Quarantine- A chance at redemption


All the latest conversations we have at the dinner table, on phone calls or hangout (well virtual hangouts) revolves around the global pandemic, Coronavirus or COVID-19, and the quarantine situation that we are all facing. It’s barely been 2-3 weeks since a complete lockdown and people are already antsy as to when this will all end and eager to get out of the houses.

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How many times have you said, “I can’t wait for this to be over”, “I really want to go out” or “I can no longer stay at home”? Many of us even decided to take it upon ourselves to breach the government orders and go out, all while jeopardizing the safety of ourselves and others.

It didn’t take long for this to happen to us, it merely took 2-3 weeks and the only thing we are deprived of is going out in public. We still have the freedom to whatever we want at home, to talk to our friends via video calls, work from home and keep our lives active without having to leave the security of our homes.

All these arrangements are temporary and will cease to exist as soon as the situation is better but what about those who have been forced to live inside closed quarters for the entirety of their lives? I am not talking about us humans. I am talking about the animals and birds that we trap in cages for our viewing pleasure.

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They’re taken out from their natural habitats, extracted from their social life and families and locked up in a cage with terrible living conditions. While we are temporarily deprived of a very minute part of our lives, humans have been depriving zoo animals of their entire right to life by putting them in unnatural habitats.

Does our quarantine put things in perspective for us? Not really. Would we try considering that animals need their lives as much as we do? I really do not think so.

We might be ‘conserving’ a few species by trapping them, but a large number of the fauna we choose to entrap in cages are for our entertainment. We can easily throw a tantrum and rant about our conditions to those around us, but who do these animals have? They simply have to submit to the unjust conditions that they are put through, sometimes with another of their kind and sometimes solitary, confined to their cages.

In an ideal world, if environmental changes like Dolphins in the Venice Canals, a coyote running through New York or a sudden appearance of peacocks and deer’s in so many places in India, is observed as a result of human quarantine, we might try to curb our destructive habits and let animals keep their own habitats, but it is not an ideal world.

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While right now we all appreciate what is happening and make statements like “Mother Earth is healing herself,” no one knows better than us that we are inevitably going to go back to our old ways the minute the pandemic ends completely.

I did not write this article to tell everyone something they already know. I wrote it so that we do not miss a chance to take ques and change what we have been doing wrong. This is a chance that nature itself has given us and it is not certain whether there will ever be another opportunity to right our wrongs.

- Adhya Venkatesh