Express news service
BENGALURU: As the clock ended in 2021, we let out the usual scream, clapped from a distance and shook our elbows, wishing everyone a happy and prosperous New Year. And a safe. Deep in our minds, we knew we were indeed Omicronned; the coronavirus has followed us into the new year and set us up for the next wave, with a new variant. The virus had said boo to the vaccine.
It’s time to limit ourselves again to the white squares outside the department store – now freshly painted. It’s time to retreat to the safety of our homes, take off those masks, and coat ourselves in disinfectant – whether we’re vaxxed or not. It’s time to resume online classes, set up workstations, prepare and publish our photos of Le Cordon Bleu. Just when we thought we had left a brutal year, the world came full circle, still in the tentacles of the virus.
Public mood, however, belies this reality. The crowds came out in force, having forgotten the losses of 2021, which continue to weigh heavily: loss of health, life, wealth and happiness. Also the loss of freedom – to roam, shop, meet friends, eat out, party, travel … The freedom to think beyond horizons. Will there ever be a return to normal?
Stop worrying and move on with your life, barked the girl. A virtual life can be just as fulfilling. As a millennial, she should know – her life revolves around laptop and mobile, her world is full of possibilities – populated by intrepid investors cranking up the crypto market and making small piles of fortune. And digital artists dealing with NFTs. And kids who take college vacations to follow their virtual dreams. For me, making money with something intangible is always a dark mystery – crypto is too cryptic, as is the complexity of fungibles and tokens. If I am to ride this new world, I have to start learning new vocabulary.
Their is a parallel world, and they seem to already be wired to handle the gravitational shift brought on by the pandemic. Whatever the virus throws at them, they dodge and find solutions. Group calls, game teams, simultaneous connection to movies, alone but together. Bound. And certainly not ready to miss out on the little pleasures of life.
It may be a young and rootless culture, but it is adaptable and admirable. Tailor-made for the new order of things. Rent a car, hire a rider, hire a meeting slot, hire an office, hire a delivery man … pay, use and get moving. No complete stoppages in their life. Ready to say boo to the virus.