Pandemic Realizations

This isn’t a “Use all this time pandemic has got you to get productive and become a better version of yourself” kind of blog. More of a “I’ve spent way too much time with myself” sorta thing.

credit @shato_illust

It’s been quite a challenge to ensure that I set out of my spirals in these times. Considering how this particular day has been nice to me, I’ve decided to note down some of the smaller details that I’ve noticed.

I’m sure all of us are in different surroundings during this pandemic. However, one thing we all share could be the extra time we’ve got in hand to deal with ourselves. Being someone who prefers being left alone, this wasn’t a drastic change for me. In fact, I realised that even when my entire family is simply near my line of vision, I need to step out. So my first, very basic realisation – I like my own company.

I’ve been noticing my purchasing habits as well. When you’re stuck in a rural setting with urban needs, cranky becomes a personality and not a mood. The initial months, I must agree, I’ve been super cranky when denied the right to step out (with a mask and sanitiser of course). With time I’ve understood what my primary needs are – Good quality coffee, bananas, rice, a healthy change of vegetables and the ultimate -the pears soap. While that sounds basic, it’s difficult to get given the situation.

Moving on to personal image, or the image of self. I’ve come to terms with the reality that I’m way too harsh on myself. Every time I look into the mirror, something just always disappoints me. However, unlike my teenage self, I’m completely okay with it (except when I’m on my period). I’ve realised that my skincare range includes – innisfree face masks and red wine. I’ve successfully deviated my body dysmorphia with extreme stress around my hair, would it be a stretch to say its working? Here’s something that has helped – working out and eating well. I’ve realised that most things feel sane and okay to me when I know I’m in control.

Trees – a no brainer I know but seriously underrated. If you’re surrounded by plants that maybe have flowers, its easy to realise that they uplift your mood. Trees though, its taken me a while to appreciate each and every one of them. There are plenty surrounding my house and everything about them, be it the change of colour when the light hits them or the random seeds falling on my dog and I, I dig them.

Being a clean freak, its natural that I feel elite during these times. Suddenly people understand why shaking hands with random people is stupid. While I wouldn’t vouch for sanitisers, I sure am glad that it helps me clean things around the house. I’ve had the time to arrange my space and its been left untouched by people, I cannot begin to explain how much I appreciate it.

credit @shato_illust

A very important observation – I do not associate with people who are incapable of controlling their tone of voice. This isn’t massive but I’ve come to terms with just how much it can piss me off to be around people who do no have a control over their actions of something as basic as their tone of voice. Its the biggest red flag in my kingdom.

Much to my annoyance, I’ve realised I miss human interaction. Allow me to rephrase, I miss quality human interaction. I miss the times when I had to order a coffee, I miss the time when I had to listen to peculiarly soothing voices of people who were important to me. Most importantly, I miss hugs.

Having a dog is a rather awkward essential on this list. I’ve had “dog” on my life plan for two years now. However I’ve never been this sure of it until now. The things keeping me from making this choice include the fact that I can’t afford it at the moment and I can’t give it the quality of life I have planned out for it.

With isolation, things have gotten overwhelmingly absurd but the memory of who you are sure is helpful. Knowing that I mattered in my space before some bat eating moron decided to screw that up for me (no hate), helps me stay sane in a space where I don’t.

Nobody has to be supremely productive during a pandemic, these are the chapters in history where we talk about how bread came into being, really, it isn’t a big deal. I only hope we find the strength to accept our own personalities and grow in ways that are possible.

“These mainstream journalists…”

To everyone who is sick and tired of journalists yelling at you with fake reports, hear me out. I’m sorry we have media that fails in doing its fundamental duty – safeguarding democracy. I’m also sorry that you are made to feel anxious after listening to the 9am news bulletin. I apologise that you have to see disturbing images and videos on your TV just because some journalist forgot to take ethics seriously.

Now that we’ve set our apologies right, allow me to state what I’m not sorry for.

We live in 2020. We’ve experienced our bit of the tragedy with pandemic but during this crisis, we cannot help but criticise the media. Its loud, biased, untrue and most importantly, annoying.

