Tackling Covid-19 – by Shri A. S. Tambwekar


When a disaster strikes, one has to struggle hard to face it and find a solution. Very often during the course of this struggle, some good things happen. This makes us say that the God is not so unkind. He favors us with something that makes us forget the hardship that we have undergone. For example two strangers absolutely unknown to one another meet during the struggle and later become very good friends or even life partners. Or a person may have to migrate to an unknown place where he finds opportunity to set up a business and prosper. Such a situation is described in one word as Ishtapatti.

The world is facing an unprecedented epidemic of Corona since March 2020. Many countries have imposed lockdown and restrictions in movements of the people. Airlines, ships, railways and bus services have stopped operating. Even the two, three and four wheel motor vehicles are off the road. Many offices and industries have temporarily closed down. Tourists, businessmen, students and pilgrims are stranded away from their homes. By end of May 2020, the number of people affected by corona has reached 60 lakhs in the world and 1.8 lakhs in India. The death toll has gone up to 3.7 lakhs in the world and 5000 in India. No one has found a definite remedy or a vaccine to prevent the disease. Yet due to preventive measures like lockdown and social distancing, the number of newly affected cases is under control and the number of recoveries is increasing. In India the present recovery rate is about 48 %.

The preventive measures have resulted in some good and desirable things that are proving to be blessings in disguise. Some of these are listed below:

1. Cleanliness – People have developed the habit of washing their feet, hands and face whenever they come in contact with any unclean surface or return home after an unavoidable outing. They do not walk into the house with outside footwear and change their clothes before sitting on the sofa or the bed. They prefer saying Namaskar with folded hands from a distance rather than shaking hands or hugging a visitor. They use a mask and keep a handkerchief handy for use before sneezing or coughing. They are disposing the garbage in a proper manner. They avoid going into a crowded place and maintain distance from one another when they have to go out for some essential work. The living areas and the roads are presenting a cleaner look. I hope this becomes a habit to be followed by all for all times to come.

2. Quality of atmospheric air – Due to restrictions on all types of transport systems, emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has greatly reduced. Particularly in large cities the change is easily felt even inside the house. Emission of foul gases as well as harmful effluents from the industries has stopped. Also people have stopped crowding in hotels, restaurants, theatres and malls, places of worship and tourist spots. Garbage collection in these places has stopped. There are no social or political gatherings or processions. Even marriages and funerals are conducted with very limited attendance. This is a welcome change. Let us fill our lungs with clean air while we relax at home. Let us travel only when we must. Do not use any type of vehicle for short walkable distances and for long pleasure rides. Share your car when possible.

3. Quality of water in the rivers and near the beaches – Since the industries and activities that pollute the rivers have closed down, the quality of water flowing through the rivers has greatly improved. Consequently pollution of the sea has also reduced. The beaches are presenting cleaner and healthy looks with no garbage being thrown around. This is good for the human beings as well as for aquatic animals and fishes of all kinds. I hope that this continues even after the lockdown restrictions are withdrawn.

4. Learning new skills – Many people were used to getting their domestic work done by their domestic helpers. Now they have to learn how to sweep and mop the floor, clean utensils, wash and iron clothes, wash the car and do some simple domestic maintenance. Men have learnt cooking. Women are trying new recipes. Children are learning new mobile applications. Elders are spending their time in tending to potted plants. There is always something new that one can learn. It is a very good and satisfying way of spending your free time.

5. Increased use of electronic appliances – Some people are now attending to their office work from their homes. Some students are attending e-learning classes. Off course there is no substitute for practical training and skill development. Examinations are also conducted on line. People are ordering their groceries and vegetables on line. Internet systems are used for banking, travel booking and other commercial services. Social gatherings are now held on what’s app. Seminars are replaced by webinars. Cabinet meetings and international conferences are being held on video. This is definitely an advanced way of life. But let us not forget the importance of personal relationship. Man should not become another machine.

6. Nostalgia – People are spending time in reading old letters and seeing old photo albums. It gives them pleasure to remember the old times and the events that took place at that time. Share these with others and contact the old acquaintance if possible to double your happiness. You may like to write a book narrating those events. You can thereby develop a new skill.

7. Increased medical facilities – The number of hospitals has increased. Facilities in the hospitals are increased with more number of cots, separate isolation wards, ICUs, laboratories for conducting tests of the patients and more staff to attend. Some hotels, community halls, schools and newly constructed buildings are used for this purpose. Production of medicines, masks, ppks and other equipment has gone up. This will surely improve health standard of the people even after the present crisis is overcome.

Look at all this in a positive way. We shall very soon overcome the corona fear and start living our normal life. Self-discipline, self-reliance and self-satisfaction are the keywords. Keep following them. We should have some good memories also related to this difficult time. Look forward and go ahead for a better living.

He is a First Class Engineer (Steam & Motor).He passed out from DMET in the year 1958 and has 48 years of experience in operation, surveys, construction, repairs and management of ships. During this period he has served as Chief Engineer on motor and steam ships, Engineer and Ship Surveyor with the Govt. of India, General Manager in Dempo group of companies and Technical advisor.

He was associated with many engineering colleges and polytechnics in various capacities from time to time. He played a major role in the formation of Institute of Shipbuilding Technology, Goa in 1981 and Institute of Maritime Studies, Goa in 1997. He was the founder Director of Institute of Maritime Studies. He continues to be on the Governing Council after retirement in year 2000.

He is Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineers (India) since 1980. He was Chairman of the Goa branch of IME(I), for 5 years. He has presented many technical papers in the meetings and seminars. He has organized seminars in Goa.

He has authored the following books for Marine Engineers –
1. Watch keeping for Marine Engineers.
2. Safety of Ships and Marine Environment Protection.
3. Notes on Marine Diesel Engines.
4. Naval Architecture and Ship Construction.

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