Unexpected consequences: The other side of the pandemic

Photo of mutual aid in Berkeley
Sunny Shen/Senior Staff

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Back in March when India suddenly went into lockdown, thousands of low-income families and daily wage earners slipped into destitution. Every day, my aunt in Bangalore would obtain wholesale staples to distribute and ration to those in need. She expanded her reach through fundraising efforts, and hundreds of families had food in their stomachs thanks to her.

It’s impossible not to be reminded of how much people around the world have been suffering these past few months. The pandemic has left no aspect of our lives untouched. This time last year, who’d have thought that we’d all be taking online classes on Zoom, we’d all be quarantining in our homes and rising death toll numbers in the news would become the new normal? But here’s a funny thing about adversity: The difficulties we face have the power to bring us all together.

Like my aunt, millions of other people all over the world have come together to help their communities during the pandemic. Everyone has tried to do their bit in different ways. Some volunteer at the pharmacy to deliver medicine to older adults, stores have separate hours for different ages, students are offering free tutoring for children amid the lack of classes and many are distributing masks or other supplies to those in need. Others are doing their part by cheering up their friends and neighbors, keeping spirits up in a time when it can be hard to be positive. A headline example is the residents of Italy who came together to sing from their balconies. Other instances include singers and dancers livestreaming shows online and the gaming community coming together to keep the population entertained. Even during such unprecedented times, people found a way to help one another.

In his book “The Flipside,” Adam Jackson writes about how there is a flip side to every adversity and how we can turn difficult times in our lives into opportunity and rise above them. And many have done exactly that. They found immense strength and resilience during these trying times and have positively impacted those around them. Despite their own fear and uncertainty, individuals have helped one another in exceptional ways.

Usually, we don’t seem to trust strangers, and our fears are compounded by everything we read in newspapers. In today’s busy world, we are so caught up with ourselves that many don’t even know their own neighbors. Under normal circumstances, people might not have shown such magnanimity. This adversity has brought us together and instilled a deep sense of kindness and generosity.

If there’s anything this pandemic has taught us, it is that we are stronger when we are kind and stand together to support one another.

Contact Nandita Radhakrishnan at [email protected].