4-Personal thoughts/Experiences of COVID 19 (April 14 , 2020)

4-Personal thoughts/Experiences of COVID 19 (April 14 , 2020)

Personal thoughts/Experiences of COVID 19 (continuing thread and updated periodically)

The availability of experiences can help others to understand, what they are experiencing, and not feel that they are alone in this situation. It will also help the learn from other individuals experiences.

Further, it will also build an understanding the INDIANS response to the pandemic.

Please note that this is a compilation of experiences and opinions.

Please feel to share your thoughts/experiences through my email: smurthy030@gmail.com Your contributions will be added to the thread.
26. Innovative support to Children : Sri. Shekar Menon, New Delhi

I am a Professional Tennis Coach.
I’ve been teaching tennis for 30 plus years and I am among the 5 National Coaches of India.

We run a Centre with 150 children and I directly look after 30 of them.
The rest are largely handled by my staff of 12 Assistant Coaches.

Recently, all the children were under severe stress because of the Board and Final exams—–This takes a toll on the children/parents and of course the Coaches, as we have to plan and re-plan schedules.

This year as soon as exams finished, we had 3 days of intense training.

After 30 years on the job—I’m familiar with the drill—–How the load lifts up after exams. The day my boss and I were planning to raise the level of training by increasing the timings from 4 to 7 hours came the news of CORONAVIRUS.

NOTHING like this has happened to me since I was born. It came as a shock. Then, I realised I was in charge, I was the Coaching Boss—–WHAT TO DO???

My tennis brain swung into action

I set up a punishing Physical Fitness Schedule(together with my Fitness Expert).

This was 3 hours daily—-to be super vised by parents. (By now the WHATSAPP group) used to wait for my instructions daily.

Suddenly—there is a vacuum. So we had to do what is next best.

I started a daily Instructional Video—–I gave tips, tennis drills, new techniques over video daily—–These were 3 to 4 minutes long. Children liked these very much–The videos were posted on our WHATSAPP group .Feedback & Questions were most welcome and slowly started coming.

I issued strict instructions that NOTHING related to Covid 19 was to be discussed on this forum of ours.

Since schools/colleges everything was shut—I had to work overtime from home. Mind you,100 odd children meant different levels—-That meant sometimes, different videos had to be made. I tried my best and was quite successful.

Tennis as most people know is the LONELIEST sport in the world—-ON THE COURT YOU ARE ALONE.

No Coaching/Communication is allowed.
So, I devised several drills where the kids could play alone or with a partner. For example: All human beings have some sort of a wall in their house. I converted these into wall practice areas—–The wall is your best friend in tennis. The ball always comes back. Kids were told to draw a line with chalk 3 feet from the ground up(The size of the net).Then I gave them targets—Like—50 balls in a row—–100 balls in a row—–Today we are at 250 balls without a mistake. Now, on the wall you can not only practice your groundstrokes BUT volleys, serve, overheads etc.I showed them how.

You can play mini tennis(where the court is much smaller)you can make a court in your living room—–Bifurcate an area——-you can make a net by using a bedsheet—–& with the new ‘green dot’tennis balls—much slower—a rally lasts much longer. I made this 1 hour compulsory and even started playing at home with my daughter.

This took care of 4 hours. Then I zeroed into the mental side of the game—–For me a VERY VERY important part—–Daily—–Briefings went out—–on how to use the court—where to hit—–what sort of spin to use and when. Tennis is not about the STRONGEST person winning. If that was the case Khali or Arnold Scwarzenegger would be World Champions. Questions were welcome and started coming—to my great surprise—usually Indian children are very shy.

20 years back—-Parents were hardly bothered about their children’s sessions—BUT NOW—–Parents seem to be TOO involved—–Some parents think they know more than me—–Time to bring them to the test—–In the same Whatsapp group I started a separate Q & A session with the parents—–, to be passed on to their kids. These were questions on Nutrition, Diet, Hydration etc.

Finally, I have just finished a QUESTION PAPER for all the children—–There are 15 questions which are essay type(Minimum 500 words) & 15 Multiple Choice Questions(with negative marking)—-I intend to take a ‘LIVE” exam—–day after tomorrow—(It will be a surprise test)Kids can use google, as it’s a tough exam.

Lastly, I have used whatever means I can to keep the children’s minds off the terrible crisis that has hit the whole world. Wimbledon has been CANCELLED in 2020!

These are a few things I am doing to keep the kid’s minds busy, otherwise kids are kids—–AN IDLE MIND IS A DEVIL’S WORKSHOP!!!!!

27. Sunset from my window

R. (Bala) Balachandra, SanDiego, (USA)

Red, orange and yellow against a blue canvas
with random white and gray clouds spread all
around creating lovely images of animals and
castles on a background of distant hills with
little doll houses, sail boats and cruise ships
in the bay and a sparse parade of planes.

