Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Letter to Unborn Daughter in the time of Coronavirus.

Dear Galena,
You aren't even born yet, and I am already worried about the world you will grow up in. I am already worried about how long this letter is going to be. T.S. Elliot once wrote "April is the cruelest of months" and he could not be more right about this April.

The world has been grappled with a global pandemic called COVID-19, and the world is trying, and failing in all shorts, to recover from it. We are all in stay at home order-to save us, and to save others, from catching the disease. It's a disease caused by unusually large RNA virus, called Wuhan Coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which causes respiratory illness and believed to be originated from Bats. From Bats it transferred to Humans, possibly through drinking water or eating the Bats (Yes, People used to eat Bats). Once it infected human, it transferred from one person to another through touching, sneezing and breathing near another person. This was not new or entirely new virus, as scientists have known about these virus since 1960s, and constantly warned us about how it endangers us all. However, the world diminished the potential dangers of it.  You will know more about biology and everything about it as you grow up.

I am writing to you today to apologize for everything that has happened. I understand most of what I am going to say here is clouded by anger and frustrations, and I apologize for that. I am writing to you today to apologize for that world that you are growing up in today, and not having been able to experience the world we lived until now. It may be a lot better than it was and is today, but right now I am worried about how different and worse it would be.  We failed you little one, the whole world collectively failed you. I only hope that we will come out of this alive, different, wiser, smarter, a lot more affectionate, and truly global.

The failures started long time ago. With all the advancements in science and technology had provided us with tools to monitor the potential threats from this virus and others on Humans. The leaders keep on saying "Nobody saw this coming", however, we could have seen this had we paid a little more attention. Then when the disease was first seen in China, they first tried to contain both the disease and information about diseases. It was months and thousands of infected people later, the world got to know about the disease amid all the censorship. China tried to stop the virus spread by limiting travel and issuing stay at home orders, but, people kept on travelling and kept on spreading. It was too late apparently, and the disease had already spread worldwide.

The virus was travelling globally, but the world was confined into countries and their boundaries. You know, Virus, especially when it's airborne, knows no boundaries. This is where the world failed, collectively. From China it went to devastate Europe and America. A total of 183 countries in the world has the disease as of today. While China was suffering from it, the world stayed silent. When Europe was suffering from it, America stayed silent. When America suffered from it, It was China's fault. Instead of trying to tackle this strange and deadly new disease globally, all the countries in the world kept hoping they won't get it.  Instead of preparing, the world was busy praying, hoping and blaming.  When this all gets over, I hope we learn a lesson that you can't tackle a disease such as this on a country basis, and it requires a global effort. I hope little one, the world you will see will be a global one.

I am afraid, this is not how the world is today. America is trying what it can, Italy and the countries in Europe the same, China and others ditto. I am so worried about the countries that were already struggling before all this. The global effort has been so woefully short. In the past few years there has been the rise of conservative, country first, populist governments all over the world. A decade or so ago, with technology and social media coming to rise, the world became more connected than ever both virtually and physically. The older generation of our times failed to embrace the change, and they got their cold feet. It's a dangerous trend, and I so hope that they have learned their lesson. Putting a country, confined within its boundaries, doesn’t protect from the dangers such as this. The world is global and there is no denying it now, I hope the world you grow up in will embrace that. I hope that someday soon this world will realize the motto of One for all and all for one, not one for own-self. I wish that the world will hold their hand together and combat this together.

Of course, we can't hold our hands together. We can't shake our hands. We can't play in the playground. We can't meet in a group. We can't go watch a movie, a play, any sports or eat and drink in a restaurant. We are required to maintain distance of 6ft when we talk with another, and wear a mask when outside. This is all to protect ourselves, and others. It's a strange world now, and I hope it won't be the same soon. I am dying to get out of this room I live in, I am fast running out of the books to read, things to watch or do. I want to be out, walking or biking in the woods, or having a bottle of beer with my friends in a beach. All that has to wait.

Little one, there are heroes, so many of them. The doctors, nurses and all the healthcare workers who treat patients with less than minimal protections and often putting their lives on line. The farmers and workers who maintain the supply chain, often compensating the overstocking. The grocery and pharmacy and all the other essential store clerks who kept on coming for work despite the dangers. The scientists who worked tirelessly to find drugs and vaccines. The volunteers who provided food and other basic needs to the people who would have otherwise died because of hunger. The ordinary people who resisted the temptation to go out of their home and defy the stay at home orders. They are all the heroes, Thank you for your service.

And there are anti-heroes, the ones who downplayed the seriousness of this. The leaders who opted-in for the preventative measures too late or relaxed them too soon. The people who thought partying with their friends on New Year's day or a Friday, the people who had to get married, who had to pray in a church or mosque, the people who had to be foolishly egotistical, all the people who spread the disease to so many others, unknowingly and often knowingly.

Galena, as I am writing this, I am constantly thinking about the world that will become in the future. I am aware of the economic repercussions that the world on pause for all these months will bring, and hopefully we will sprint through it. I am afraid that the changes in the social culture this will bring will be long lasting.  Are you still be afraid of touching things, shaking hands, being with other people in a confined space, are you still be afraid to breathe in a train or bus? Would you be praying, knowing full well that GOD didn’t save us from the pandemic but science did. The comfort of being in the presence of people might be replaced by greater comfort of their absence, especially when they are not intimate. Will you appreciate your friends and family more? A lot of things will be online centric- and "is there a reason to do this online?" will be replaced by "is there a reason to do this in person?" The globalization of world will endure, or fall apart and countries even more confined within their boundaries. The world and world powers we see today might not be the same tomorrow.

Little one, I am sure a lot of it will be different than it is now, but we have endured. The world has endured countless wars and a number of pandemics like this one (lethal than this one) and came out better. We often learn from our mistakes and come out better, culturally, socially, economically and I so hope scientifically. I hope the broader and calmer heads prevail and we come out of it better. We are failing you currently but I hope you are growing in a better world.

With a hope of bright and sunny April day in the future.

April 14, 2020
Toledo, OH.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wonderfully written essay disguised as a letter. Well done Bro! keep it up.