Ear-splitting, blaring howls of the commoners had reached across well-cemented and impenetrable walls of the safest buildings of any country – the president houses, etc. God knows if it was the urgency of the bleak voices or the heart-shattering context behind their plead, but this time, the people with supreme power had been addressed. It was the need of the time.
I am obsessed with roads. You heard it right. There is something exceptionally striking about the medium of commute that has always driven me towards them. When I literally drove towards it, I could easily observe both left and right. The synergy of the wheels with which each vehicle went in the same direction yet a distinct motive, gave me philosophical ideas. My overly analytical mind had tried to use the setting of a one-way busy road with its commuting bearers as an analogy to define life. People, to be precise. How are we so similar? How are we so alike? Regardless of a unique set of personality and human traits, we all eventually want and need same things at the end of the day. The notion gave me peace as I continued to patrol around the streets, looking decidedly observant in my driver's seat.
I could not do that anymore. The street-patrolling days were over. For now. I could no longer swiftly grab the car keys from the first drawer of my side table and just hop inside my beloved purchase to have a good night's time. I did that a lot. My hobbies involved that and painting. With work peaking at an accelerating pace, I had lost my tranquility and calmness to paint in delight. Hence, the excessive visits to the main road in my car.
One of the previous month days, I remember I had stopped by a corner shop, attracted by the loud noise the man in dirty clothes was making. He was hammering something—possibly a desk or a drawer in the making for a wealthy family's children. I was not sure, and neither was I interested in that part. What struck me most was the condition in which the man humbly sat, unresponsive to whatever was happening around him (the shop was located at a shady place with the main road diverting all the traffic in that gloomy street). The clouds of pity, commiseration, sorrow, guilt, and misfortune had hovered me completely, ready to drizzle the last bit of rain droplets they had accumulated in all of this time. Luckily, I drove away.
I might have escaped from the explicit reflection of the bitter, pungent reality that night, but the proximate sight stayed with me even till today.
Covid-19 was on the rise. Millions were lives have already been lost, with their dead bodies buried under medical supervision and not the prayers of their families. The thought makes me shiver despite the fact that I had started to avoid too much news. They did nothing for me anymore. I was not the only one. I could see the effect that was expected. People have never felt so helpless, dependent, and weak. Even the rich had no power anymore. No paper money, no bitcoin, no gold bars, and no silver spoons could immune anyone from the pragmatic disease. There was no resistance to it except prevention. More like, a change of a complete lifestyle and the dynamics which unfortunately the world has brutally drafted on its own.
The draft had been crafted with the help of the number of years, biased societal norms, unacceptable financial and social statuses, and the disparity and differences among commoners. When I talked about the gloomy street, I intended to convey yet another valid point. In that state, when my car was idly parked across the corner shop, a honking, blasting ambulance had turned up. The van was too big to enter the narrow tapered street – yet it did. People in scrubs and protective gear had run out of the van, as if they were anxiously waiting for it to come to a halt, and had entered a scruffy small house. Somebody was sick. You probably know by now that what they have come for. That was my last day out, patrolling in the streets.
The ambulance in the narrow street incident had made me realize something so minor yet so significant. There was once a time when these poverty-stricken, underprivileged, and needy people used to run after the high-powered and affluent lot just to get what they already had rights over. And now? – these fortunate ones are looking for THEM. Roaming around in ambulances, driving into narrow corners, and not noticing the time, they are looking for everyone regardless of their income level – asking.
"How are you feeling?"
If only they had done this before.
I was making myself a sandwich. The self-binding times of Covid have taught me how not to starve, if not anything else. Watching so many food videos online, I now could easily make a quick fix for even a special guest. Tossing the Russian salad after sprinkling some salt and a dollop of butter in the boneless chicken roasting on the stove, I could not help but think back about the time when I had watched the man hammering pieces of wood and iron.
How must he be now? Would he still be working that hard?
The sprinting thoughts were now giving me a headache. I guessed that putting on a cup of cinnamon and cardamom tea would help mitigate it. It might, but at that moment, it certainly didn't help me curtail down the number of thoughts in my exhausted brain.
How would he even be earning? His income was coming from a meager source of daily wages, that too relying on the provider's mood. My mood now was worst. How could the poor remain stuck in the intertwined web of poverty, and the privileged keep flooding their overflowing banks? Why such a difference? Why is there no just and fair distribution of wealth? These commoners already had a tough life, and now with the lockdown being constantly imposed and the businesses shut down because of the pandemic - there is no way for them to feed their families.
I was finally eating my self-made dinner. But, the grieving thoughts in my head were eating me. I continued fighting against the rapidly pacing ideas. What about these news channels and their claims? Every day they mention and proudly announce a new solution, an innovative program that only the president of that country does for their people – yet the lives continually get lost. The hunger remains, and the helplessness never subsides. In spite of these constant revelations about forming policies, strategies, a system, and overall a control mechanism for the entire country, everything seems to fail. The helpless are still unhappy, unfed, with no idea how to continually go about their lives. How do they even go home?
My appetite had been killed, but I was still eating. I was scared of switching on the television because I would see more devastating news about the death toll. Or a funny one where the cure has been found, but it is only a mere bluff to get views.
What is the solution? Who would fix this? I was already tired of waking up early to switch on my laptop and the webcam and sit in front of the screen for hours as if I was at work. It doesn't work. I didn't. No matter how much you try, you need to have an alternative where your mind would be at peace while working. But it was not. In fact, no part of me was at peace.
The fist solution Covid needed was to have LEADERS.
That is right. I could feel the bulb lighting up above my head as they show in cartoons.
Perhaps nothing, no technology, no power, no medicine, no science, or anything that could heal the world. Many countries in the world gradually transitioned into a state where they needed a plan – a management and an organized way of dealing with the crisis. In such scenarios of emergency, LEADERS EMERGED.
And that is the only way working for now. The countries which are doing good, or at least better than most, have leaders. True leaders – who know how to keep the hearts of their people (commoners) at peace - How to let them know that no mouth will sleep unfed and nobody will astray, wandering off in the darkness to hide.
Every nation has somehow produced a personality, a man, a woman, who could lead their country out of this trouble, who could tell them that this is the right direction and how gloomy it might seem right now. Still, it will get better - that is how important a leader is and what a true leader can do for their people.
The art of leadership extracted from the business, politics, and the medical world can be used as a reference to fighting off the pandemic. How specific individuals are different enough to become a leader is not. A person who works every day does not care about anything except feeding his children and not going home empty-handed - All he dreams of is having a leader who can bring him out of his misery and solve all his problems.