Change of the old world order, leaving behind the good old things, a strong feeling of nostalgia for the days gone by, had prompted me to start this blog. In The Retro Feeling, I had mourned that change, tried in my small way to build conversations around certain things or traditions that we have left behind – be it letters, radio, AIR or the old ways of love and romance. I have always felt that in our mad rush to embrace the future we may have let the past slip away and with that a bit of us. It is important to look back from time to time and reclaim those little things or ideas that were once part of us, that we miss dearly in our fast-paced life. I have always believed, as far as possible we should carry forward bits and pieces that once mattered to us, that could add value or a different dimension to our modern world.
But then, as I was looking back and moving forward, the year 2020 stunned me. Brought life to a standstill before changing it completely, don’t know for how long. The unprecedented crisis in form COVID 19 (COVID 20 would sound more apt) that the year brought forth has disrupted every bit of our lives. First, we stopped shaking hands. Warm hugs or jadu ki jhappi were abandoned for the love and the warmth could be loaded with virus. People won’t bless you anymore if you sneeze in public, rather they would call authorities on you. And of course, we have stopped picking our nose or licking our fingers because of the complicated process of sanitization involved. No matter what we do, the virus might be lurking in some corner of our nails.
We may not blow the candles on our birthday cakes ever again. Social kissing or air-kissing is an absolute no-no. We startle if someone rings the doorbell, welcome our guests with sanitizers, soaps and masked smile. We don’t know when we will use lipstick again, or it may just go out of fashion. It’s now trendy to carry extra masks and sanitizers, nobody bothers about anything else. I am quite sure designer lines of face masks, veils and sanitizer pouches would be hitting the market soon. When I watch a show on Netflix or any other platform, feels like I have been transported to a different time. It would feel much more real if the characters had mask on and frequently sanitized their hands. People hanging in the bars or coffee shops, hugging and kissing, maintaining no social distancing seem so bizarre.
The amazing spatter man Satish Shah, cast as the Professor in the Hindi blockbuster Main Hoon Na, who talked less and sprayed his spit more, will not evoke laughter anymore. Not just his students, even the audience might leave the theatre, such is the fear of Corona. But then who knows when the students will go back to their classrooms, or when we will be able to enjoy a movie in theatres. Currently, films are being released on OTT platforms.
The deadly COVID that crippled our lives and economies has done some good. Nature is cheering, our cities are cleaner, and spitting has finally become an offence in India. For many Indians who loved to mark their territory by spitting all around that must be quite upsetting.
But what we have lost is so much more. The simple pleasures of walking into a coffee shop or dropping in for a beer. Singing aloud happy birthday, blowing candles, and passing the cake around. The impromptu parties, the dinner dates, the weekend getaways…Seems so far away now, god knows when we can reclaim a little bit of those good old days!