[Year in Review 2021] Lives, livelihood, lifestyle – 60 quotes of the year from India’s COVID-19 struggle

In this compilation, we present thought-provoking quotes from our articles of 2021 that frame India’s battle with the coronavirus pandemic.
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Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a weekly feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles of this past week. This special series of compilations focuses on India’s COVID-19 struggle (see last week’s post here). Share these quotes and excerpts with your networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

India went into national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 24, 2020. Today, despite multiple waves of the pandemic, signs of hope with the vaccine are emerging. But that is no excuse to let our guard down, and we must continue to follow safe practices.

We have divided this year’s quotes compilation into nine categories: Pandemic shock, Health, Vaccination, Digital transformation, Innovation, Organisational leadership, Skilling, Gratitude, and Recovery.

See last year’s quotes compilation on pandemic resilience here, as well as compilation of quotes on Crisis Management and our Pivot and Persist section for resilience stories.

YourStory thanks the healthcare community and frontline workers for all their sacrifices in ensuring public safety and wellness, as well as all those reinventing their organisations for a successful future and a better world. We wish all entrepreneurs and our readers a Happy (and safe) Holiday Season and Happy New Year ahead!

Pandemic shock

The pandemic tried and tested us as human beings. Nobody had expected to be locked up for one-and-a-half years. - Abhishek Kapoor, 'Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui'

The pandemic demanded everyone to be sensitive and fight together for the greater good. - Sahil Chopra, iCubesWire

To say that the worst is over will not be fair because we have seen in other nations there have been more than two waves. - COVID Task Force chief V K Paul

Millions of Indians have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth have been hit harder than adults (25 and older) in the immediate crisis and risk bearing higher longer-term economic and social costs. - National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)

The need to make hygienic and homely food accessible to the masses is more urgent now than ever before. - Vaibbhav Arora, Bhojan Tech

COVID-19 has become the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to women’s exclusion from the labour force. - Mitali Nikore, Nikore Associates

The pandemic is going to have a disproportionate impact on the mental and sexual wellbeing of teenagers. - Premanshu Singh, Paytm Insurance

The pandemic has pushed people to question many of society’s inequalities and find ways to create a better life for everyone. - Kamal Dutta, Skillsoft

The music festival sector was the first to be shut down, and the last to resume. - Sonya Mazumdar, EarthSync

The pandemic has further highlighted the need for continued action in addressing environmental pollution. - Sanjay Rai Sherpuriya, Rai Corporation

Health and healthcare

During the pandemic, there was not only physical burnout for doctors due to the workload but also mental distress being surrounded by suffering patients. The fear and grief of losing the battle of saving lives affect the mental well-being of doctors. - Dr Srinivasa Prasad B V, Fortis Hospital

The stress about the COVID pandemic impacted everyone differently. We must understand how innately our mind is linked to our body and how any effect on our mental health will directly or indirectly impact our physical health and vice versa. - Khushboo Thakker Garodia

To have a dignified life is a basic human right, and so is having a dignified death. - Akshaya, Here I Am Last Rites and Funeral Squad

The creation of integrated digital health infrastructure in the country had become all the more crucial after the COVID-19 outbreak. - Saurabh Arora, Lybrate

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

Diagnostics will certainly remain a major focus in the coming months and years -- both COVID and non-COVID. - Gauri Agarwal, Genestrings Diagnostics Centre

Babycare has always been a challenge. The pandemic only made it more challenging for new parents. - Mike Smith, Footwork

No one should ever have to choose between their health and their savings. - Mayank Banerjee, Matilde Giglio, and Alessandro Davide Ialongo, Even

With schools shut due to COVID-19, students’ progress has fallen sharply. This cumulative loss of learning in children will invariably have a critical impact on their future. - Manan Khurma, Cuemath

As the pandemic continues, people have become more heedful towards their well-being and there is a need for sustainable personalised wellness. - VVSN Raju, SucSEED Indovation Fund

Vaccination

Achieving universal vaccination at the earliest, is the only long-term solution to the COVID-19 pandemic and its evolving variants. - Sandeep Chachra, ActionAid India

