An open letter — India

My name is Tapashwi Karki. I was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, a country wedged between China and India. Nepal is home to me and a place that I cannot help but love. While I love home and could endlessly tell you the beauty of where I am from, today I write to you as a South Asian mourning.  

If you did not already know, India is mourning the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. With record death tolls for the country being newly set every day, India’s hospitals are being overrun. The patients who are lucky enough to secure spaces and hospital beds are often forced to share ventilators with other patients. Those who are not lucky are often people who cannot afford to buy their way into bed or access their way into better areas and hospitals. These people who don’t have access in India are the ones who are dying in parking lots. If you couldn’t tell why the situation was bad before, you certainly have an understanding of it now. 

However, the scope of damage does not end here. India, up until their major outbreaks, was supplying vaccines to over 90 countries and now without the ability to even support themselves, these 90+ countries are also suffering. The ones struggling the most are the countries India borders–Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. With no access to second doses of vaccines, these countries are forced to face the new strains that came in from India without any forms of protection. 

As someone from Nepal, I am struggling to watch the news. The streets I drove by and the stores are I visited are all in the background of new reports of mass deaths and hospitalizations. Knowing that the people I love and care for at home do not have access to a vaccine while I am fully vaccinated is stressful. However, something that has been helping me navigate this new stress and unease of mourning with these countries I identify with, has been finding resources to support India. Supporting India allows for other countries to also mitigate damage. Looking for and reading about resources to help are crucial in turning the pandemic around back at home.  

While I am navigating my emotions this way, it is not the best method for everyone. Therefore, please make sure to keep a lookout on the spiritual house Instagram and your emails as Spiritual House will be hosting a conversation about the issues going on in these countries and about COVID next week. These conversations will allow a space of vulnerability and support through what are dark times for many countries.  

I understand that reading about this can be challenging when you do not identify with these countries. It can be challenging to grasp mourning that isn’t directly tied to you. Furthermore, while it can feel like this is not your place to act, understand that supporting these countries through donations, sharing resources and calling for awareness is more than enough and, in fact, is crucial for help during this time. You should also keep a lookout on Lawrence’s social media pages for resource lists to support and help India.  

Even though this is a testing and demanding time, by coming together in support of each other and our global backgrounds, we can help navigate through the next few weeks. A little bit of help goes a long way.