New Delhi Diary – June 2020

The pain of summer blues

Now that the dreaded summer month of May is gone, the capital city is no longer ‘burning’ under an intense heat wave, better known as ‘loo’. For a few days, towards the last week of May, the city witnessed a record high temperature of 47 degree Celsius, after a decade. And that placed the city as the second hottest place in the country, after Churu in Rajasthan, where the temperature was hovering around 50 degree Celsius.

What can happen under such hot conditions? Of course, there is no denying the fact that living in the city becomes hellish, and one dreads going out even for a short while to carry out daily chores. As a result, one has to compromise on the quality of food intake during the day. And that results in one slipping into an abnormal physical and psychological disposition. One hardly manages to exist without really living and enjoying life. And that has its pernicious impacts: Like one getting out of mood and not doing anything good like sticking to one’s normal routine, or reading mindfully and joyously, or listening to music and surfing TV channels. One tries to relax and take a nap, but all efforts fail due to the abnormal conditions!

Corona and new lifestyle

As if the summer pains are not enough, the lingering COVID-19 has made life quite difficult because we can’t do all the things that we love to do. This derails our lives to a point that we start feeling uneasy. And yet, there are ways to make life purposeful if you resign yourself to the new ‘normal’ ways of life. The problem arises when you expect too much of ‘goodies’ happening in your life even in these corona times! Ratan Tata says that you should be happy that you are still alive.

The worst thing that happened with me in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is that I had to suddenly cancel my summer vacation plans. All my excitement and expectations of seeing new places with cool and natural surroundings came to naught. And, with that, I could not but rue my bad luck. The ‘stay-put-wherever-you-are’ advisory haunted me for a long time. And then I tried to give ‘reasons’ to my conscious and subconscious mind that, come what may, life has to go on meaningfully and purposefully. And my ‘obedient’ mind had no option but to listen. One had to ‘restyle’ the ways of life and do what can be fruitfully done under the restrictions of lockdown. Let me tell you that life has taken a new direction with new colours and new meanings. And, what they call the ‘new normal’ is here to stay.

A philosophic narrative

What is more meaningful: Life or death? Well, one can contest that both are interdependent and one cannot exist without the other. One argument can be: If there is no life, there will be no death! And, on the other hand, if there is no death, there can’t be any birth! But then there is always a possibility that one is more significant than the other. And that depends on each individual to decide which one is more significant and meaningful.

Life may or may not be more significant than death but one can be sure that life came into existence first. Therefore, one may reach the conclusion that without life there can be no death, and hence life is more important than death. And yet, we know that life can’t overrule death! It is here that some of the philosophers argue that death is the ultimate arbitrator!

Tailpiece:

Attendant: Madam, do you want me to cut the pizza into three pieces or six pieces?

Lady: Please cut it into three pieces; I cannot eat six pieces!

By P. P. Wangchuk

P. P. Wangchuk is a New Delhi-based editor-at-large, columnist and professional speaker

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