London is one of the great cities of the world. It is a vibrant city that never sleeps. London is colourful. You will find almost almost all the nationalities of the world living in London. In the summer there are huge music festivals in many parks and you will see cricketers in their white clothes playing in parks and school grounds. The annual fiesta of the international tournament of Tennis in Wimbledon almost defines summer in London. Packed with tourists the Oxford Street and Regent Street overflows with people. The hotels, restaurants and a huge number of businesses do a roaring trade. For the Indian community summer is the wedding season with guests numbering from 500 to 1000 and more.
After the summer the weather slowly moves towards winter. In the bitter cold the world famous football teams like Liverpool and Manchester clash on the playing fields. The fans fill up the stadiums in their thousands in spite of the freezing weather. A win for their favorite team makes them delirious with joy. If it snows the landscape changes and families enjoy the fun that goes with it. Then there is the Christmas festival and the lights go up in London’s famous streets. Frenzied shopping takes place and then on the Christmas day for once Londoner’s take a break. In the extreme cold it is exhilarating to sit by the fireside or with the central heating on and eat hot roasted Chestnuts!
All this has changed with the arrival of Corona Virus. Within one year the virus has changed the city dramatically. People have had to lock themselves up in homes. As a consequence trains and buses are running empty, hotels and restaurants are closing down, businesses are folding up and tens of thousands of people have lost jobs. People are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Families are struggling and living standards are falling. More and more people work from home and the arrival of Zoom has fundamentally changed the work culture. City businesses relying on commuters coming to work may close
and the huge office blocks may remain unoccupied. The city centre might become completely deserted with boarded shops and empty buildings.
Children’s education is taking a hit. University students are in a free fall and worried about their future prospects. Loneliness and mental issues are impacting millions of people. This vibrant city has come to a halt. The virus mutations are making things worse. Thousands of people are dying every day in London and in the country as a whole. At first the virus seemed fatal for the elderly but now people as young as 30 are dying. ‘Our neighbour has died, our relative has died’, that is all we are hearing. Hospitals are overflowing with patients. Doctors, nurses, care workers, ambulance drivers and thousands of others in the background are working day and night to help save virus victims. In the midst of calamity they are a ray of hope. It is said that an oil lamp is very bright before it burns out and it is the darkest before dawn. We hope and pray that London and other towns and cities as well as in all of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the dark night will be over soon. We await a new dawn to bring back hope and normality to our lives.
From now onwards mankind will have to make one very, very important change. We will have to cease our violence towards the animal kingdom and make peace with it. From brutal violence towards animals we will have to change by dealing with them with unreserved compassion and friendship. We will have to stop seeing animals as a product to consume. Mankind will have to abandon meat eating and adopt a plant based diet. This change is needed urgently. We should not wait for another virus to hit us.