A few days back I attended a webinar on the challenges of teaching in the present scenario. There, I happened to encounter another family of the 7Cs – no, not of communication or marketing – but something that can be remarkably related to ‘dealing’ with our present digital lives! I learnt that this set of 7Cs are aspects related to Resilience and an assimilation of all these aspects are crucial for reaching out effectively to our audience – our students.
After being overwhelmed by this new (partly owing to my ignorance) set of information, I did the most smart and intelligent thing that most of us do after coming across something new – Googling it! Google, in its all humility, came up with just about 80 thousand results in 0.36 seconds and I found that Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, a renowned paediatrician, believed that if people want their kids to experience the world fully, then they need to build ‘resilience’ which can be developed by following those 7 Cs. So, if children need self-fashioning to acclimatize themselves with the new world that surrounds them, wouldn’t we need the same sorts of things to combat the crisis? With the outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent/ simultaneous lockdown, we are living in a world we can hardly recognize as our own. It might just be the time for all of us for a (re)orientation course for living in this new world, or looking from another perspective, developing a renewed perspective about our existing world. Wondering how? The infallible 7 Cs are here to the rescue.
Competence: It is certainly not a bad idea to turn the learning mode on and strive for excellence. If Ranchoddas ‘Rancho’ Chanchad’s words are to be believed, success will definitely come after you! If not, well, you will at least be much wiser than before which is not that bad at all. Didn’t somebody tell you that knowledge is power? So even if you have had enough of knowledge, go for it for power’s sake please! Have you ever thought about how digital humanities can help, for example? See what Rimi Nandy has to say about it in this context.
Coping: If life is all about “survival of the fittest” by being adept at adapting, lockdown can very well be the ultimate test for it. What better test than being unable to consume a plate of biriyani or being deprived of the glory of being the voice of the nation in the much coveted adda pe charcha! But fret not, you have the social media, after all! The ultimate space for carnivalesque masquerades where you can pretend to be anybody and anything and bask in the glory of likes, comments, shares and emojis. Worried about not so friendly react buttons? Don’t be embarrassed, any publicity is good publicity, or so they say! You can also choose slightly more mundane options, like being habituated with staying with family and being responsible, living a disciplined life away from pollution, avoid feasting on junk food and so on.
Confidence: No, we are not talking about having the splendid confidence of going out without a mask. But it takes a lot to be courageous in front of such adversity and resisting instilling fear in people’s mind and speak about some positivity. Making people laugh would be a great way to alleviate fear. Would love to learn more on this? Take a cue from Anish Bhattacharyya here.
Connection: Social distancing doesn’t really mean social alienation, right? So what are you waiting for? Unless you are too obsessed with much romanticised alienation (courtesy literature) and think that you are just a solitary individual and not lonely, take the mobile phone in your hand (which is already always there anyway) and call up your long forgotten relatives, forsaken old friends, or even enemies! They will hopefully feel much better and that may earn you some brownie points. Just don’t forget to ask, “Are you at home?” I know some of you are missing travelling, too. We all are. But did you know that you can still travel anywhere you like amidst lockdown? Don’t rub your eyes in disbelief, let Madhumita Roy tell you how to do that.
Contribution: In case you are a serious reader and absolutely hating this frugal piece of writing, you will love this I am sure! While you are complaining about not being able to get outside, there are many who need your generosity now more than ever. So lend a hand for those who need it. Just resist the temptation of taking a selfie and posting it on social media while doing that, would you?
Character: By this time you already have acquired some perspectives of life, haven’t you? You now know that there are such viruses which are so inspired by the ideals of equality that they spread diseases at liberty and which can only be endured with your sense of fraternity. Dear reader, now you know that we do not really rule the earth, we are her guests at best! We know that Mother Nature might just be healing at the cost of our predicaments. So, what better time than this to set or reorient the moral compass for ourselves?
Control: Everybody would love to control the entire world, including the wicked virus, but I hope that you have already learnt that the most difficult and desirable lesson is that of self-control. With the concerns rising over long term psychological impacts of the pandemic, this seems even more pertinent. A few years down the line, with the coronavirus hopefully gone, you can always look back at this time with great pride and boast of the stuff you learnt, the ways you fought and the ways you reengineered yourself against all odds and emerged victorious!
One of my favourite literary figures once said and I find it very relevant in the present context- “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it…” (Maya Angelou in Letter to My Daughter, 2008)
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