One year since lockdown: 75 quotes from India’s COVID-19 struggle

With COVID-19 vaccines accelerating hopes of recovery, this compilation of quotes highlights the need of the hour: compliance, vigilance, and resilience.
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Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a regular feature from YourStory Media, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles. This special compilation captures quotes from one full year of YourStory’s coverage of the pandemic crisis. Share these quotes with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

We have clustered the past year of quotes into nine categories: vaccination, gender impacts, mindset and skillsets, India outlook, future of work, digital opportunity, new beginnings, creative responses, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

YourStory thanks the healthcare community and frontline workers for all their sacrifices in ensuring public safety and wellness, as well as those reinventing their organisations for a successful future and a better world.

Vaccination and healthcare

The headwinds emanating from COVID-19 related challenges are unlikely to go away till mass vaccination becomes a reality. - Sunil Kumar Sinha, India Ratings and Research

Improved trust in the vaccine development and approval process, as well as overall trust in the government health systems, may play an important role in reducing vaccine hesitancy. - NCAER

Today, technology breakthroughs are driving mass vaccination programmes, workforce transformation, and flexibility. - Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup

Covering the cost of vaccination for our employees and their dependent family members is a small gesture from the organisation to express our gratitude to our employees. - Vinay Razdan, HDFC Bank

The challenge in front of us is ‘can we save every life currently at threat by the virus’. - Dr Vishal Rao, HCG Cancer Centre

In the post-COVID-19 world, managing our mental health is no longer a medical issue, but a part of everyone’s daily routine. - Moez Kaderali, Google

Unfortunately, it took a pandemic for immunity to become a buzzword. - Luke Coutinho

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the overall consumer awareness and demand for health insurance and term life insurance have shot up. - Dhirendra Mahyavanshi, Turtlemint

Designer masks are going to be a big trend as masks have become an integral part of our lives. - Ameet Panchal, Ethnicity

Gender impacts and inclusion

Gender inequality at work and added domestic responsibilities amid the pandemic have collectively made women's jobs more vulnerable at this time. - Ruchee Anand, LinkedIn

The steady declining percentage of women in the workforce over the last 15 years has been exacerbated by the pandemic and has dipped below 20 percent. - Madhura DasGupta Sinha, Aspire For Her

Post COVID-19, it is both a moral, societal and economic imperative to take immediate action to counter the pandemic’s gender-regressive effects. - Jacqueline Fuller, Google.org

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the lives of people with disabilities. Visually impaired persons cannot avoid touch and cannot maintain physical distancing in their true sense. - Prashant Ranjan Verma, NAB

Mindset and skillsets

This catastrophic historical event has certainly validated the power of human ingenuity and how innovation can thrive even in uncertain times. - Christopher Abraham, SPJSGM

The future belongs to those who look beyond the pressure to slash jobs, capture value and retreat, and instead choose to pursue sustainable value creation. - Anushka Iyer, Wiggles.in

As we prepare for a post-COVID world, we mustn’t forget the lessons learned, that we maintain the work-life balance, the agility and continue not taking things for granted. - Namita Thapar, Emcure Pharmaceuticals

We have to be willing to listen. Customer needs and products can change a lot. COVID-19 is an example of how fluid one should be. - Jessica Colaço, Brave

Since COVID-19, consumers show a rising consciousness towards climate change, sustainable transportation, and circular economy. - Rohit Kumar, Customized Energy Solutions

During this pandemic, storytelling has taken the popular marketing strategy tagline “humanise your brand” to the next level. - Miri Rodriguez, ‘Brand Storytelling’

Reskilling has become the need of the hour. Everyone has to develop new skills as learning is the mantra for survival. - Rishikesh Kumar, Xtraliving

India outlook

India's GDP was hit by COVID-19, the highest across major economies. - Goldman Sachs

As India looks to recover from the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, there is more need than ever to rebuild in a just and resilient manner. - Ruchika Singh, WRI India

The pandemic has fast-tracked the growth of the Indian medtech industry. - Nikhil Kurele, Nocca Robotics

Agritech has been instrumental in helping India manage disruptions caused by the management of COVID-19. - Jinesh Shah, Omnivore

OTT platforms have definitely been a huge saviour for Bollywood in this critical period when theatres were shut. - Deepshikha Deshmukh, 'Bellbottom'

While gaming and gamification within products always existed, COVID-19 has acted as an accelerant. - Rajinder Balaraman, Matrix Partners India

Things have changed since the lockdown. Tier-II cities are showing a growing acceptance of technology and its use in their daily lives. - Able Joseph, Aisle

Future of work

The pandemic accelerated the hybrid workforce trend by several years. This is the new normal and nobody's likely to go back. - Rahul Bhargava, InCred

We foresee a hybrid model, where the same event will be held virtually and physically, simultaneously. - Vaibhav Jain, Hubilo

Don’t be too stiff about bringing employees back to the office when things improve. Address the human side, and let them learn new things or take on new responsibilities. - Rishi Kapoor, MetLife Global Operations

The role of the office is going to change. It’s not going to be a place that you go in to work, but it needs to be a place where you come to really connect with people. - Krish Shankar, Infosys

Teams and managers would need to ensure that the energy and morale stay high as remote work will continue well into 2021. - Abhinav Jain, Shop 101

The cracks of work-from-home are now beginning to show. Not enough space for work and family, blurred boundaries of personal and professional space are leading to signs of reduced productivity and fatigue. - Robin Chhabra, Dextrus

