Malavika’s Mumbaistan: the status quo? | Bombay News


‘Some people smell the rain. Others get wet.

How easy it is to forget: washing, scrubbing, rubbing your hands, again and again, “outside, outside, damn it”; disinfectant groceries, hard earned groceries, everyday staples, obtained through the collective efforts and resources of an entire family, as if they were jewelry; rub and wipe vegetables over and over again, until all flavor escapes, then leave them outside your door until they are made “safe” for consumption; this horrible shaking sequence, smuggled out of Wuhan, of a wind-beaten ambulance, crossing a deserted road delivering medicine and food to the sick. Next, the interior of a tiny house in which a young husband, fortified with PPE (personal protective equipment) as if he was going to fight, or an astronaut in space, trying to take care of his wife dying, which sits below a pile of blankets and behind a padded door; news of hospitals overwhelmed with patients and short of medical supplies; rumors circulating about the colony or building currently under quarantine; endless queues outside supply stores; that crazy moment where we stood there thinking it would help one way or another, then those endless lines of heartbreaking migrants dragging their tragedy across the Indian landscape…. do you remember those days? When silence, despair and anxiety seemed to be the only companions and where the simple act of kissing a loved one or meeting a sick relative was fraught with dangers and dystopian fears? Do you remember feeling trapped in a long dark tunnel with no light in sight at the other end?

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It’s just a popular meme, among the millions who roam the planet on social media platforms on a daily basis, but like others of its genre, it carries a certain zeitgeist. This one has two swarthy men ready to have a drink in a bar. “What’s up brother?” man number one asks man number two. “Awesome,” he replies, adding, “I just took my first shot and I’m waiting for the second.” “Covishield or Covaxin? The first man asks. “Tequila” answers the second, facing poker.

Only a popular meme, but one that seems to reflect today’s reality. Because, looking around at how things are in the city and in parts of the world that are starting to open up and go back to normal – or the new normal – it seems like a collective cavalier amnesia has taken place. settled on many people on the fact that things weren’t too long ago.

Indeed, looking around, it often seems like a lot of people have come out of the pandemic, determined to pretend it never happened and it’s back to business – almost with vengeance.

And why not, you will tell me. After all, so much has been lost during these months of forced hibernation and so much has to be redeemed – from struggling careers and businesses – to wasted time with family and friends, and therefore, who will really blame the people for their chance to revive their fortunes and festivities? After all, only the very naive would expect the post-pandemic world to produce scholars and saints, or a changed species … responsible, mature, and conscientious.

But while survivor guilt is as pernicious as brassy buoyancy, and no one is forced to don sackcloth and ashes, for the rest of the time it would be a shame if some of the lessons we learned during these long hours of isolation are wasted. , lessons such as humility, gratitude, kindness and compassion and an appreciation for simplicity, inclusiveness and our shared humanity.

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Last month the world witnessed how it took 20 years after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center to start painfully, gradually, to come to terms with the tragedy, through the prism of distance and time.

If it took two decades to come up with any semblance of a cure for a tragedy of this proportion, how long before people dealt with something on the scale of a pandemic that has engulfed the entire planet – rich and rich? poor, powerful and weak, first world and the third? A phenomenon that has stopped midair planes, killed millions around the world, left the planet’s economy to run on empty and desperate tanks, and disrupted life as we knew it. It may take many lifetimes. Which might explain why just a few months into the second wave, it seems that many have forgotten how low things have fallen and how far we have come …

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Looking around as things begin to return to normal, it seems that while there are those who have come out of these difficult months with new wisdom and a new appreciation for life, the pandemic has also exacerbated cynicism and brutality in others, almost as well as once the pandemic tidal wave recedes, it pulls people’s outer garments in its wake, exposing them for who and what they really are. As if these months spent in survival mode had generated an impulse “the dog eats dog”, “do or die”, “the devil may care”. Now the brazen seem to be braver, the cunning more gripping, and the schemers even more Machiavellian.

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So, after months of isolation and loneliness, how do you negotiate in a world that is starting to open up and often seems to have learned nothing at all? With extreme caution, I would say.

Do you feel uncomfortable with the pace of things opening up? Do you have concerns about certain activities? Are you uncomfortable with the things people say or do? Respect those feelings. Take a step back and try to understand why you are feeling this way.

Because just as the heavy weight of the pandemic seems to have increased the innate characteristics of people, making some even more heinous and pitiful, in many others it has amplified their awareness and sensitivity not only to beauty and beauty. generosity of life, but to schisms and limitations of people. Now more than ever, it’s time to be true to yourself and the hard lessons you have learned through the pandemic – those of strength and humanity, kindness and inclusiveness.

Or, to use the words of another popular meme, remember, as you dive back into the bath of things: “Don’t leave ugly in others, kill the beauty in you” …


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