Saturday, April 25, 2020

Post - Corona Possibilities and Probabilities

Post Corona will our world regain its natural splendors?
I am no expert, but thanks to Corona, life will never be the same. Ever again. Or will it? Most of us have been holed up at home for an inordinately lengthy period. We have learned to appreciate the little things. Like the drumsticks growing in your mostly neglected vegetable patch. Precious jars of Nutella, the sweet grocery store guy kept aside for you, because your face fell when there weren’t any the last time you stopped by. Spouses and kids who help with household chores (and all it took was a little grumbling and a lot of persuasion, maybe even extortion when you threatened to dump their handheld devices in the compost pit near the veggie patch). Less demanding hours which you are free to fill with anything at all that captures your fancy. Even if it is doing nothing at all in particular. Because you can.

We appreciate the big things too. Like those who have gone out of their way to help those in need. Whether it is feeding stray dogs, using your fancy hotel’s kitchen to prepare and send out healthy meals for cops on duty, caring for the sick, or volunteering to make sure that essential items, staples reach the ones who need them the most. The fact that despite cynical predictions that India will be the worst hit during this crisis, thanks to quick thinking and judicious methods we are holding our heads above water at present. There is always the dreadful possibility that things could take a turn for the worse though. Besides life in India isn’t exactly amazing at the moment. The spectre of economic woes, unemployment, grinding poverty, starvation and mass death confronts us all. But even so, we are holding firm and we are doing it together. Even if we can't help but moan and groan or whinge and whine about how everybody else is being as stupid and useless as the government. 

Some of us are making resolutions about the beautiful, meaningful lives we are hopefully going to lead after the lockdown is lifted, while ignoring the voice in the head, truculently wondering if that will happen in the immediate future or at least in this century. A simpler, more old – fashioned lifestyle is called for we tell ourselves where we refrain from our consumerist excesses and boundless greed, even as we wonder if we should reduce our employees' salary or cancel the bonus. Perhaps we can buy a patch of land in those rural areas and take up farming, so we can be closer to nature. At the very least, we will no longer obsess over nail polish, lipstick or the perfect outfit guaranteed to make us Instagram worthy, or shell out hard – earned money on umpteen vacations around the world, so we can join queues at amusement parks or gaze at a monument in order to tweet about it.  Most of us have made a virtual pinkie promise with like-minded buddies, to always respect and care for Big Momma Nature. Perhaps we can even sit out the rat race for a bit and give something back to society because we were recently made aware of the fact that money amounts to squat if you aren’t going to be around to enjoy it. We intend to stick to these pure minded intentions. We do. For as long as the economy remains languishing in the doldrums and Coronasura stands poised with a club over our collective heads.
Will we learn? Or reduce our planet to a post apocalypse wasteland?

Too many among us are haunted by our fears though. Among other assorted worries. That this is just the prelude to an apocalypse from which there is no return unless we can mutate overnight into evolved beings with virus proof hides and invincible immune systems. That even if the improbable happens and life goes back to normal, we will revert to the old destructive ways. If not immediately, then shortly after. Polluting the environment and despoiling nature every which way we can. Buying stuff we don’t need and gorging relentlessly on the limited resources offered by the planet. And fighting with each other about everything from politics to religion and why my favourite celeb or God is superior to yours. Wait! Did we ever stop being this way? Is there hope for us to somehow metamorphose into half way decent human beings who will learn from the mistakes of the past and live right? Maybe. Maybe not.

An edited version of this piece was carried in The New Indian Express.

1 comment:

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