Then why do we still switch on our TVs? Why do we endure something we know isn’t factual in the first place? Because living without news, if you aren’t ignorant, is impossible. We feed off of news on a daily basis. Our conversations are based off of prime time news. Our petrol prices, taxes, government mood swings are all told to us by the news. So how does something so fundamental to public get off hand?

It’s as simple as this – The news you receive isn’t functioning for you because it isn’t run by you. You believe you are entitled to good quality and fair news because you pay your cable bills and subscribe to the cheapest available daily, allow me to snap you out of your bubble.

You get a newspaper for as cheap as 5 rupee to a maximum of 15 rupee. There is no way that any organisation can hire journalists, buy equipments, carry out the printing, rent out an office and carry out investigation or even simple daily reports with that tiny sum of money. This is where advertisers come in. Why do you have sheets and sheets of advertisements of digital sales every morning staring at you? Because they help the organisation survive.

When you, as public, are not ready to pay a higher subscription rate to the press, how can you expect them to work in your interest?

Now a possible solution that you may have found is – government subsidies. Good argument. While governments fund the military and take interest in this investment, one can only see a handful of governments doing the same for their press. Now I don’t mean that the governments don’t pay the press to have their preferred narrative. What I mean is, government subsidies work as a functional model only if the model is mandatory to all news organisations with the exception of any government involvement in the news stories. Otherwise, the press turns into what it is now -a mouth piece of the government.

We have our right to speech, or rather, we had. The real problem with the mainstream media today is that it makes the ones who aren’t aware of its financial spine, believe its radical ideas. So when a left wing funded daily presents news to you, you have no access to the other side of the story. This is where caste issues, religious ideas and community conflicts stem. So the next time you expect to see a good journalist, prepare to fund their process. Because writing what is fair, what the government wants to hide from you, keeping the sense of democracy alive, is not possible without money.

Also remember, it is mainstream because you make it. There are smaller independent media organisations who try to bring way less radical reports but it is because you are unwilling to try out and support such organisations that we are stuck in this loop together.

Incase you’re willing to pay for the quality news, here are some sights that can help you understand how impactful a functional media can be –

https://ruralindiaonline.org

https://www.bloombergquint.com/bq-blue-exclusive

Side Note : Take some time to understand how they’re funded. If they have a particular ideology. Take time to understand the media and then accept the information. This helps you become aware and not manipulated.

Denial Around Climate Change

If you’ve come across folks who are delusional about things, you could relate to this.

Picture this, you’re sitting on a bench, sipping on your morning coffee and you see a kid walking around with a plastic bag wrapped around his neck. Give him 5 minutes, he’s gonna suffocate himself enough for it to be fatal. What do you do? Run upto to him and try to save this kid? Pretty obvious right? So then, Why don’t we do that for our cohabitants?

There are 7 billion of us. 7 billion breathing, working, functioning creatures that occupy a major chunk of the planet. Yet, we all go about our daily lives unthinkingly. While we sneak our scooters into small lanes, rush to grab our coffee, get all the paper work done with a slight frown, cover our nose when black smoke hits us, we seem to forget how co-dependent we are. 

There’s a beauty in cohabitation, one that we seem to have forgotten with the race for urbanisation.  The concept of sharing a space comes with responsibilities and we’ve not done a very good job at that. You’ve come across the video of the turtle that has a straw stuck up its nose, you’ve seen tons of plastic floating on the ocean and yet you go on about your day with your stupid little coffee mug, don’t you? Don’t we all? 

We are the bad guys here and the sooner we accept it, the lesser the damage is. You can call out to a single country for the global warming but that isn’t going to make a difference. You see people are simple, we know we kill animals, we always have, what’s the big deal in that, right? 

Well it is a big deal. Because while we stand worthy of the climate change, they don’t. While we build grey walls higher, they remain deserving of their green lands. 

But let’s not make this impersonal. Why don’t we care? Why haven’t we started working against it as a clan? Why doesn’t it affect us? 

