Recently I read in news, India has overtaken the UK and now stands at 4th position in the overall tally of the number of coronavirus cases. Winning is good, but not every time. The number of cases in India is increasing rapidly and it scares us all. After having gone through multiple lockdown phases, we are in unlock phase 1 now but that does not mean things have become better. The situation is still bad, fear is even more and the economy is not in good shape. In news, we read about salary cuts, job cuts, and market crashes. I have known friends who have to go through these. It’s a difficult time.
But the good part is, things could have been worse, but we are able to contain it. If not for all the effort we have put up in social distancing, keeping ourselves locked down at home and using masks while venturing out of our homes, the cases could have been in millions. Being a social animal, it’s not easy for us to not meet people but still, we have restrained ourselves from doing so and are able to contain the spread of the virus. Putting up mask is not normal, but now we do not feel ashamed about how we will look in the mask or what others will say, we are always wearing masks and keeping us and others safe. We would have loved to party, travel, and eat out, but we are keeping ourselves at home. It’s good to see how we all have come together in the last few months to fight the virus and have done a pretty good job till now. But that does not mean we can relax now, or we can go out now. It’s not the time to put your guards down.
I want to share from my experience, a story which is very close to me. I was a part of Goldman Sachs for two years and in both the years, I participated in an event called Oxfam Trailwalker, where in a team of 4 you have to walk down 100 km together. There are checkpoints at every 10–12 km for you to relax, rest, and get recharged and you have your crew members to help you with that. The first time we did in 2017, we completed the 100 km walk in 26 hours. We stood 11th amongst ~ 250 teams overall. It was commendable how our team pulled it off. The second time we did in 2018, we all were experienced, but still, it took us 40 hrs to finish. We were 180th out of ~250 teams. When I think about what we did differently the 2nd time, one thing that stands out is what we did at the checkpoints. The 2nd time we participated in the event, at every checkpoint, we let ourselves relax, ate heavy meals, slept for a few hours, and chilled a lot. It’s not that in our first walk we kept walking for all 100 km. We did stop at checkpoints, relaxed a bit, got recharged, and started walking again. While it was necessary to recharge and relax, doing it at the right time and in the right amount was key. We knew our goal was the 100 km mark, not these checkpoints.
The journey was not easy. We had to go through something we hadn’t seen before, hadn’t experienced before. It was painful walking 100 km, but we backed each other, helped each other, and pulled it off. There was a time, after having completed around 70kms, it was ~ 1 am and we were sitting in a jungle and discussing why are we even doing this. One of our team members had done it before and we kept asking him, why didn’t you tell us it will be so painful. We can’t continue further, we will have to quit. And he said you can quit now thinking we at least did 70km or you can be strong and walk down the remaining 30 and finish the 100 km mark. The happiness you’ll find on seeing the 100 km mark will be so much that you’ll forget all the pain you endured during the journey. And literally, when we saw the 100 km mark, tears came out of our eyes. After having crawled the last few km, we ran those last 100 m. We were so excited and proud, that we didn’t feel the pain of blisters anymore. We did it because we never gave up, keeping in mind the ultimate goal. The same has to done with our journey to fight this virus. We need to be strong, we need to be together. We have reached our checkpoint where we have recharged ourselves but we cannot forget that the goal is not yet reached. We cannot let our guards down, we should not. And I am sure, we will not :)