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It happened one Thursday. Just another day at work converted to a worried discussion about an unknown pandemic sweeping through the world. At a pace that was unexpected, unbelievable and deadly. We huddled together and thought about what to do.
In the age of digitisation and innumerable apps to manage work, working from home was always an option. But a team like ours, that thrives on the interplay of our ideas and multiple conversations during the day- how would that happen? I resisted, but the safety of our team was much bigger than the comfort of just walking up to a colleague to discuss something. We decided to work from our homes the next day onwards.
Over the next three days, the world changed. Not the real world, but our world. When it happened in China, Singapore, South Korea, Italy Iran, UK, France and USA, it was still not our problem. But when our numbers started rising- and when the first person died- it became a part of our world. This was very real, very palpable and extremely close. Now, I was scared.
But as the nation entered the Junta Curfew, my hopes rose- we were going to fight it together and come out of it. As a race, we had evolved so much and surely we have the right medical supplies and minds to get us over this. And then came Monday- the full nation is in lockdown. Everyone is to stay at home- any interaction with anyone could be deadly- for you, the other person, or anyone else at either of your homes.
Distress. Helplessness. Anxiety. Fear.
They creep on to us so quickly and simply that it feels natural to be scared. And it happened to me too. We have not seen the news in the last 3 years, but over the last week, we have seen it 3 times a day. And it is not just for information. Once you’re scared… you want more of it- strangely it becomes an addiction and it is the only thing you want to talk about, know about and feel.
But it took me just 4 days.
It took me just 4 days to realise that I must be grateful. All of us have something to be grateful about. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, a loving family, a wonderful team of colleagues, great friends, phone, laptop, television, love, eyesight, legs to walk, hands to eat…. I could go on and on. I shared my thoughts with the team.
Our operations are shut down because of this lockdown. But our spirits are not shut down.
We huddled again, and this time- we were not scared. We were charged up. We bounced off ideas, we shouted at each other, shot ideas down, fortified some ideas and made a plan of action. It is not a “business strategy in the present scenario” but simple things we do not do in the daily running around. Things which bring us closer to each other, our partners and our consumers. The real work- Not Urgent, But Important.
All of us also realised the importance of discipline, which is the only differentiator between the good and the great. Each member of the team is at work promptly at 9:30 and signs off in the evening when office hours end. Being at home does bring its own challenges, but our commitment to each other, our partners and our consumers is as strong. We don’t talk about negative things and focus our energies on what needs to be done. We discuss the positives, the next steps and what more we can do. We say to each other that each of us should enjoy our time at home and start appreciating the small things. We are together, strong and hopeful.
I am not scared.
Hope. Strength. Discipline. Commitment.
They take their time but once they arrive, they are much more potent.
Nature is strong. Nature is powerful. Nature is also forgiving. We have been unfair, our actions have been unjust and we have bullied nature. This is probably a response. We hope that all of us will learn and come out of it wiser, stronger and more mindful.