Corona and Zorba the Buddha

by Anuj Guglani, CEO, World Auto Forum


Corona means different things to different folks round the world.

On one hand, you have a few defiant industrialists who complain India got the strictest and an unwanted lockdown so early on, just to be opened up and eased out with rising cases. On the other, we have Mukesh Ambani raising US$ 7 billion from Global Investors during the same Period. Period!

There are developed nations of the west emulating Anti Covid measures of the Govt of India, of which many we began more than 2 months back.

You have the upper middle & elite class go overboard on cooking, baking, partying, binge netflixing, zooming and you have migrant workers walking 200 km without food and much water and collapsing on the roadside to die, including pregnant women.

There are companies donating to PM Cares fund and the same ones also firing their own employees citing, ‘No Money’. The law of the land allows these companies to donate their CSR Fund but stops them to use the same funds for paying salaries and if done, company directors can face arrest, prosecution and ouster! Ha ha ! Do we really need Kapil Sharma to make us laugh?

Well there are two main problems :

No Money. Biggest Cash Flow issue. Most Businesses except FMCG and telecom, hardly had a nickel coming in. The new FY began with a “Zero”

No Workers. People whom we used to conveniently dismiss as the dirt of our beautiful cities. They have returned to their villages as they didn’t want to starve to death during Lockdown.

As a result, Factories, Warehouses, Construction Sites all Shut. Whom we thought were dirt, turned out to be the wheels of the economy!

Corona has altered Human Behaviour 

You never had Indian men spend so much time in the kitchen. Sale of Dishwashers and Vacuum cleaners have hit the roof.

Suddenly each household also needs an additional tab or a computer for kids classes.

Granddad , Grand Mom, Mom and Dad, kids, Maid servant, never spent so much time together at home. Some are loving it, some just wish to break out!

The elite class who never went to luxury car showroom to take new car delivery, now flock the showrooms, probably need an excuse to get out and enjoy a nice drive on empty roads, holding hands! And yes! they are buying a 5 M+ Car during/ just after the lockdown! Someone cried no money ?

We also get to see the humane side of the Police. They distribute food packets to the needy. But no-one comes to their help, when they get positive and succumb.

Psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists getting inundated with patients. Mental Health finally gets its due. Houston, we surely have a problem!

The mountain range gets visible from 300 km away at Jalandhar. The Air is clean, rivers are flowing pristine. People might switch to Electric Vehicles to purge their guilt. Would Ola and Uber get back in Business. Uber CEO says ridership back to 80% in markets like Hong Kong which boast of stellar COVID outbreak control.

People forget social distancing for a burning desire. It could be alcohol. It could be protesting anti racist crimes.

The words of Dr Priyanka Yadav, a leading psychiatrist, win the day as she avers,”During these times we don’t need social distancing. We need physical distancing. We need to be socially closer more than ever!

Wah re Corona wah, Insaan ko maar ke Ussey Jeena Sikha Gaya…!