In the end, who will we be?

Even as wistfully tender Whatsapp messages do the rounds, talking of a recalibration, a new way of life to be adopted, the simple truth is this: the old normal has rearedits head again.

Published: 07th June 2020 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th June 2020 11:41 AM   |  A+A-

A state government bus conductor wearing a protective suit counts passengers boarding in a bus after authorities eased restrictions during the ongoing COVID 19 nationwide lockdown at Garia terminus in Kolkata Friday May 15 2020. (Photo | PTI)

So, now is a good time to reflect on how humans will be humans, always and forever. A lot of ‘normal’ activity was on a hiatus for the past few months but now the headwinds are beginning to blow. Hard.

Even as wistfully tender Whatsapp messages do the rounds, talking of a recalibration, a new way of life to be adopted, the simple truth is this: the old normal has rearedits head again. And it’s business as usual. 

Look around you. The reckless buying and hoarding graph continues to climb, only the objects of desire now are dishwashers, robot floor-cleaners… and yes, the latest iPhone too, while we are at it. Old-fashioned ‘cheating’ cases are seeing an uptick; burglaries are happening with equal and impartial frequency, on roads, at temples, a lake (yes, you read that right; we are talking encroachers in Bengaluru) and, of course, wine shops and bars. 

In Belagavi, 400 people were fined for spitting, which is an ancient Indian practice, and droplets transmission be damned. On the one hand, global gas emissions are down… for now.

On the other, the Dark Web is selling Covid ‘vaccines’.

And the advice, it’s coming in droves, the numbers in sharp  disproportion to the sense it disseminates. Sustain a Vedic lifestyle, pleads one. Drink gaumutra, urges another. Wash your hands after digital sex, says a third.

Even as newspapers run photo campaigns asking wives to send in laudatory snapshots of their husbands attending to household tasks, there’s been an uptick in calls from victims of domestic violence… and you don’t need me to specify that 99 percent of these victims are women.

Contrariwise: will you continue helping around the house after the lockdown is lifted, a survey asks men. No, say more than 60 percent of the men, frankly and fearlessly.

Hatewatch is trending, wild rumours of communal/political persuasion, blindly believed, leading to attacks everywhere.

Forget about banana bread and Dalgona coffee, child porn is the biggest draw online. Online child porn traffic has gone up in India by a whopping 95 percent.

Which means millions of pedophiles have clustered on the web, a very scary prospect. Elsewhere, child marriages, stealthily arranged and executed, are on the rise too, mostly in Bharat-which-is-not-India, as some sage once said.

Even as people are valiantly helping the migrant workers, even as people go out and feed starving strays daily, there are those who see opportunity in this calamity. Opportunity of the wrong kind, of course. The newest scam in town?

Fraudulent animal helplines which inveigle money from kind-hearted animal-lovers. Clearly, nothing is sacred, nothing is spared. Basically, it isn’t a wonderful world, all the heart-warming messages notwithstanding. It’s the same old world we were living in before that damned virus struck. 

The question du jour is: in the end, who will we be? My regretful answer: in all probability, our belligerent, heedless, pugnacious selves. So, yes, there’s a lot of gloom, a lot of foreboding too. There are lost jobs, lost livelihoods, lost indulgences, lost comfort zones. But is there a new awareness, a desire for transformation? The jury is still out on that…


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