Friday, May 8, 2020

Rear View Mirror


Scrolling down my twitter feed, I stumble on a tweet that says, ‘Post a picture of a landscape taken by you. Let’s travel virtually and flood this place with landscapes’. I promptly scour my picture folder and share pictures. One, two, six, ten.....

These days I find myself looking wistfully at my vacation pictures and childhood photos. Frozen moments. Happy memories. 
See, if you lose your mind as often as I do, it makes sense to take the mind off unpleasant things for the peace of mind. 

Got it? Never mind. 

What I’m simply trying to say is that nostalgia acts as a reminder that if things were beautiful once, they will be again. Forced in a lockdown, we are passengers watching months flit by like scenery from the train.  At a time when there isn’t much to the ‘present’ and future is as uncertain as Tusshar Kapoor's career, past is the only happy place to be explored. 

I refuse to feel guilty about it. All through this lockdown I have tried to pump up the sunshine. I have tried to be as bubbly as a laughter show judge. But in Lockdown 3.0, there are days when anxiety sneaks in. 

I’m sure it happens to you. Days tick by in a whirl of a mop but evenings present you with a lot of time to ponder. There you are sitting in your balcony empathizing with prison inmates, watching the neighborhood hottie wield a broom and suddenly it comes. A tickle in the throat. Cough. Wham, you forget everything, ‘Could it be that’? Your palm reaches your forehead. All well there. Must be some allergy. Or was it the ice cream last night? Ah, stop being a Covidiot. But what if ? 
Like all prisoners I try to take my mind off the pandemic track. The news anchor from the living room blares ‘Hum aap ko dikayenge Corona Ka Kehar’. I ignore.
I try to talk to a friend and relive college memories. 
I try to think of scenic places and happy moments. 
George Clooney. 

Needless to say, looking at the rear view mirror helps. Which is why people are happy travelling back to the 80s and 90s. Whether it’s watching Ramayana and Mahabharata or Chupke Chupke, Chasme Baddoor and Khoobsurat, we are triggering memories to make our lives meaningful. There are days when I’m so bored that I’m willing to go back to school and savour the whack from my mathematics teacher in sixth grade. Okay, kidding. 

Truth is, the new normal of not being able to go out even for a walk is telling us not to take things for granted. We are yearning for simple joys that seemed frivolous earlier. Is it any surprise that I absolutely loved an underwhelming Netflix series, The Panchayat. For a Breaking Bad and Narcos generation, what is it about Panchayat that is making us fall in love with it? Perhaps the message that we can find meaning in toughest times? Or perhaps the fact that we can find interesting in the boring? 

This pandemic is threatening things that made our life meaningful.  Reliving memories is an inadvertent attempt to restore our sense of purpose. It can be travelling on a song, a movie or a picture. Nostalgia may be a liar, but if it helps tide the present, I’m willing to seek comfort in the arms of a liar.

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