Day 76: Doubt
In the stillness of the evening, we sat hoping for rain, or some breeze at least. The weather felt as though it has been paused in a vacant state. You know this weather here with the buzz of overworking fans and AC unit. When such an evening weather strikes it is nearly suffocating. It is as though someone has put an embargo on wind. Absolutely still environment. This is the kind of occasional weather when misery travels from the outside to within oneself and makes a person feel sorry for no apparent reason. It takes a few summer-monsoon season cusps to be spent here for a person to know that it is not him. It is the change of guard happening – a season changing over to another. Until the clouds gather and bring in some rain thereby restoring the progression into better days of wind and water, there are these still evenings. It reminds people of not getting comfortable easily. Sitting here I am reminded of the thin but cool air above Jomsom in the Lower Mustang region of Nepal. Such a far away world it seems right now sitting in Central India.
The conversations around lockdown, the virus and about exiting the lockdown continue and point to many different directions. The world never seemed to be thrown into a confused state as this. Not many know which way to go, though the human attitude to be convinced about one’s own way persists. As a collective, we continue to pay the price for covering over our vulnerabilities and our deep societal fractures. In the NYT, I read a news piece on France and its exit. It quoted an interview the French President gave to the national TV there.
Mr. Macron stiffened and looked impatient when he was asked recently on French television about his unpopularity. “Look, I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself,” he said. “I’m looking ahead.” “For decades this country has known doubt and division,” Mr. Macron added. “I don’t believe in miracles. This distrustful France exists. It hasn’t changed.”
Here was the leader of a country reflecting on his leadership and his government’s response during the last three months when the pandemic raged through France. It also reads like an unguarded moment which I am sure his critics and opposition leader will have no space or tolerance for. In not feeling sorry for himself, he presents a resilience that I see necessary for a person and for a leader. In a way this is also an usual exchange – especially the moment of reflection that takes over intermittently.
I notice that our expectations from others are near perfect or absolute, but extremely flexible when it comes to our personal lives. In this chasm unfolds a fair deal of our discontent and having been wronged by people. In our convictions there appears a shrunken space for doubt. A hardening of convictions and behaviour is taking over our national and personal conscience. The constant narrowing of margins that we allow for reconsideration and change will amplify the effect of the current crisis that the world continues to reel under. Is the leap too far to draw from the national to the personal? I think not.