A Year Older

A year older and hell of a lot more wiser this year. The year has been quite the roller coaster. The highs have been higher than Mount Everest and the lows would put Mariana’s Trench to shame.

The going was pretty good till shit hit the fan. The lockdown. I don’t know how people sound so happy about WFH or want it to continue forever but I surely can’t cope up with it.

Not many people but a few know that I am partially claustrophobic. I never take a window seat on flights (I had avoided flying as long as I could). When I have to spend long time living in hotel rooms, at night, either I would go to rooftop or spend time in the hotel lobby.

Mental health would have taken a beating for many but the conversations around mental health are drowned out by the euphoria around WFH. We all know it is fake but in this situation most would accept it because the alternative is scary.

So being stuck in a room all day has taken its toll. Sure wish we can go back to work. And of course opening up will lead to economy also taking an upswing but that’s a topic for another post.

After the year gone by, nothing in the coming year can get any worse (or maybe there are more nasty surprises round the corner haha)

So here is to positivity, whole lot of optimism and a totally normal next year to me!

We were the ones

We followed the lockdown even though the gnawing sensation in our stomach told us how bad it will be for us.

We clapped and we lit diyas.

We donated to every one who sent us a message on mail or through an app because we believed in humanity. Even if it was a small amount, it was big for us in the larger scheme of things.

We got happy when the EMI moratorium was announced and disappointed when we found out it was a scam.

We sat in our apartments and in our houses and watched on tv how in the name of religion, in the name of politics, or mismanaged initiatives, people were still out on the street. Not just out but in huge crowds.

We watched in disbelief images of people thronging markers as if nothing has happened.

We watched the wedding on tv when there was a lockdown everywhere.

We watched the entitled getting a pass so that they can go to their farmhouse.

We watched the government announce schemes for various strata of society. We watched RBI governor talking about interest rates and stuff. And we realised none of it is for us.

We lay on our beds in the dark with no sleep in sight, wondering whether we will get a pay cut, whether we will get laid off or will we get furloughed and how will we manage our lives.

Because we are the ones – the middle class, the consuming class or the salaried class. The ones who pay taxes and watch our money get wasted. We are the ones who buy everything that keeps the corporate India running and the bottom half getting wages.

We are the ones nobody has talked about or thought about during this entire locked down. All everyone asked was that we should only give, give and keep giving. Because we are not corporate honchos or celebrities or the political leaders who can sit in the comfort of their mansions and talk about social good, knowing fully well that they were well insulated.

This too shall pass. We will survive somehow. The so called new normal for us will be a life cut down to the basics. Our new normal will be about adjustment and compromising on our dreams. Because we are the middle class. Neither here nor there.

Utterly random thoughts

Just some thoughts that have been swirling in my head.

1. Reel is not real – how ironic that during this lockdown, a lot of OTT is full of movies and programs that show how US of A is at the forefront to fight any crisis, calamity, epidemic, or aliens invasion. Contagion, Outbreak, all Marvel movies… for last few decades, Hollywood has driven the narrative of US being the superpower in every respect. Playing the world police and what not. But right here and right now, they surely don’t look the superpower… do they? While what is happening in US or anywhere in the world is very unfortunate, successive governments are to be blamed for the near invincible feeling amongst the US population. The power shift had started after the financial meltdown of 2008. Now it is complete. US, Europe are definitely not the centres of power. Read the other day (can’t believe everything I read anymore though) that lot of Chinese firms are getting ready to buy out cash strapped and almost bankrupt companies in Europe. Rock bottom prices will prevail.

2. Optics? So three months moratorium on EMI AND CREDIT AND STUFF. The government had to be seen doing something for the middle class too after the big SOPS for the low income people. Wasn’t thought through. Tell me how does a 3-months moratorium starting from 1st March makes sense? People got salary for March, might get for April too. The shitstorm starts after that! Salary deductions, job losses etc. That’s when most people would want relief from paying EMIs. Oh but wait. They can’t get any relief. The moratorium will be over by then. Muddled thinking I say. The best would have been that there is an option of 3 months. People can choose the period when.

3. WFH images and stories and gyan – I want to throw up. Yeah you gotta work from home. So suck it up and do your work. Spare us the philosophy!

4. Petroleum companies will rake it in. Some utterly random calculation tells me that petrol and diesel prices should about 40% less than what they are right now, given the crash globally. Imagine the money these companies and government will make once the lockdown is over!

5. Continuing point 4, imagine what will happen when the lockdown is completely gone! Having lived in the north most of my life, I have been witness to the scenes at various restaurant serving non veg right after the navratras are over. My feeling is that post lockdown will be quite similar 🙂

More random thoughts in coming days.