By Purba Ray Apr. 02, 2020
For everyone who is policing people on social media, taking exception to folks posting selfies and travel photos, please back off. People who share daily workouts or coronavirus jokes are not being insensitive, self-centred louts. They are trying to hold on to some semblance of normalcy. It helps them stay afloat instead of drowning in self-pity.
You’ve been thrashing your keypad all day, trying valiantly to save the world from stupidity and Covid-19, one angry rant at a time. Stupidity that ignores warnings to stay the fuck inside, stubbornly ignores social distancing, and has yet to learn how to sneeze without making others jump out of their skin. And then there’s the other kind of stupidity, which suffers from a nauseating positivity and insists everyone is making too much of a hoohaa over a virus that looks straight out of a Harpic commercial. This “kuchh nahi hoga” brigade has given you piles.
It’s been 10 days of stringently practising self-isolation in your house and not combing your hair. It’s not been as spectacularly successful as you had imagined it to be. All that these impatient morons had to do was stare at their phones anxiously and wait for others to save the world as they lay like a limp lettuce in their jammies. Just like you. Since even God is in lockdown, you’ve entrusted yourself with the enormous responsibility of fanatically following Covid infection numbers in Italy and now New York like it were cricket scores and going to bed shaking your head in dismay. Last night it was so bad, you got a crick in your neck, but this is the least you can do for nations in distress.
Does anyone understand how exhausting it is to be a keyboard warrior, waging a lone battle against an army of idiots!
You decide you’ve had enough, take a breather and scroll through Insta to see what other fellow warriors are up to… and you are assaulted by a slew of happy pictures in your feed. Wait, are those pictures of cherry blossoms in Tokyo? Don’t people have a shred of decency, shamelessly parading their happiness in these anxiety-ridden times! Eww, is that an almond mille feuille with custard oozing out of its many layers? What the fuck is wrong with these people! Don’t they know Ram Dulare and his family of three haven’t had a morsel to eat in the last three days because of a lockdown that you wanted as badly as a salary raise? (It’s another matter that the three years Ram Dulare was busy busting his ass in your neighbourhood dhaba, you hadn’t even bothered to glance in his direction.)
Join a task force in your vicinity to help your neighbours in need of emotional and physical support.
Your head is now throbbing as you proceed to educate these morons on the new social norms that you and your newly sprouted conscience has created. Social norms that have stripped you of empathy, as you gleefully share personal details of your quarantined neighbours, without even sparing a thought to the harrassment you may have exposed them to. Joined the mob baying for the blood of their favourite cricketer and actor for not doing enough, contributing enough to combat the pandemic that has thrown normalcy off the cliff.
Maybe you should tell them off that they shouldn’t rub their happiness in the faces of those of us who are abjectly miserable. Maybe you should screenshot their stories and tweets and sly tweet them. Maybe you should leave public comments under their posts telling them what terrible people they are. Show them how far back in your head your rolled eyes can go.
Or, maybe, you should just back the fuck off. It’s time someone told you loud and clear, that you don’t get to decide what others are meant to do. Your annoying af policing of people’s social media feeds is not going to save any lives. All it does is rain on people’s parades, and make them feel like trash at a terrible time. All you have succeeded in doing is contaminate your social media contacts with your fear and anxiety.
Like you, we are all coming to terms with an altered reality.
Perhaps if you got off your high horse you’d realise people who share pouty selfies, daily workouts, are craving for a visit to the salon, sharing ridiculous Coronavirus jokes are not being insensitive, self-centred louts. They are trying to hold on to some semblance of what they think is normalcy. It helps them stay afloat instead of drowning in self-pity.
So cut them some slack, will you?
Like you, we are all coming to terms with an altered reality that shuns physical contacts, has imprisoned us in our homes, robbed us of our social lives but has also given us clean air, spare time, and rekindled relationships and emotional connections. Believe me, now is not the time to be the class monitor. Our fragile emotional state could do with some understanding and support rather than your consternation. Many who are trying to juggle working from home while caring for kids may have to make choices like ordering in a meal. The last thing they want is your shocked response and rebuke.
Your head is now throbbing as you proceed to educate these morons that your newly sprouted conscience has created.
So can we please try and not be that annoying cretin that everyone avoids?
Why don’t we start with spending less time on social media raving and ranting and more time in helping those who could really do with your help? Chip in with housework. Mop the house to wring out the excess energy bubbling inside you. Join a task force in your vicinity to help your neighbours in need of emotional and physical support. Be the channel between the privileged who are eager to provide resources and NGOs who are making sure the disadvantaged don’t go hungry; our elderly are getting medical care and grocery.
What you do now will shape our future. And right now the world around you could do with some kindness and not your needless censuring fuelled by self-righteousness. Junk it. And if you find it so difficult to comprehend, I suggest you take a nap and wake up when all this is over.
Nearly funny, almost liberal, rarely serious, Purba likes to keep a safe distance from perfection. Unfortunately she has an opinion on everything, fact or fiction, beginnings or ends, light or heavy, long and short.