I can spend hours looking at this picture
but it lasts only a little while as the bright
orange disk slowly sinks into the hilly horizon.
I wait for the green flash, but I wait in vain like
for Godot. I’m not lucky, or maybe I’m in the
wrong place. My wait is short, the sun sets.

I love sunsets. I go to near and far away places
to experience the magical sight – Sunset Cliffs,
the Grand Canyon, vortexes of Sidona, Cape
Kanyakumari and many more enchanting
places – looking for the green flash to cross
off my bucket list. I may not be lucky at all.

I lose myself while watching sunsets, get into
a meditative mood wondering about the mysteries
of the universe. I wonder how a thing so ephemeral
takes on such importance; the beauty of things
in nature cannot be explained, but experienced.
The senses cannot feel what the soul can.

Then I become prosaic and remind myself
that the sun sets every day and there are
more important things than green flashes –
things like pandemics, recessions, fires,
floods, mass shootings and other disasters.
Not to worry, the sage says, these too shall pass.

28. Spiritual Support: Anonymous

“We have started 8days prayer keeping all of us on lifeline at this time of isolation d social distancing. Praying for all. Wish d hope life will be normal again. Hope all of u keeping well. May God bless us protect us.”

“In my experience spirituality has had the greatest effect, and the Bible has been my solace in my most difficult times and at all times. The very fact that I don’t have to control my life and there is someone who is overseeing is the greatest relief.”


29. A POEM : T.T.Srinath

The past as I have known may never repeat,
Is my future then with fortune replete?
When nothing is being assured,
Neither career nor life ensured;
If so be my mind senses only doom,
Unable to shake off fear nor suppress gloom,
to what tomorrow am I going to wake?
What skills can I from within me take?
that can help me relevant stay,
that can help me manoeuvre my way,
I know not whom or where to seek,
Want not to feel despondent nor bleak,
Yet I cannot subdue the fear in me,
Buzzes around like a bumblebee,
Unable am I to quell the sound,
Find myself on shaky ground,
I wish I can have faith in me,
Just let things happen just let things be,
then maybe when the dust clears,
when optimism it’s head rears,
I will strike gold again,
The years of effort thus not in vain,
And for this I must surely need,
My faith in God my devotion to feed.


30. The memories we leave behind- Usha Jesudasan, Vellore
The Hindu April 05 2020
(emphasis added-Murthy)

Be the beloved for those around us, be the light of someone’s life

Most people don’t know that one of the fiercest battles during the Second World War was fought in Kohima, Nagaland. The invading Japanese army was forced to retreat by British and Allied troops stationed at Kohima and Imphal.

Today, on the same ridge where the brutal fighting took place is a beautifully maintained War Cemetry – peaceful and green. There are about 1420 graves of British and Allied troops, and another 900 of Indian soldiers. Although many Nagas also fought to save their land, sadly, there is only one Naga grave – that of a 21 year old young man. Each grave though just a slab of grey stone tells the story of a young man far from home and the memories he left behind for those who grieved for him. The words used on these graves – beloved – cherished – selfless – pride and joy – adored – the light of our lives – irreplaceable – tells the story of each young man buried there.

As I walked past each grave I couldn’t but help think of the memories each one had left behind in those words. I remembered my two music teachers – Misses Wroughton during my child hood in the UK who had large pictures of handsome young men on top of the piano – brothers and lovers, fathers and uncles who never came back from the war.

Although it was 20 years later, they still spoke of them with shaking voices, eyes brimming with tears. Now standing by these graves I remembered some of the words they used – cherished/ adored/ selfless / so missed – the same words inscribed on so many of these graves.

This got me thinking about what kind of memories we will leave behind for those who love us. Priest and writer Henri Nouwen in his book, Bread For the Journey often emphasizes the need to deliberately make good memories for our friends and family. Take the time, he says, give surprises, create time for togetherness, rejoice in everything, knowing that our loving actions are the memories our loved ones will have of us one day.

To do this, we need to make the words on those grey slabs come alive. Be the beloved for those around us. Be the cherished friend. Be the light of someone’s life. How does one do this in our busy time bound lives? I thought about this deeply – I took a day off from my tightly packed schedule and invited my daughter for a day at the beach. She was alarmed initially, then happily joined me.

We sat on the warm sand and played our favourite songs . Then we read poems to each other, and finally sat holding each other’s hands watching the waves crashing into the sand. We saw the first stars come out and much later a beautiful crescent moon.

“ I’ll never forget today,” she said. “ Good. That was my idea.That maybe twenty years from now, you will remember a day when you sat with your mother at the beach and did nothing but listen to music, read poetry and saw the stars come out one by one.”


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