BENGALURU: Good morning, Bangalore!
A couple of days ago, my eyes opened to a buoyant ray of sunshine desperately trying to wake me up. I wasn’t really in the brightest of moods so I shut my eyes even tighter while I turned on my side. After a while I just succumbed to that persistent ray and drew my curtains and threw open my windows. The air was crisp; the emerald foliage on the trees danced while the birds chirped and the squirrels ran up and down the jackfruit, papaya and tamarind trees, their mouths bursting with fresh fruit! It was as if nature had forgiven us.
Then why did I feel so melancholic? Because we are human beings and even if we manage to pull ourselves out of the doldrums, our fellow disconsolate will ensure that you end up feeling miserable pretty fast. Take me, for example. Surrounded by nature’s bounty, my family and friends are well and thriving, and there is the eminent exhilaration of market opening but I still felt sad. If I could borrow the lyrics of that Beatles song, Because the sky is ‘blue’, it makes me cry, I would!
I have spent the last week instilling a feeling of positivity and hope in myself and in others. I refuse to be bogged down with reams of information (and misinformation) regarding COVID-19, especially from people who are neither doctors nor healthcare professionals (but definitely need to see mental health professionals). These armchair goons and keyboard Nazis are constantly deriding and chiding responsible folk into submission with their nonsensical rhetoric.
Invariably, the statistics are lop-sided (for example, there are thousands of COVID-afflicted people dying on the streets every day), or dire warnings to ‘irresponsible’ people who dare to laugh or responsibly meet up with their ‘healthy’ friends. What is that rabid fear of keeping oneself sequestered and cloistered and then publicly shaming folks who want to ‘normalise’ their lives by meeting up with old friends and (God forbid!) shopping for ‘non-essential’ items! No one is public shaming the people who have taken a vow to remain cloistered and realistically speaking, many of us cannot monetarily afford to remain in this state of perpetual paranoia.
Social media always breeds its own set of bullies who like to lurk in the shadows of anonymity by either writing reams of material about themselves (which the other hapless cloistered ones have to read) or viciously call out folks who dare to socialise (FOMO, perhaps?) and give them their brand of hypocritical berating. If the government has lifted the lockdown and people are responsibly trying to get back to work, have a little laugh with their friends, and perhaps see a ray of light in that long dark tunnel, is it a crime? Who are these self-appointed finger-wagers to rain on your parade?
I am free, I am strong and I am smart, kept echoing in my head as I went about arranging a ‘Mad-Hatters tea party’ for a group of my closest friends I hadn’t laid eyes on for the last three months. It was in the open environs of The Oberoi, surrounded by trees and chirping birds, and with bottles of sanitisers kept at discrete intervals.
One could only hear squeals of delight as our eyes behind the masks often brimmed with tears at the sheer pleasure of seeing each other and silently acknowledging how much our world had changed. Of course, since my strict diktat was that we were not going to speak about ‘the virus,’ we merrily spoke about everything else under the sun while feasting on a fabulous repast.The emphasis was on positivity and giving a boost to businesses, jobs and the economy, as we all exchanged ideas and gamely wore fashionable masks made by our friends. We must move on responsibly, safely and courageously… We have to believe that this too has passed!