…Or contradictions in the time of Corona.
Confession. I belong to the age of dinosaurs! Not so old as to reminisce about the freedom struggle, and World War 2 (which my parents did), but old enough to remember one short war, night curfews and blackouts, and shortages. Old enough to remember a time when gymming, pubbing, clubbing, beauty and retail therapy were not considered to be critical to one’s physical and mental health. When staying indoors as a family was not unheard of, and what to do with one’s time was never a stress-inducing problem.
It is in the last month, as they say, “the world as we know it had changed.” Coronatimes newspapers, and especially the Lifestyle and Leisure supplements reveal that yes, the world has changed, but in different ways for different people. I cannot help but think back, and chuckle a bit at the contradictions!
Then and Now…
‘Staycations’ were the trendy way to spend your holidays; but now staying at home for free becomes ‘confinement’.
People went to expensive health spas for detox stints; now have DTs at home without their sustaining substances.
School vacations were a time of simple self-devised ‘time-pass’ activities (or lack of activities); not a time of huge stress for parents as to how to keep the children “engaged”.
Summer holidays were marked by hours spent playing cards, ludo and carom with relatives of all ages; now newspapers feature pictures of this as a wonderful sign of how indoor games lead to ‘family bonding’.
‘Social distancing’ was a cause for concern and counselling, as people addicted to virtual reality could not relate to real people; now when it becomes mandated, people want to break it.
Page 3 celebrities fill pages with pictures of “doing the dishes” or “playing with baby”; while numerous stories of unseen unsung heroes who are risk their own life to save others are inconspicuous among the headliners.
People have to be taught how to cover their faces when outdoors, something the two-wheeler female riders of Ahmedabad have been adept at for years.
Now Kitchen Hacks on innovative ways to make provisions last longer, and replacements for quinoa and parsley; when generations of homemakers have learnt and practised ‘living within their means’ with some saved for a rainy day.
While some eagerly await the resumption of Swiggy and home delivery from restaurants, many middle-class housewives wake up early every day to join the voluntary cooking efforts to feed the homeless and hungry.
Glossy pictures of designers displaying their designer masks; news items of hundreds of ordinary women sewing for hours to make and distribute masks made from old clothes.
Once people had to wear masks when the sky was grey and smoggy; now everyone has to wear masks when the sky is clear and blue.
Then, health and well-being pundits urged and cajoled people to get off the couches and walk; now people are risking fines and arrests to go out for a walk.
Now we need Life Coaches to tell us how to spend our day from the time we open our eyes to shut-eye time; then people did not have time nor leisure to need such coaching, but a lot of basic common sense to guide in how to live, and thrive.
Then we scoffed at mothers and grandmothers who judiciously planned, saved and put away things that “you never know when these may help”; now we remember with nostalgia and regret (or gratitude) that ‘old ladies’, old fashioned’ advice.
SARS CoV-2 did to CO2 levels what 25 Climate Change COPs could not do!
The virus of fake news spreads much faster than the Covid-19.
With gratitude and humility for those of us who are lucky to have the wherewithal to lead the life we do.