Monday, July 27, 2020
Saturday, July 25, 2020
The way things are now going, it is only a matter of time before someone in your physical vicinity tests positive for COVID-19.
Rather than wait for the local authorities to lay down strategies after the results, it is best to prepare in advance.
Come up with a set of guidelines on the steps that would be taken, and get the buy-in of all the residents. When framing these strategies, make sure you also put yourself in the position of the household testing positive, and ensure their needs are covered.
Since there will be movement restrictions on all the people in the household where a person has tested positive, make sure enough thought is given to how they will have access to essential goods and services.
Procure any special products that may be needed in case a household needs to be sealed off.
Asking them to put out garbage in special bags meant for toxic waste will not be sufficient- the bags would have to be made available to them because they can't go out and get it.
If possible, run these guidelines through with those of the local municipality, to ensure they are aligned. This would ensure that quarantine measures can be put in place as early as possible.
All this should ideally be in place before the first case shows up.
Once the residents come to know that a person has tested positive, everyone shows concern and offers to help.
But vague offers are not very helpful. Especially in apartments where you don't really know your neighbours.
Be specific in what you can do to help.
"If you want something from the grocer, let me know", and "anytime you want chai, ask me or my kids", are two specific offers people have always taken me up on in the past.
(I know my limitations. If I attempt to feed them, I may end up poisoning them)
Food is a major concern in any house where there is a person/ persons self isolating. Household chores can be put off, but the family needs to eat.
If the residents in the apartment complex can get together and supply food, that would be an invaluable service.
Offering to make one trip per day to the grocer and/ or chemist is another tangible assistance that the residents can take turns in providing.
If there is a pet in the house, and you are willing, do offer to board the pet. That's one less hassle for the family to deal with
Also, do check in periodically. Ask about the patient. Ask about the other people in the house. Offer to help.
When the family is emotionally stressed, kindness does make a difference
If you think the household is violating the guidelines, be gentle in your tone when you remind them. They do not want to infect you any more than you want to be infected. Using an accusatory tone is not helpful in any way.
If there is an issue, talk it out and sort it out.
Always remember that today it is someone else, but tomorrow it could be you. Treat others like you would want to be treated. More importantly, when you test positive, a family that has already developed antibodies will be able to help you the most.
Make sure they will want to.
Friday, July 10, 2020
Seven months back, when the four people suspected of raping and killing Dr. Priyanka Reddy were killed in an encounter, many cheered. They thought the legal process was slow and and there is no guarantee that criminals will be punished. So rather than wait for justice to come, were happy that justice was delivered soon.
They wanted closure, and they got closure. But at what cost?
Vigilantism was normalised, by subverting the judicial process.
There are many crimes today that qualify as "rarest of rare". They are all heinous crimes. The criminals need to be punished. But due legal process has to be followed by the police and the judiciary. Evidence has to be collected, guilt has to be proved beyond any doubt, and the punishment should be as prescribed by law. If we think the process is slow, we should push for judicial reforms so the legal process is fast tracked in such cases.
But nothing can justify vigilantism.
The day we support one act of vigilantism, we forfeit the right to question other similar acts. And then we get on a slippery slope to lawlessness. We surrender all claims on any legal process.
Today, because you don't have the patience to wait for justice, you justify killing a rapist in an "encounter".
Tomorrow, the rapist's brother decides you are insulting him, and kills you.
The law cannot protect you, because you have neutralized the law by letting it be bypassed.
And who benefits when there is no law to protect?
The people who have might.
The ones who require justice the most.
If you believe in justice, demand better laws and better implementation of existing laws.
Else, accept that you are partially responsible for all the crimes against the marginalized. Because you helped dismantle the laws that might have kept them safe.