Posted on 28/05/2021 by Trivia – The Spice of Life
It was around the same time last year (2020) that I commenced blogging. The circumstances were pretty much the same. There is a strong sense of déjà vu, as 2021 is turning out to be no different. The last year was perhaps kinder. The pandemic was raging. There was a lockdown and normal life had come to a standstill. On the professional front, it was largely work from home. I felt that I must do something creative to maintain sanity. Since last May, I have tried to derive succour from writing blog posts on songs of the golden era alternating with slice-of-life pieces. I have also tried to write a post or two on my other passion – handloom sarees.
Over the year, one has witnessed so much suffering and pain all around, that it seems that the greatest achievement has been to still be alive, even if only languishing. There is a certain hesitation even when calling up someone (personally meeting is out of bounds!!) because you cannot be certain that they are hale and hearty. WhatsApp has been helpful in ascertaining the welfare of your loved ones. Changing statuses and display pictures at least indicate that your relative/acquaintance/friend is fine. I am sure this was never the intended purpose of these features.
While frontline workers are living through this struggle for survival at a completely different level, stressed both physically and psychologically, the common man too has had his share of sufferings – some tangible, some intangible.
The small joys of life for (the less adventurous) me used to largely centre round the physical retail therapy – not the virtual one!! It was not what one was buying that was important. It was the change and the exhilaration that going to a crowded market brought, that mattered more. I am not a person who is fond of high end air-conditioned malls. I love the inconspicuous shops of the meandering lanes and by lanes of a traditional marketplace, where you can haggle and bargain and feel that you have got a good deal (really or not, only time tells!). The pandemic however has played a requiem for all such commercial establishments. Those traders who have been savvy enough to shift to online platforms have survived. The others have perished.
The other innocent joy was that of reading the (physical) newspaper with a cup of hot, steaming, filter coffee. Fear of the Corona virus infiltrating your home along with the newspaper was so deep seated that many (that includes me) have stopped subscribing to newspapers. Even if the newspaper is bought, the poor thing is quarantined for a day or worse sanitized thoroughly. If the newspaper had a soul, I wonder how violated it would feel. Reading yesterday’s newspaper today is the biggest affront for any newspaper!! Thankfully, coffee is not (‘yet’ should we say? ) on the taboo list.
The saddest part of the whole story is that no one knows where and when the end lies. With new variants making a menacing appearance every now and then, vaccines are also undergoing a stress test to determine whether they are effective against the adversary in the new avtaar. The mask (worn properly) has become our best friend. We have learnt to read eyes because that is the only expressive part of the face that is seen, in order to understand how a person is really feeling.
As I sign off, may I add that I cannot say ‘another year‘ passes by, as the last year was not just another year! It was an unprecedented year. This year too promises to be singular. How one wishes the ordinary times would return! We have had a surfeit of the extraordinary.