BENGALURU: Good morning Bangalore.
The city has re-opened (a tad more cautiously this time around) and it’s a relief to see household staff returning to homes and the look of sheer delirium on the face of their employers. Our ‘men folk’ were quasi-trained during the last lockdown so the household chores were shared without too much of a fuss this time around. Everybody is demanding to see vaccination certificates. Both the employee and the employers are stringent and whoever the erring party is going to be ‘maid-less in Manhattan’. I had a vaccination drive in my building and the staff has all got at least one vaccine. Unfortunately my helper refused to take the vaccine so we had to part ways.
So it’s literally back to the grind for me, but fortunately the parlours open next week so it’s back to having pretty nails albeit with a mop in hand. Sigh! That’s the new (ab) normal for you! What really boggles the mind is that the highly ingenious human race can be so short-sighted and dense. There is such a mad rush to push this ‘spiky’ virus underfoot and go back to our old ways by tweaking the old ‘normal’ and triumphantly calling it the ‘new normal’.
People, both young and old are, thronging the streets wearing no masks or ‘pretend’ masks which are woefully inadequate with their noses sticking out obscenely from above. As Indians we lack the basic good manners of giving each other a sense of ‘space’. If there is an iota of an opening in a queue, people will immediately fill it up for you. Exactly like the twowheelers who will slip and slide into the gap between your car and the one in front of you. I was waiting in line at a prestigious hospital to get my second shot of the vaccine. I was desperately trying to make eye contact with the gentleman whose face was six inches away from the receptionist who was making out his bill.
I maintained a healthy three-feet gap from the ‘in your face offender’ but as I stood there I was surprised to see that three people had neatly slid into the gap I left! When will we ever learn! The only ‘normal’ that we will know now is masking up and maintaining a physical distance. Seriously! Is that so difficult to follow? A strange malady seems to have overtaken us during this lockdown. The less we have, the more we want to spend, and on useless things mind you. Hotels and restaurants have contacted their PRs and are busy doling out food offerings to the already well-fed in the hopes that they will get publicity and the internet is choc-a-bloc with offers on gizmos and gadgets.
I have ordered a plastic shield (useless, as it offers no protection), a reversible umbrella, various magic peelers and shredders (my food processor is faster) and an electronic foot scraper (which I have used twice and is woefully ineffective). Ordering in food, desserts and exotic veggies somehow feel justified. Small sums of money are dangerously converting into substantial payouts. The pages on the internet that garner maximum traction are the ones advertising and selling branded items.
I have checked with my other girl-friends and they too sheepishly agree! Suddenly, my mature and sensible brain is craving an ordinary canvas belt with a fancy logo that costs a bomb, shoes with stilettos that can commit a murder (who cares as long as the soles are red!), fancy bags with a price-tag that rivals a deposit on a small home, unused shoes, clothes and accessories. What is wrong with me? All dressed up with no place to go! I think we all fall into this trap of wanting to be ‘normal’ by clutching on to the inane. A cruel reminder, that as humanbeings, we are more attached to our possessions than one another.