I would say capitalism, easy politics, corporate demands, consumerism, plain old ignorance but lets go with – “Because it hasn’t hit us hard enough yet.” We’ve prayed for people affected with calamities, we’ve maintained a minute’s silent for the ones who lost their life but that’s about it. Real measures like choosing public transport, buying thoughtfully, treating our personal waste, switching to a zero-harm lifestyle are just for the you tubers right? We watch them, we try it out for a day or two and then just sit in coffee shops and demand the shopkeepers to change their products so that you’d automatically be saving the planet. For our little royal needs, the scientists are sure of a royal end. 

We live believing that all that’s given to us, is our right. And some of it is, but maybe your primary right is the climate right. But when I say you have the right to clean air, I mean you’re responsible for it as much as the next person is. In the present day, a glance at our newspapers tell us that there’s no real point waiting for the governments. We can’t gather circles and speak about how it is our fate because trying a new lifestyle is just too much of a task for us. 

They say the death of art is the tragedy of our times but I disagree. I think passiveness and the urge to look for convenient options is the real smoke of sorrow that surrounds us. While we know vertical gardens will filter the air in our cities, we’re too busy riding around in the comforts of our bikes. While we’re all trying to tone our bodies, we rarely walk to work. There’s so much we do that’s going  in the wrong direction that it aches my heart and many alike, who understand the impact of climate change. 

You know the facts and the data around climate change. The cause and effect of global warming but when are we gonna talk about how the mass beef consumption has led to mass forest fires to get land for grazing so that the burger on your plate tastes good. How the little bottle of water over the counter isn’t a mere purchase  but log that’ll choke animals to death. How, as we mindlessly go for rides, as the ozone gets cavities and there ain’t no dentist fixing those. How, as we go about with propagation, our landfills take up the lands we promise our children. 

There’s so much out there to talk about climate change and yet whenever we do, we stick to statistics. We stick with numbers and ideas and the need to drop that temperature by 2 degrees. But the need hold ourselves responsible is fundamental. We’ve done this and its our mess to clear. We’ve gotten comfortable but that’ll change when there’s constant cold, when there unstable climate will affect vegetation and we’ll starve, when the heat wave won’t just be a news from the UK but a fragment of your everyday sentences. The reality is harsh and its time everybody stops being delusional about it. There are children speaking but adults need to get the message into their thick skulls. Stop silencing young inds, stop silencing logic because it doesn’t get your revenue. Stop resisting this because its coming for all of us and some of us have decided to act. All I hope for those who are busy with their daily bread is that, when it’ll hit us, you’ll deserve it but not everybody did. 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word ‘Minimalist’? Some popular ideas include – an empty house, the colors- black and white, fashion, slow and pale living and most importantly a hell of a commitment. The only one I’d partially agree to is the last. So to break it down to you, being a minimalist, simply means investing your money and time on the things that serve a functional purpose and nothing else.

While we run towards our dreams and aspirations trying miserably to keep it together and find happiness, perhaps we need to sit down with a cup of coffee and think if these dreams we keep running after, this idea of absolute satisfaction and joy is worth this whole struggle. Let’s look into why we are almost all the time in need or something or the other.

Given all that the current market has to offer, like cute Japanese stationery, millions of gadgets convincing you that you need help with just about everything, an option to choose from for every other item, a substitute for everything you probably already own and so on. Just when you decide to not go outside, you realize they’re all ready to deliver it to your doorstep. it may seem like a struggle but try to look at the bigger picture. Why are we constantly in search of something? Can we ever actually be content?

A popular blogger and minimalist, Leo Babauta wrote, ‘An ongoing quest for me, and one that I am renewing this year is to eliminate all that is unnecessary from my life.’ he continues by explaining what is truly necessary for life and that the rest can be avoided.

We are constantly engaged in making a list of things we believe we need. Seldom do we pause to question, ‘why’ and ‘Is it important?. ‘This isn’t limited to the market, even with relationships and any general investment of time or effort, we need to question if it’s truly worth it. Because if you do figure out the key to living a life that is simple and control this constant rush towards everything that your eyes fall on, that is when you’ll be a little more content and as far as happiness is concerned, well decluttering the unnecessary has never brought anybody sorrow. Unburdening yourself will ensure you control waste and save time.