COVID19 is running its 8th month. We still hear Amitabh Bachchan over phone advising us for washing our hands, wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance. But it looks like I have been working from home for ever. No one expected the March lockdown to last so long. It was initially for 21 days. Then it got extended twice and thrice and for fourth time. Initial anxiety and fear gradually waned. People started to feel normal about the lockdown and managed their house arrest with calm. However, the same cannot be said of the migrant labour which suffered due to lack of assurance & care from the government. I cannot forget the view from my balcony everyday when continuous string of people would pass with heavy luggage on their heads, backs and very small kids walking for miles. That was sad indeed.
Plenty of water has passed in last 6-7 months. The Sensex plummeted 35% and rose back by almost to the pre-Covid level (almost). Some investors got freaked out and exited the market in panic in March. On the other hand, new set of investors barged in like the army of Gondor (Lord of Rings) and broke 12 years record of DMAT & Trading Account opening in the April, May & June. Stock markets became the best game in town. Reliance Jio received enviable amount of capital out of unexpected corners and the stock doubled in 3-4 months. Gold & Silver shone, Pharma sky-rocketed….but Bank stocks got battered. Trillions of US dollar got printed. As a statistic, 22% of currently available USD has been printed in last 6 months only. Not to forget, the unfortunate Franklin Templeton fiasco. It shook the debt markets like crazy. April end was nightmarish for Debt investors and advisors. COVID19 has stolen all limelight. As COVID impact rose, hate against China also grew. Japan gave stimulus for its companies to exit China. India too tried its hand to benefit from China’s loss. India has brought in some tepid reforms in labour laws.
Besides economic events, special mention needs to be made about geo-political events. India-China border conflict resulting in deaths on both sides…..this was a record breaking event too as it happened for the first time in last 58 years. What forced this issue is debatable. But in last 6-7 months, the world has become very noisy and distasteful. Sushant Singh episode being blared in the media was in very bad taste. The US election is adding more noise pollution around.
There were some good things that happened due lockdown. I recollect the blue skies and bird chirping in the initial few days. The twitter was abuzz with view of Dhauladhar mountain range from Jalandhar roof tops, or the deers roaming the streets of Haridwar & Noida. There was so much peace. Lots of us got invaluable time to spend with our families. During the initial days, with only essential services open, we all realised that we need so little in our lives to live a fulfilling life. Our household expenses dropped sharply. We realised that our needs are much less than our wants.
Gradually, we are limping back to normal. Car horns are blaring again. Delhi’s famous polluted air is back again. The roads are dug up again for infrastructure development. The wishful thinking that we will learn the lesson from lockdown about improving our association with environment seems to be getting lost fast. Georg Hegel famously said, “ What we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history”.