The year 2020-21 is a completely different story – because of the coronavirus outbreak. All these cancellations, limitations and uncertainties due to coronavirus or the second wave are actually redefining the ways people consume time, and the ways they talk about it. In the early stage of Covid-19, leaders and citizens responded with messages to “stay calm”, “get on with life”, “ignore the risk”, and “don’t exaggerate”. People fear infection, they fear for their lives and for the lives of their families. But for how long can people stay home? It’s time we get ready for the next innings.
For me personally at least and millions of fans around the world, this line, ‘the show must go on’ was immortalized by the famous English rock band Queen’s song of the same name. The song was written by the band, led by Brian May, to give expression to the tragic phase in the life of its lead vocalist Freddie Mercury, arguably one of the best vocalists ever of all time. The band knew Mercury was soon dying of HIV/AIDS, at a time when the disease was little known about and little research existed on it. When the song was recorded in 1990, Mercury was so ill that he could hardly stand and Brian May, the lead guitarist confessed later to the media that he had real concerns as to whether the song could be recorded at all. He said he believed Mercury had no physical ability left in him to finish the song. But, Freddie Mercury, being one of a kind artist that he was, not only finished the song but did it with such élan and finesse that he proved to the world once again what an exceptionally gifted singer he was. If anyone who is not privy to the story behind the song listened to it today, the listener would not even get a whiff of tiredness or weakness or sadness in the song. It was sung with such gusto and mastery; the listener would never have imagined the tragic story behind the song and that the man was soon to die. But he loved what he did, to sing and sing he did with such joy and energy even in the face of his impending death. I would advise all to listen to the song for themselves to really understand my point.
The phrase ‘the show must go on’, it is said originated from the circus and was used by the ringmaster to command the show to go on despite some mistakes in the performance to keep the audience calm and to give them the impression everything was fine. Therefore, as originally intended the message is simple and clear even now during this most difficult coronavirus pandemic. We soldier on with courage and strength despite all the gloom of death and sickness surrounding us. We just have to keep doing our duties as students, teachers, engineers, doctors, government officials etc. We cannot complain about the lack of this and that but instead find ways to find a workaround to our problems. In
times of tragedy, we get the opportunity to discover our true selves. How we behave and conduct ourselves during the most difficult times reveal our true colours. Therefore, drawing from the example of the great Freddie Mercury, put your best foot forward during this pandemic even in the face of death. Do what you do best and relish it in the face of the greatest adversity. Do not try to publicize to the world your problems and whine about them. Instead, no matter how difficult the circumstances just shout out and sing, THE SHOW MUST GO ON!
Fr. Hans Igness SDB, (MA, B.Ed, M.Ed & Research Scholar), is Principal, Don Bosco Hr. Sec. School, Imphal