The book ‘Corona Tale’ is a Bangladeshi Family’s Pen War against the Pandemic. This book collates articles written by the family members on topics ranging from public health, financial implications of the pandemic to personal musings during the pandemic. The book was launched recently.
By Prof. Dr. Tanvir A. Khan
Reading through the lines, page after page was like a breath of fresh air. A family of eight has done wonders. A new concept has emerged. All the members acted like a platoon writing their hearts out with only one agenda in their mind – ‘Pen war against the Pandemic’.
Chronologically inching their way forward to tell the audience what happened next. The pre-pandemic days were kept as a benchmark. Happy days so it seemed when taking the grandchildren to drop them at their school compared to cooped up at home doing virtual classes in the Pandemic days. No exercise, no running, no sports but changing the life style to a sedentary one by default.
Slowly and steadily changing one’s attire to wearing the mask and social distancing! If you wore masks to the Bank, they would take you for ‘dacoits’ in the earlier days. If you don’t wear them now, you would not have access to the Bank. Sneezing in public is a No-No thing! Some used that as a strategy to be first in line. One big sneeze and the crowd go shattering away!
Round circles after nearly one meter were drawn for each to stand maintaining a social distance. In the urban areas, this was maintained to some extent. In the countryside and the mofussil towns, Covid-19 was an alien object.
All these experiences were chronicled by these eight ‘aware-making-persons’ and once you complete reading this book, the recipe is a wholesome one. It gives a run-down from enforcing social distancing, to how the whole society should together contain the outbreak, to winning the Corona war by Suborna Sheba for all, to what needs to be done by everyone, to community health workers as the first line of defense, to pushing online learning in higher education, to corona-virus solutions for resource-poor countries, to maternity care, to the power of adaptability, to prioritizing the global response, to the vaccine scribble and asking oneself if a year is too long.
We are ‘guinea pigs’ but we call ourselves ‘volunteers’! Clinical trials did take place but the time that was supposed to be given was too short. We have taken the vaccine. There were cases where people fell sick after taking the first jab. These are also research results and the process continues. Now a serious variant has arrived and it is like going back to square one – March 2020! We have to start all over again to make ourselves aware how to defend ourselves. Thanks for the rehearsals of donning the masks, social distancing, vapor inhalation, hot water to drink, taking medicine, and the whole lot. Additionally, what we have to do will evolve as we proceed. There will be causalities on the way but that has become near normal. Everyday there are one or more message of mortality and the statement ‘Rest in Peace’ has become a habit.
The Lectures at the end of the Book presents a synopsis of BRAC’s Community Health Workers and the issues related to it. This was like doing an Ambassadorial work showcasing what Bangladesh has done so far. What a laudable action and to no less a place than Harvard, LSE, Chatham House and the National Defense College.
Finally, the pages of family pictures show the inclusiveness and the extended-family concept where one lives for the other. The training by the elders is remarkable and every member has contributed to this book. What an iconic family to emulate!
This Book will remain as a historical document taking people month by month to reflect on what has happened in the year 2020 and beyond related to the Corona Tale.
Prof. Tanvir A. Khan is the Executive Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor of North South University, Bangladesh