Friday, April 03, 2020

A New Reality

Are we surviving Corona by feeding our addiction for the darkverse?

How many days have elapsed since the lockdown began? What is today’s date? How many days to go before a semblance of normalcy is restored? The weirdest thing is I don’t know or even care all that much anymore. In fact, for the first time in forever, I am not wearing a watch. Given the fact that a short while ago (though it feels like a long time ago), my life was ruled by a rigid schedule with the watch and calendar (where all my commitments were carefully marked) acting as enforcers, it is strange to have the days unwind with all the urgency of a slumbering sloth. In the good old days of yore, the sooner I took care of something demanding and time – consuming, there would be momentary relief and mild satisfaction, but the very next second, there would be something else I needed to work on.

Not much has changed and yet, everything has. There are still tons of things that need to be taken care of and yet, I no longer feel like I am on a treadmill with the speed set to impossible. Now it just feels like I am wading through a sweet and sour syrup. So I am counting that as a plus or a minus. But I am also wondering if going forth, abnormal will be the new normal. Having no choice but to remain locked away from the outside world, what if we lose all inclination to leave the illusory safety of our homes, especially once Amazon and Swiggy start delivering again and we have everything we will ever need a click away?

Can we even begin to contemplate a life independent of the internet?? After all, the only thing that is keeping us sane in the middle of a pandemic is the sickly sweet, sticky World Wide Web we have allowed ourselves to become hopelessly entangled and entrapped in, suckered in by its enchanting ways.

Forget surviving Corona, the real question is whether we can survive without the internet and its infinite pleasures… that marvellously murky space where there is everything for everybody. In a bid to foolishly persuade myself into thinking that I am not addicted to the internet, I try to incorporate a little old fashioned into my routine like reading, cooking and Yoga. And let us not forget the ever present chores. In addition to that, every evening, for an hour or so, the kids and I pry ourselves away from our umpteen gadgets evincing varying levels of reluctance for story – telling sessions. I just finished narrating the Mahabharata to them today, and the entire thing has been great, though the daughters had trouble keeping the names of the characters straight, forcing me to remember the plot of Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (how great is Allu Arjun in that entertainer?) which involved swapped babies.

But the thing is, once our brief sojourn into the glorious past is over and done with, ever so satisfying as it is, we go right back to surfing the web or watching shows and in my case, writing about it for my blog. Perhaps, therein lies the truth. Maybe, the day is not far off, when we will willingly step away from the real world and its messy issues featuring viruses, communalism, economic meltdowns, wars, etc. into a virtual nirvana where everything seems brighter, more beautiful and infinitely more stimulating. It is not even a scary thought is it? The Matrix was a dystopian futuristic fantasy when it came out decades ago, yet nowadays it is starting to feel like the only world we want to be a part off…

But Matrix or no, tomorrow the daughters and I travel to more exotic shores, because junior wants to explore the Thousand and One Arabian Nights and I am more than happy to oblige. As the chap whose first name was Agent according to Tony Stark, and who got killed off in the Marvelverse says, sometimes we might need a ‘little old fashioned’ in a rapidly changing world. And hope it is enough for whatever lies ahead.

PS: I am taking a break from horror movies and joining the daughters in exploring the delights of the extended Marvelverse. They love Aquaman too but who doesn’t? That Jason Momoa is too dreamy for words…
PPS: I recorded a video for #IRecommend with #ETimes, mentioning some good reads for the #lockdown. It was fun though it felt weird to wear something that wasn’t a fugly tee or harem pants which I consider the only suitable couture in the times of Corona.You can watch it here.

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