We, the people of the world, have spent many months under siege from an invisible threat. It is set to continue for many more months, with no end line in sight at the moment. The general consensus is that it will be a slow recovery to some degree of what used to be normal. At this time, it is useful to remember what “normal” used to be like – the freedom to move around without a mask, without being suspicious of every individual we see – is he/ she a carrier? The ability to meet with friends, relatives and acquaintances without a thought of ourselves being carriers, ready to infect whoever we may meet. The powers that be have done a great job of infecting our minds with these thoughts and brought out the combined sensibility of humans to put safety first. It will take years to rid the society of the plague of fear and accept the next flu like illness for what it is – a viral infection that the body will fight over. Or maybe not.
During this time of seclusion, those of us with the ability to read this blog have spent hours and hours in front of screens. These screens have proven themselves to be the biggest and most useful invention since the safety pin! Hooked on to the screen for everything, from news (which I have carefully avoided for the past many months) to office work to school studies to virtual meetings, celebrating birthdays, get-together parties, competitions and sports activities even, we will, in due course, be dictated by the power of the Wifi network and the 4G/ 5G network. Zoom meetings are the norm and new meeting apps play catch-up to this trend. Online gaming has replaced physical sporting activities. Elite athletes in some sports are able to return to physical action, many others are not as fortunate.
As we grow accustomed to procuring everything online in the Gig-economy, I find myself fighting a few urges, as I like to call them. Prime among them, is this urge to shop. That is one of the few outlets we are allowed and shopping online means that we can get almost anything under the sun delivered to us, at home. If not just online, even the act of going to a shop and talking with another person, is welcome. At least there is face to face interaction. I much appreciate that simple transaction these days. Second, is the urge to turn to Netflix or Amazon Prime and browse and browse and browse some more. Hunting for that one movie/ TV show that will keep us entertained. Next, the urge to work/ log in/ check emails. Our attempt to remain relevant in this world made up of 0’s and 1’s.
Then, there are desires. The desire to travel, to head out of the city – not just to drop/ pick someone up or attend a meeting, but to experience a different environment. A holiday. The desire to meet up with other humans outside of the society that we live in. The desire to view a live sporting event. The desire to play in an open field, openly, without adorning a mask (even if it is pulled down).
When this life-changing event brought about by the SARS-COV-2 virus passes, how many of these desires will we be able to entertain? How many will we allow ourselves to enjoy?