The new normal will be about work-life integration more than work-life balance. - Shilpa Vaid, Prione Group

Digital opportunity

2020 demonstrated that technology is the differentiator between simply surviving and actually thriving. - Ravi Chhabria, NetApp India

Digital solutions that were ‘should have’ in the pre-COVID-19 era have become a ‘must-have’. - Sachin Bajaj, HCL Technologies

Since the coronavirus outbreak, AI has been adopted for automated healthcare services, laboratory drug discovery, prediction, alerts, screening, and faster diagnosis. - Karan Chopra, Hospido

Ecommerce through the pandemic has exploded across the globe, and in many ways, it has condensed multiple years of growth into one. - Rajinder Balaraman, Matrix Partners India

During the pandemic, we saw first-hand, how location-based intelligence and actions like geofencing became important to tackle the spread of the virus and manage medical resources. - Rajit Bhattacharya, Data Sutram

Helping companies with tools that make it easier to do business and get their expenses under control is a huge opportunity globally, especially in the post-COVID world. - Gustaf Alstromer, Y Combinator

The pandemic has solidified opportunities in the contactless payments space. - Seshadri Kulkarni, DigitSecure

More and more travellers are exploring local hidden gems resulting in a boost in domestic travel. - Yatish Jain, OYO

We also witnessed cybercriminals using relief efforts and public health information as spam lures, including targeted attacks on critical components of the vaccine supply chain. -  Sudeep Das, IBM

With education moving online, children are increasingly finding it hard to carve out their playtime. - Mitesh Shah, IPV

New beginnings

We are foreseeing times that would divide human history into two eras - the world before the COVID-19 outbreak and one that survived it. - Gautam Adani

The pandemic called for drastic changes not only in the way we live, but forced society into introspection, questioning current scenarios, and planning fresh beginnings. - Ishana Girish, Chitra Santhe

We have to change from being nationalists to being international. - David Attenborough

The power of togetherness is the greatest power of all. - Iti Rawat, WEFT

The time has come to give back to humanity. - Amballika Tripathi, Sakriya Centre for Emotional Wellness

The universe is sending us a message: that if we mess with nature, there is a price we all have to pay. - Alia Bhatt, Ed-a-Mamma

Creativity and the arts

Artists realised that they all need to come together, and the only way to do that is by helping each other and sharing the information. - Soumini Sridhara Paul, Hungama Artist Aloud

With the forced slowing down we have all experienced in the last few months, the value of art as a balm for the spirit has really come to the fore. - Nupur Dalmia, Gallery Ark

When we get through this crisis, new ideas will flow and it will give a new discourse to the world of art. - Tiarma Sirait, Chitra Santhe

Native artisans have suffered hugely during the pandemic and their recovery is perhaps the toughest. - Sriram Sabhapathy, LastBench

The biggest advantage of online exhibitions is that distance does not matter. - Banani Kundu, Chitra Santhe

The scale at which the entire nation was pushed by the pandemic brought in the unforeseen need for fundraising activities. - Anoj Viswanathan, Milaap

Leadership and entrepreneurship

Leaders are expected to become messengers of hope in these difficult times through their words, demeanour, and sense of purpose. - Sunil Kant Munjal, Hero Enterprise

The vision and courage of leaders show up in times of crisis. - Manoj Kohli, Softbank India

It’s under intense pressure that diamonds are formed, and we’ll see more and more of that happening in the near future. - Anisha Singh, She Capital

A crisis is a great time to show your statesmanship, commitment, and character. This is the time to contribute to nation-building. - Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Flipkart

Social entrepreneurship has been bubbling in the last few years, and its benefits are being recognised. However, the pandemic has brought it to the forefront. - Ratna Mehta, Wadhwani Foundation

Incubators must learn from the pandemic-induced upheavals and build their own resilience to support, launch, and grow robust startups. - Ajay Batra, Wadhwani Foundation

It’s safe to say that the next normal is really cross-border innovation. - Smita Malipatil, IndiVillage

What stands out singularly is how startup agility suddenly became relevant more than ever before, and perhaps the most important growth driver. - Madhurima Agarwal, NetApp Excellerator

Despite the global challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing a steady influx of aspiring Indian entrepreneurs keen to build their dream tech startups. - Esha Tiwary, Entrepreneur First

The bigger the crisis, sometimes the bolder the changes that are needed. - Vani Kola, Kalaari Capital

The coronavirus crisis is a catalyst for entrepreneurship. Throughout human history, crises have been pivotal in developing our societies. - Geetha Ramamurthy, GiGa Innovation Centre

The road ahead

The greatest lesson this pandemic has taught everyone, even the sceptics, is that scientific discovery is crucial to human flourishing. - Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Biocon

COVID-19 has taught us all one thing, and that is being comfortable with being uncomfortable. - Debjani Ghosh, NASSCOM

It seems important to be prepared and planned when similar outbreaks arise in the future. - Anand Daniel, Accel Partners

In good times, people forget the bad. And in bad times, people forget the good. Memories are very short. - Ashish Hemrajani, BookMyShow

We have come across a reservoir of beautiful stories of inspiration, of fighting back, of generosity, and of kindness. - Puja Marwaha, CRY

Many have lost their lives, their loved ones and may also have lost their jobs. Know your privilege and be grateful for it. - ElsaMarie D’Silva, Safecity

Human-centred design is now humanity-centred design. - Kiran Khalap, chlorophyll

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

Edited by Suman Singh

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