Sixty-five is a good time to pause and reflect. The grey, with its touch of dignity, the wrinkles, furrows, smile lines, all act as a chronicle of one’s lifestyle, personality and attitude. The filter of time sieves the redundant and the unsavoury, retaining just the moments that bring inner joy to the heart and a smile to the face.
As I sit in my balcony, overlooking a mango orchard, with the distant Shivaliks on the horizon creating a perfect blending between the abstract and the absolute, 65 does look to be a good number to take stock and reflect on the time travel that we all go through, between cradle and the final curtain, and introspect on the higher purpose of one’s existence, and how close one came to achieving it.
It is a cloudy day in the making — perhaps the pre-monsoon or the western disturbance. The air of silent serenity, punctuated occasionally by the shrill call of a peacock from atop a mango tree yonder. A call never so noticeable before the corona lockdowns began. Worldly clutter had blocked out all music so abundantly available in nature, it seems.
For a reality check, I raise my cup of tea and browse over the news headlines, largely restricted to corona coverage. How many more lives got reduced overnight to mere statistics? How many more children of a lesser God prematurely gave up on hope, and life, due to sheer frustration over some or the other issue: a loss of job, a setback in business, or simply an opportunity no longer there? A deep sense of anguish overwhelms me, at the depleting reserves of coping skills in humankind, at the ‘distancing’ gradually becoming the order of the day. Corona brought in the need for social (spatial) distancing now, but haven’t we already been engineering an age of socio-emotional distancing, through increasing obsession with the materialistic and the digital world? My thoughts begin to wander. Is social distancing or ‘masks’ mere prophylactics, or some sort of a divine sign, too?
I look down from my balcony. The usual chatter of life is conspicuous by its absence. Not many are strolling in the park, no school buses around with their beeping and blaring. Office-goers, commuters, cabs, all seem to belong to a distant past. How long before life limps back to normal, or the new normal that everyone talks about? Is it ever going to be the same, or are the marks of suffering too strongly being etched on the human psyche, to be forgotten easily?
My train of thoughts with the underlying despondency was interrupted by an incoming video call. At the other end was my granddaughter, barely three. ‘Hi Daadu, good morning... sitting in the balcony? Come, join me in my yoga class, see how well I’ve learnt padmasana.’ The world of network-centric digital experiences is becoming an integral part of the Gen Alpha, the next rung of the evolutionary ladder. The triumphant journey of the evolution of homo sapiens continues... corona is just a passing phase.
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