India grapples with viral grief

“I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude of epidemic sadness whatsoever,” says Shah Alam Khan, an orthopedic oncologist and professor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. “Previously, I saw a number of people who died from the Coronavirus. Now, there are names. Each of us knows someone who has been stolen by the Coronavirus. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know someone who died.”

In Khan Hospital alone, he sees the doctors so overwhelmed with grief that they collapse on their own. Recently, after a failed eighth resuscitation attempt, a colleague in his office committed suicide. It’s a death Khan talks about so softly: he admits he’s not turning his head around yet.

“When death occurs in our highly religious society, grief becomes part of tradition more than anything else,” he says. “I am an atheist, but in this country, death and grief are easier if you are a spiritual person.”

Sima Hari was one of countless people using the stories feature on Instagram to share resources like Google Docs with information about where to find oxygen tanks, with a focus on her hometown Mumbai. But as her family members contracted the COVID-19 disease, she fell into isolated grief with the exception of her Instagram page.

“I spent most of my days worrying and trying to share resources with people, I spent the nights checking in via WhatsApp – not just with my family but with other friends all over India, asking them the dreaded question about whether everyone by their side was okay,” she said via mail Mail “If They Need Any Help”.

Harry said she did not feel the ability to grieve properly and did not see herself doing it: “There is a lot of collective and personal grief to be addressed, but it is as if we did not even get the grief privilege, because the loss is relentless and there are many things that require our action. And our attention. “

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