we can sail through and achieve our dreams. Had there been no desires, the world couldn't have progressed to this unimaginable extent. We don't give up on dreams and desires till our last breath. Our desires fuel and drive us.
We toil hard to improve upon the situations. To better off our well-being in each passing day. It doesn't matter whether a person is born with a golden spoon or not, but anyone can achieve his goals if he is determined to act. Nothing comes for free. One has to pay the price. They succeed who never give up on their ambitions. Through trails, we triumph. We don't exist only for our own concerns but also for our loved ones. We have to take them along. Their care and comfort is our moral responsibility. Their contentment is our happiness and success. They have given us a reason to struggle. Who we are and what we have to strive for, is because of their upbringing and values imbibed in us.
We come across many people who have set the examples and raised himself from rags to riches by their sheer hard work, beliefs and fearless attitude. They are working so diligently to have reached this far. They make their every effort and endeavor count. Their presence is being felt and valued. People look at them and inspire to reach their level. Some succeed. Some even reach far ahead of them. Some remain stuck. Some lost their track. Some have even lost everything in a flash of seconds. We never know what is going to happen with us. If luck favors, we can be living a king size life, but when the table's turn even a square meal becomes difficult to manage. Nothing is permanent in this world. With the Covid-19 pandemic spread, dreams of millions of people came to end. Many brilliant and promising people lost their lives.It took their everything and life could never be the same like it used to be.
Since March this year we are watching and witnessing many terrible things which seemed unbelievable and difficult to comprehend. As of now there had been 6 Lakh deaths and 1.6 Crore people are worldwide affected. In addition to these figures,there is a colossal economical losses, emotional crises and education sector has also suffered a big hit in terms of irreparable academic losses. Day by day things are getting worse and sending shivers down our spine. It's deeply disturbing and disheartening. No one could have thought that the Covid Pandemic can have such a far-reaching consequences but still we pass off the pandemic crises as an ordinary thing. We might take it lightly and try to ignore the repercussions but now situation has become out of control and anyone can be its easy prey. We have witnessed many horrible Covid deaths but still we are trying to play it like cool and fool. There is a gross violation of the guidelines by us. Are we still clueless about sudden spike in Covid cases in Srinagar. I think our callous and careless attitude is responsible for this mess. Do you think we can easily shuffle out of this difficulty. Our hospitals don't have the infrastructure to meet the emergencies and cater to the requirements of the huge rush of infected people. Ask someone who has lost his loved one to this dreadful Pandemic, they will tell you how difficult it's to get in terms with the life after going through an incessant trauma.
Let me share with you heart wrenching tragedy of my neighbor late Asif Ali Joo. Since 25th April, he was attending his ailing father who had developed certain health complicacies and was admitted in Gastro-enterology department of Super Speciality Hospital for the specialized treatment. His father's condition was getting worse which became the cause of his worries. He tried all possible efforts to ensure that his father gets timely treatment. Being only son of his parents, the whole burden of responsibilities was primarily on him. The vigorous Hospital protocol and patient care exhausted him within few days. He stayed back at home due to the persistent fatigue. On 5th May, with hypotension and influenza sypmtoms, he was admitted in SMHS. Unfortunately, he was tested positive for the Covid. The result shocked and shattered him beyond any measure. He was already broken and couldn't bear the shock. The sudden cytokine storm caused the multiple organ failure. On 7th May a pall of gloom descended on our locality when this noble soul died due to severe Covid-19 infection. On that rainy night, due to the Covid protocol and restrictions, he couldn't even receive the dignified burial. Within only few days another tragedy fell upon his family when his father died due to Covid/other health issues without even knowing his only son is already in grave. Now his nuclear family is left with wailing mother and a daughter to live with this life-long painful experience. Their humble abode has become a haunting place.
Whenever someone dies who is dearer or known to us, the life events of that person flashes back to our memories, as if some movie is being replayed over and again. Asif Ali's death has been irreparable loss for all of us. He will be always missed. He was a gem of person. He always stood by his father and fought against all odds. The way, he struggled to raise himself from rages to riches is not only praise worthy but a lesson for all of us. He always stood grounded to his roots and treated everyone with absolute humility. He had a pleasant personality whose company everyone cherished. He was happy go humble person and shared amicable bond with all other youngsters. He carved a niche for himself and attained his summit. He was at the peak of his career. His efforts were paying him dividends. It was time for him to marry and settle down but there was something else destined for him. His tragic death due to Covid-19, took away everything. No one could believe, his story could have such a tragic end. With each passing day his mother and sister are dying with grief and pain. Now, life is going to be a lifelong nightmare for them.
Those who couldn’t escape the wrath of the Covid-19, are still clueless about its subtle differences with the common flu. They are in a shock to figure out what went wrong and how this could happen to them or to their loved ones. Ask the families and friends of Dr. Shabir Ahmad Malik and TassaduqJeelani KAS officer who recently lost their lives due to Covid-19, they will tell you how devastating experience it has been for them. With each passing day the caseload is exploding with the whooping increase in deaths. It's an emotional roller coaster for all of us. Covid deaths are extremely horrendous. The patients literally beg for the air. Till date, world's best scientists/Doctors have failed miserably to find a viable vaccine to end this pandemic. What has been conveyed to us by WHO and what's within our reach is to follow the advisories to contain its spread but unfortunately, we are floating the SOPs. We are merrily enjoying the Barbecue parties on the Boulevard and in Makaye Park. Players are crowding around in Eid Gah. They are blatantly throwing the safety measures to the wind. There are no plans or preventive guidelines in place to control the mad rush of Eid shoppers. They are thronging the markets without any care and caution. We climb over the shoulders of one another at the groceries, pharmacies, chicken and meat shops to shout and vouch for our turn. We still hunch over on the shop fronts (WanehPyaend) to gossip and discuss the failures of administration!.We still perform marriage's with pomp and show. Wazwan parties are being arranged without proper precautions, preparations and presentations. We are stooping so low by beating our frontline soldiers, doctors and nurses to a pulp without having an iota of shame and understanding that they are risking their lives and families for our sake to fight this war.
We are already confronting multiple crises and allowing thousands of Bihari laborers into the valley without Covid testing is like setting up a trap and making us more Covid prone. They roam around without masks and with a gush spew out Gutka on the streets. It can dangerously expose us in contracting the virus. We should take note of this threat. Our hospitals are already in shambles and over-burdened. Kashmir Valley has only 347 ventilators for 7 million people. We are not even equipped with the bare minimum healthcare infrastructure and manpower to handle the pressure of Covid emergencies. The fear of Pandemic is looming large over us in such a way that even normal patients have become 'Untouchables'. The only thing that is giving us some hope and help to stay safe, sane and survive this pandemic is to maintain personal hygiene, self-care, self-discipline and social distancing. We have to take every precaution very seriously and sincerely. Now, the time has come when we have to be extra cautious about how and where we should carefully breath in. We cannot afford to be casual with it. Doesn't matter, if we are young and have strong immune system but at least we have to introspect and act reasonably and responsibly for the sake of our children/elders. If we don't wear mask or simply put it on a chin to fool around, for sure, we are inviting a trouble and digging graves not only for ourselves but for others as well.
The writer can be reached at: Riyazahm72@gmail.com



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