Social Distancing : A Social Review
Now a days on vacation mode, the kids are asked to stay away from friends they want to play with and all the media is focusing is on the negative, the fear which is feeding on our minds 24X7. For those of us who don’t have cable ,there is still WhatsApp forwards of the ugly images of COVID devouring our bandwidth and mind space, both with equal fervour.
Subbalakshmi’s Suprabhatam has been replaced with never-ending spools of COVID fear diving right into our psyche and morning space. The psychosis of fear about which nation caused it and which nation suffers – the freehold of the media- is now entering our private space. Our bedrooms and our psyche in general.
Yes, dining table conversations have begun to last loggers simply because of all the family members present in a house, but is the news junkie in the family ready to have a non-COVID conversation? Is the teenager with the headphones blaring into his head (vacations, mom- just chill) ready to help with those in need? Is the elder in the family (who’s also now addicted to non-standardized YouTube content 24X7) willing to have a non-COVID conversation? The answer is mostly no than yes in most households.
Diseases Years Ago:-
It’s not many decades ago that measles / Chicken pox or Amme (as it was called in Kannada) was the star performer in most Summer Vacations. What started with one family / child used to spread quicker than the air blowing through those arid, listless summers. When neem leaves made more sense than mangoes, when cooped up in a dark(Ish) kind of rooms with old copies of Amar Chitra Katha made more sense than fighting with your sibling for that last piece of Besan Ladoo that Ajji (grand mom) had made. But this is a good kind of fear. Because its physical, and goes away (unlike the COVID) with a expiry date of exactly 7-10 days, give or take a few ! And as it affected kids, they forgot as soon as they were rid of it. and off they went to play Gully Cricket, till they were drenched in sweat and came back home only to wash up and eat lunch/ dinner and continue playing again. No gadgets ever gave that sense of happiness (or freedom).
What WAS Ugly was a different kind of Social distancing – a pronounced, in-your-face, something that would leave scars through your growing up years. The Social ostracism (see, we didn’t have fancy words then, we simply called it “Social Neglect”). This happened to families without regular source of income, where they were not “at-par” with the rest of the siblings or cousins. Tch, tch No bank balance, no own-house (Renting was considered “Poor”) and heck, not even a LIC policy !! The distance that kids from these kind of backgrounds was not social – it was emotional. Neither death or births were informed to them for years (hey, they don’t even have a landline telephone!!) and neither were social events for them. In the event you actually made it to these social events, you could see eyes of contempt, indifference and spite all rolled into one.
And When Covid Came:-
When the tide of course turned (it always does, right?, the same kids and their parents got a standing ovation “for becoming what they have in the face of hardship”. Couldn’t the same kids been hugged , been kissed good night like their own? Couldn’t these kids been sponsored a few thousand rupees to be taken for a vacation, a decent education, an ice cream once in a way. Did these kids (and the family) deserve any of it at that point?
And so the tide turns.
Just the way COVID has overturned our lives. What was taken for granted- socially acceptable status, reckless purchases, living off Credit Cards, vacations (and parents) taken for granted, 4 gourmet meals in a day, endless supply of rations (and love), binge-spending before you can earn a penny, scoffing at someone who said you need to save for a rainy day : this and more has taken a full turn today.
Social Distancing: A Social Review
Humanity is staring at the things around us, not knowing what hit us worse – the virus or the uncertainty of it all !! When would all this whoosh away like a bad dream? We are repairing our lives – one step at a time. Socially, we are awash with the fact that quality family time is important, that WhatsApp can only pride itself on forwards and motivational quotes, but it’s the family that keeps you safe inside the house.