Vaccine partnerships are the only way to overcome the pandemic. - Kirill Dmitriev, RDIF

If you are not getting vaccinated, then you are becoming a liability on the nation. - Ritesh Malik, Innov8 Coworking

Pandemic fatigue is not an excuse to not take precautions. - R Kishore Kumar, Cloudnine

Digital transformation

During COVID, when the chips were down, it is the chipsets that kept us going. - Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Jio

COVID-19 became the biggest push for digitisation. - Anand Bang, TMF

During the pandemic, we saw a massive adoption of digital channels, which became the primary engagement model. - Tamer Shabani, Microsoft

The pandemic played the role of a catapult for us. - Ajai Thandi, Sleepy Owl

COVID-19 triggered the need for a digital presence now more than ever. - Richa Bajpai, Campus Fund

Even after the pandemic is over, the technology will continue to play a pivotal role in education segment – both for learners and educators. - Ketan Gala, Navneet Education

Innovation

While the pandemic surely took a toll, Indian startups have managed to somehow navigate through it encouragingly. In fact, several new startups and business models scaled during the pandemic. - Sourjyendu Medda, DealShare

During the COVID-19 pandemic, VC investors are evincing interest in startups across themes such as ecommerce, social media and social networking, food delivery, edtech, and digital payments. - Aurojyoti Bose, GlobalData

The pandemic has catalysed behaviour change among consumers, merchants, and institutions that will drive the fintech sector. - Kunal Shah, CRED

Technology can help augment the ability of healthcare providers manifold. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology across patients and providers. - Vikas Chauhan, HexaHealth

Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the D2C business model created a win-win situation for sellers and buyers. - Yash Jain, NimbusPost

We have failed to understand that better technology is not a substitute for a sense of connectedness. - Rinkal Shukla, KANDOR

Organisational leadership

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 biggest self-appraisal question for leaders is ‘What am I doing to build a culture of trust and loyalty in the virtual world?’ - Prajeet Budhale, Fourth Quadrant

A certain amount of vulnerability is always especially crucial for all leaders, but particularly during a pandemic - to be kind to yourself and your team. - Wendy Johnstone, Zendesk

The pandemic taught companies an essential lesson, that is, preparation is key to dynamism. Every company must be prepared for a scalable and effective emergency plan that might help prevent business interruptions and staff misunderstanding during any crisis. - Rishi Das, IndiQube

The future belongs to those companies who take care of the health and wellness of their employees. - Paneesh Rao, Mindtree

The pandemic has been a great teacher. We grew better at listening, not assuming that everyone’s realities are the same, and focusing on things that truly mattered above all. - Mankiran Chowhan, SAP Concur

Workforce and skilling

The new normal is going to require everyone to inculcate different skills and practise new behaviours. - Shreyasi Singh, Harappa

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed not only the skills needed to be successful in the new economy, but also how those skills are imparted. - Manish Maheshwari, Twitter

Skills will be the new currency in the post-pandemic world. - Ahmed Mazhari, Microsoft Asia

With the pandemic widening the skill gaps, there is renewed urgency for large-scale reskilling efforts. - Raghav Gupta, Coursera

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

Gratitude

Practice learning the art of being thankful for what you have. - Sapna Bangar

There are small victories everyday, and inspiration to draw from so many of such winners. - Manisha Kumar, Columbia Asia

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

As we begin to imagine the pre-requisites of a post-pandemic world needs, we have an opportunity to re-build the places where we live, work and play, as more accessible and more inclusive for the future. - Shilpa Sinha, Hinduja Global Solutions

It is not possible to be emotionally detached. Being empathetic and emotional makes much good happen in this world. Please be moved by it. - Azim Premji, Azim Premji Foundation

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

Recovery

The COVID times propelled many of us in the reboot mode when we were made to re-calibrate our priorities. - Anubha Prasad, Karekeba Ventures

Such crises could happen over and over again, but we shouldn’t lose hope. - Sarbani Chatterjee, Maitree Utsav

There is nothing bigger than the power of collective action. - Sanjana Sanghi

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

Instead of looking at the changes we are faced with, we should look at the situation as the new landscape or a new playing field. - Ratan Tata

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).

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