Let’s confess … and surrender to the age-old mama’s advice on one can never fudge with one’s conscience. Sometimes we don’t know what day of the week it is or sometimes even the year. While the clothes in the wardrobe can see light at the end of the tunnel and the automobiles can feel their engines oiled again and while the coffee dates resume, COVID-19 has left us altered in more ways than one.
It’s not only the chef within the man and wife or the hidden sports pro in some family member, it’s also the deep dives into the unveiled talents, silent emotions and office camaraderie. The only difference being that whether the online mode of makeshift fitness classes and Microsoft teams (oh GOD) and of course the good old Zoom has left us unwilling to put on make-up, wonder what to wear at work, watch the next Oscar win at the cinema and the mother of all: “ it’s ok I will just wax at home or use the tweezer for my eyebrows“. Have we settled in our comfort zones or are we willing to take the next flight to Istanbul for an offline sales meet or looking forward to the kids going to school? That’s a tricky one as by now we are all almost done with the nachos breaks and shower time at coffee time.
As the COVID-19 strains spread their tentacles, so does the dilemma pinnacles with its fight or flight mode. Shabnam, a mother of two kids — 7 and 3 years old — and a kindergarten schoolteacher, agrees: ”Can you imagine? While the toddlers are hugging me on screen, I have one crying for my attention while the other struggles with photosynthesis and all this while my husband has taken the flight to Delhi for a meeting! Of course, I want the schools to open and for our staffroom talks to start and the summer linens to be aired. All this, as long as we are assured the vaccination is reachable.”
Vaccination is something which can leave some avid newspaper readers perplexed but having said that it’s a litmus test for breaking the barrier on settling in the online or offline mode. Rahat, a student of nursing who works in a private hospital, says,”We have been on our toes, regardless of the scare, and it’s us who are ready to go for a break. We all need to visit homes and families but that can only happen when the patients and citizens are more confident about the vaccination. Earlier, we were explaining the COVID-19 symptoms. Now we give explanations on the vaccine, the types, the side effects, age-related issues and comorbidity-related implications. So yes, let’s hope we can sort this out and take a vacation.”
Like all other things in life, there are facets which one tends to ignore. We can be so caught up in our own spheres that no matter how much we do for our COVID-19 warriors, they really have faced the brunt of it all. While we had Netflix and grocery lists to fret over, they were donning the PPE kits and fighting battles within and without. Rama, a young entrepreneur working in a salon, has a different take.
”Thank God, we can come to work. At least now we can plan the day offs better. Even though people are slowly reassuring themselves with hygienic services which require touch but at least there’s hope now. And I have heard so many guests discuss how they all want to plan girlie vacations as everyone is quite fed up with family time.” True!
Familiarity does breed contempt. It’s just that it has spread its horizon to the family life. May we conclude that yes, we are all ready for that morning coffee while we drive, or the lipsticks while the red turns green or the Bluetooth negotiations in the comfort of our cars and the solace of the airplane mode while we fly and then the 8 am to 3 pm school timings and the vacation discussions, we all need hope in the vaccination.
And then we can do whatever we want in Rome, regardless of how the Romans do it.