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We are Grateful

Dear Corona Warriors,

Greetings on behalf of your anxious yet grateful human family. Across continents, you form a single team, serving a cause of matchless significance. You are doing for us what we can contemplate only with fear and trembling. Though from a distance, we sense the louring clouds of weariness overhanging as you struggle and serve from day to day.

Ever since the outbreak, you, our doctors and support teams across the country, have swiftly and willingly mobilized to contain the spread of Covid-19.

I am writing this letter to express my gratitude to all our front-line warriors. Words fail me as I write this letter. The superhuman work you do, digging into the last drops of your emotional and physical energy gives us hope. In these difficult times, you are serving not only

the individuals who are infected and admitted to hospitals, but you are also fighting for all humanity. This is not a nation’s war. You are our defenders- the vanguard of this planet, saving us from a microbial battle of worldly proportions.

May I say that this parallels the divine work of redemption? God, and God alone, touches humanity as a whole. Yet you have come close.

Everyone is fighting this disease. But what makes your work all the more heroic is that you are fighting this battle with full courage, keeping your own lives and families at risk. You cannot shelter in place with your loved ones. You are not 6 feet away from your patients. You put yourselves at risk each and every day.

We can only stand at a distance and admire you.

I promise, we do.

We are not unmindful of the cost this battle exacts from you. We know that the cost involved is commensurate to the scale and significance of the struggle; just as the risk in conquering the tallest mountain is greater than any in climbing a small hill. So, as you stagger back home after each day’s work, as you weep silently over the lives you fought so hard for, as you carry the anxiety of infecting your loved ones at home, and as you battle in secret the demon of anxiety about your own possible mortality even as you soldier on, you know the cost is staggering because the cause is supreme.

Thank you to the doctors and nurses who have come out of retirement to save lives while risking your own. Thank you to the doctors having to make unspeakable decisions under extreme pressure. Thank you to those continuously putting themselves at risk to save lives. And those who have lost their lives to save others.

Let us recognize the efforts of the pharmacists making sure people get their life saving medicine. The efforts of those helping to maintain order in our communities and stopping situations that would have allowed the virus to spread further. To those who are creating tele-health services so that we can all maintain access to routine health care in these crucial times and to those who are switching to these platforms to help flatten the curve, we are grateful.

Change is never easy.

Your actions are saving lives, mine and those of millions of others across the globe. From the journalists and public health officials, who spend countless hours keeping us informed with truthful news and advice to improve our safety, to the under-appreciated jobs of cleaners. You help shield our immune system from invisible predators and have continued to save our lives by doing so. You shine above any star. Thank you for showing us that our lives matter.

But I tremble to think of congratulating you. I wish I could hold your hands, look each one of you in your eyes and say, “Well done!” But words stick in my throat. Having to struggle alone, cut off from the rest of the world, is part of the pain you endure. It helps, in such a state, to realize that you are really not alone, rather, you are surrounded by fellow warriors-men and women who spend their lives in the service of humanity.

Brothers and sisters, selfless suffering undertaken and sustained in love is the greatest force in the world. Whatever is of enduring value in the heritage of our species has gestated in struggle and suffering. We know that your commitment towards your profession has created an even bigger feeling of community.

On the lips of people like us, who stay safe and far from your agonizing struggle, this could sound platitudinous. But through you it becomes the rising sun in the firmament of the hope that sustains humanity.

Finally, we hope that this crisis will somehow be resolved in the near future and that those who have stayed away from their homes will be able to return soon. And that if anything, we will all be able to learn something from your dedication during this time.

Yes, somewhere in the penumbra of your saga, there falls, alas, the shadow of human cussedness. We feel guilty that there are some among us who reward you with callous ingratitude. We applaud you for your services, but manhandle you for being near; individuals who want to save themselves from those who save them! This too is part of the riddle that our species is. I apologize for them. Also for myself; for I too feel that creeping fear of death that makes me behave in patterns of cowardice. But when I see the flame in the eyes of a doctor, this fear burns away and brings me back as a strong person. A person who believes that even though what has happened “We shall Overcome."

You have joined the battle on behalf of humanity. We are indebted to you; for ever, even if we may not know how best to express our deepening, wondering gratitude.


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