This is a submission for Cherry Cross’ Writers Program.

We are all going through the same thing right now – life in quarantine, social distancing and self-isolation. Things that were a staple in our routine until six weeks ago, like meeting friends, going to work and dining out on a Tuesday evening, are no longer a possibility. It is frustrating but also the only way we can curtail the spread of this virus called Covid’19. 

It is interesting how this pandemic is teaching us simple life lessons that have been long forgotten – about kindness, respect and perils of a life of excess. It had also made us acknowledge and appreciate little joys of life, like a walk in a park. But most importantly, it has given us an opportunity to closely evaluate the way we treat under-represented sections of our society, such as acid-attack victims, transgenders and homeless people, who have been deprived of simple joys of life, by us. They have been isolated and socially distanced for a long time – long before Corona became a threat. They face obstacles at every corner, be it education, career or self-actualisation. Support that many of us take for granted, like that from institutions and society at large, doesn’t exist for them. In the face of endless hardships and lack of support, they are forced to opt for paths and professions that risky and potentially hazardous. This then leads to issues like anxiety, depression and increased number of attempted suicides, making an already hard life harder.

Their plight doesn’t make headlines; heck, it is hardly even a part of mainstream media’s scope of coverage. They stand, with their hardships and pain, isolated.They are visible on the streets but often ignored by the communities that they live in.

There are a few kind-hearted and empathetic souls who have undertaken commendable programs to help minorities and facilitate those who are less privileged. However, the ones who need help outnumber the ones willing to help by a large margin. There are still many who cannot reach for their dreams because they fall short against society’s shallow standards, or no one has ever taken an interest in them and said a kind, encouraging word. Their talents never get to make a debut as the people in power pass them in favour of those who appear ‘normal’. They are, at the end of the day, isolated.

But their situation can change. Now is the time for us to feel their pain, experience the isolation that we forced on them, and make amends. Let’s vow to be kind to all human beings and take proactive measures to stop all sorts of discrimination. Everyone should have a right to live life on their own terms, choose a profession that they are passionate about, and independently decide on the path to follow. And to bring about this change, you don’t have to an activist or revolutionist; just make sure that your own attitude is respectful and those around you are not mistreated. Every step, however small, counts.

We are losing hundreds of lives to Corona pandemic every day. Let this loss be a reminder of the value of human life. Every single life matters, and ought to be celebrated, no matter how similar or different it is from your own.