Eminent businessman and our guest writer, Suhel Seth talks about the life post Covid and how it has affected us all to a point of no return
Words: Suhel Seth
There will be no life post Covid, as we have known it. What this pandemic has done is made us extremely fearful; extremely conscious of the environment we live in and careful about the people we meet. The adage that man is a social animal has changed forever. When the vaccine is discovered and people embrace the safety aspects of the life after, this fear will not evaporate because nothing in the last two hundred years has impacted the entire world in the manner that Covid has. It has changed the way we live, the way we work and the way we play. It has endangered our social life as much as it has weakened our economic prowess. For those, even now, trying to exude bravado and wish this away as a ‘passing phase’ need to awaken to the compelling realities of what we will experience hereafter.
Mankind is not adept at preparedness. We take lives for granted because of either our intrinsic faith in God or in healthcare: what Covid has shown us is we are vulnerable in both these areas. It is a telling sign that churches, temples and mosques have been under lockdown much in the same way as schools, colleges and bars. Travel has come to a standstill and we were of a planet that boasted not just intra-planet travel but equally inter-planetary travel. In one fell swoop, all of this has changed. People, who have been living in the sanctuary of their homes during this pandemic, live in palpable fear: Covid has made all spaces of human habitation insecure and undependable. Relationships owing to this kind of forced sequestering have come part or at least are showing tremendous strains. Friendships are being tested at the altar of who’s there for whom during this crisis. We have come to a stage where we celebrate and mourn in private with no one to share this with. This is not how human beings were trained to live. We are being taught lessons in life that we never imagined and what’s worse is there is no playbook yet that can help us cope.
Events that brought the human race to some level of equality and infused joy have been cancelled. 2020 saw Wimbledon, The Olympics, Formula One and so on cancelled. These weren’t mere sporting events: they were events that allowed the human spirit to excel and for others to watch this bar of excellence raised time and time again. But no longer. Families that would normally come together for religious rituals or holidays are equally splintered. With stress levels only increasing.Add to this, the millions of people who live in dual fear: the fear of life and the fear of livelihood. Fear makes man distrusting of everything; which is antithetical to the relationships that often see us through in trying times. This is yet another paradox that mankind will need to come to terms with.As and when lockdowns begin to unwind, we will see a new world order: where some people will be happy in their isolation much as Van Gogh was and some will be taken aback at this distanced environment that will be sprung upon them. The critical thing will be to cope. To cope with this changed world and the changed human beings who inhabit it.
Behavioural changes will be the most daunting as we step out from the darkness of these last six to seven months. While ideally we should be grateful for what we have, many will question this new reality through the prism of bitterness and deprivation. Why did it have to happen to me will be the underlying question in many minds!What Covid has also taught us is the unpredictable nature of our lives no matter who we are; where we live and what strata in life we occupy. Covid has made all of us equals in many ways. Equal in the face of death and equal in the hope of living.Brands and people who will ultimately triumph in this post Covid world will be the ones who will embrace reality with humility; accept this new world not with the intention of fighting it with traditional methods but with new ideas and succeed with compassion as their birthmark.
Ironic as it may sound, we will now be returning to a Generation fired by new ideas mired in a new set of beliefs and values. In many ways, Renaissance 2.0.The life we experience hereon will be one, which will be far more fragile; far more humble and far more accepting of human frailty than the one we lived thus far. Which is a good thing.The ultimate luxury is when you have everything and seek nothing. We will be the nothing-seekers of tomorrow’s world.