New Delhi Diary – May 2020
The Corona blues
Covid-19, the dreaded virus, has left us all standing and staring, quite helplessly! It has put us into a cocooned lifestyle that we have never experienced before. To steal Philosopher David E Cooper’s phrase, we are all “condemned to freedom.” Of course, what he means is ‘freedom of a different kind’, somewhat like the one we are making do with these days. And, as a result, our freedom to do many things has been drastically curtailed.
Much as I hate this new lifestyle, like most of you, one finds oneself getting quickly used to this ‘new normal’ life. So much so that, at times, one enjoys the ‘freedom’ to be ‘all alone’ and ‘sit within’ physically as well as mentally!
This freedom, the freedom to train oneself mentally, socially and physically has given us a new perspective to a course of life that has more thorns than roses. Maybe, we enjoyed and exploited the roses too much, to the point of being needlessly and unacceptably greedy. That may explain why nature has lost its endurance to withstand our prolonged and repeated assaults, and had to declare loud and clear: Thus far and no more! We human beings never learn. Maybe we don’t even try to learn the lessons of life until we are forced to, and we are left with no alternative but to admit and submit to the dictates of nature to live sensibly and harmoniously.
We have learnt the lesson now the hard way that if we don’t mend our ways, we are doomed. But Mother Nature is very kind and helpful. She will give us one more chance to change and make our lives more harmonious and holistic.
Meanwhile, these ‘Corona days’ have given us many interesting tit-bits. The media zealots have come out with new words like ‘infodemic’ and ‘covidiots’. Infodemic refers to an excessive bombardment of information, particularly on social media, irrespective of being true or false. Covidiots is an expression of wrath against those who indulge in rumour-mongering and in giving out unsubstantiated advice and information about COVID-19. A friend and TV personality says that in such cases one should stop calling it false news. He says, ‘false’ can’t be ‘news’ and that ‘news’ can’t be ‘false’. He adds, when it is false one should just call it ‘false content’ and not ‘false news’!
Light on the other side
A man in Australia loses his job because his employers had to shut down their factory soon after the COVID-19 lockdown. For several days, he and his family were severely stressed and did not know what to do. But, The Mirror reports that the man’s bad days did not last very long. A week or so after losing his job, he got to learn that he was the lucky winner of the AUD 4.8 million lottery that is equivalent to about INR 23.25 crore.
His joy knew no bounds, and now, he is, as he says, again at a loss as to how to go about life with his big bounty. This, in a way, tells us that one need not worry much about changes in life because life has to be ‘dynamic’, and any change should be accepted as a chance to do better, and that there is light, always, on the other side of the tunnel.
The city is already in the midst of the peak summer months. The month of May is usually the severest month in terms of fiery heat that sometimes touches 44 degrees Celsius. The world within and outside your house becomes a hot chamber wherein you feel that your body system is about to ignite! Now, that might be a slight exaggeration but still useful to express the difficulties one faces.
That is not all as everything has a brighter side. For me, the brighter side is that these weather conditions force you to retreat to the hills, particularly to places one has never visited. As a tourist, I always make it a point to never go back to a place for the next 10 years. It must always be a new tourist destination. And that is always rewarding. You get to know things that you would never discover in books or through TV.
Teacher: What do all political parties have in common?
Student: Sir, our hard-earned money!
By P. P. Wangchuk
P. P. Wangchuk is a New Delhi-based editor-at-large, columnist and professional speaker