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Be hopeful, laugh: Prominent Indian-Americans share their best advise amid COVID-19 gloom

NEW YORK: From being optimistic about the future to laughing through tough times, prominent Indian-Americans, including former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, shared the best advise they received to remain hopeful and motivated in a special edition of TIME magazine as the world battles with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of its annual issue on 100 most influential people in the world, TIME asked members of its TIME 100 community for insights and perspectives on some of the challenges people all across the world are all facing in navigating the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nooyi, who had been named to the TIME 100 most influential people in 2008, said in her advise, “Yes, be nostalgic about the past. Be very realistic about the present. Educate yourself thoroughly. Be optimistic about the future. Human ingenuity is limitless.”

Comedian Hasan Minhaj, featured in 2019 TIME list, says “right after you read the news, try doing a physical activity. Do push-ups, take a walk, do 25 jumping jacks. You’re going to feel panic and anxiety; do something physical to burn it off. It’ll give you clarity.”

Former US Attorney Preet Bharara, named to the TIME 100 list in 2012, said “Someone recently told me, It’s still O.K. to laugh.’ It’s important.”

Indian-origin physician and entrepreneur Raj Panjabi, co-founder and CEO of Last Mile Health, recalled a lesson he learnt from his father as his family just arrived in North Carolina after fleeing Liberia’s civil war.

“As we rebuilt our lives in America as refugees, my father kept repeating this lesson he learned from West Africa: no condition is permanent,” he said.

Panjabi said this lesson shaped his world view.

“I fundamentally believe that we as human beings are not defined by the conditions we face, no matter how hopeless they seem we are defined by how we respond to them.”

TIME said a few months ago, not many could have predicted how quickly COVID-19 would reshape the world.

“For many people, the biggest changes seemed to happen overnight: cities shut down, jobs lost, and family and friends suddenly at risk of contracting an unfamiliar and frightening disease.”

“Futures that once seemed certain summer vacations, work anniversaries, weddings with all of your loved ones present now seem much less so,” it said.

The publication said it asked members of the TIME 100, its community of the world’s most influential people, to share the best advice they’ve ever given or received about how to stay hopeful and motivated during difficult times.

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