It was back in school that we all learnt, ‘Man is a social animal’. In the due course of human evolution, we have always lived in groups, forming communities and eventually setting up various social structures and institutions in our society. A deadly virus has hit the very basis of our social life and has forced us to follow ‘Social Distancing’. However, we humans are just not made to distance ourselves from each other and cannot ever live an isolated life. Until an effective drug or a vaccine against the Coronavirus is clearly in sight and reaches out to everyone across the globe, it goes without saying, Social Distancing or rather more appropriately Physical Distancing is going to be the new normal for all of us. By now, we have all come to realise that unlike in B.C. and A.D. until the beginning of this year, life will be defined and chronicled in B.C. (Before Corona) and A.C. (After Corona) hereafter. With some experts claiming that the virus is here to stay and we got to learn to live with it, will life post-lockdown be really manageable or will it be unimaginable? Or who knows, it may even take us by surprise by being unimaginably manageable!
1. Will we look the same?
Probably not, at least for others. Just like mobile phones, masks too will become an extended organ of ours and washing hands frequently and using a sanitizer will become a norm. With everyone masking out, it would be difficult to recognize the person unlike earlier. Probably everyone’s new identity would be formed with their masks on and we’ll eventually start recognizing them, without even seeing their faces. For women, while eye make-up and hair would become the priority, face make-up would probably take a backseat. However, wearing masks will be as important as breathing.
2. Will we be the same at home?
Our homes would definitely look more spick and span, thanks to the cleanliness and hygiene we all have got used to over the last three months of lockdown. Sanitizing and disinfecting all the surfaces and touch-points regularly, none of us would want to take any risk, whatsoever.
Unlike earlier, there would be a complete shift in our perspective. Imagine the days before March 2020, when we used to come home after a long tiring day. At times, we threw away our bags and shoe helter-skelter and even passed out on our bed after an office party, without even changing our attire. No longer can we afford the luxury of being so free and easy. Sanitizing things, cleaning ourselves up and taking a bath would be our top-priority on returning home from outside.
Moreover, think of the warm hugs and goodnight kisses we used to share with our family members. Every time, we’ll step ahead for reaching out to our near and dear ones, there will be something that will hold us back and that one thing will be a reminder of social/physical distancing.
3. Will our work and workplace change?
Hold on! The change of one’s job profile and organization isn’t in consideration over here. While our offices would remain the same, the way they used to operate in the pre-lockdown times would have changed significantly. With new guidelines in place for the employees to adhere to, QCMs would be a thing of the past. We would either meet up virtually or sit keeping a safe distance in conference rooms even for briefest of our meetings. Similarly, potlucks during lunchtimes, and sharing lunch with our colleagues will be forbidden. Hanging out with colleagues during tea-breaks, helping out each other in projects, sharing stationery and of course gossiping… everything will still happen but will happen by exercising extreme caution. Still, whose work profiles permit, they’ll continue working from home. Physical distancing at workplaces will be a topmost priority for the employers, as well as for the employees. A drastic change in the office culture is sure to take us by surprise, at least in its initial days.
4. Will our weekends be still the same?
Not really! Weekends were something we really looked forward to until the lockdown was imposed. While in the lock-down, weekends and weekdays, everything felt the same, hereafter probably our weekends would be spent buying groceries and veggies for the week and most importantly sanitizing them before putting them in the refrigerator or their designated places. We would certainly recreate but unlike earlier, it would be more of an individual affair and seldom a group one. We need to wait and watch as to when the public places of recreation like shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants, bars, clubs, community halls bounce back to action. Until then, we better recreate in our home sweet home.
5. Will we breathe in cleaner air?
The lockdown has had a significant impact on our natural environment. While the world was in lockdown with industries and factories shut and roads cleared of traffic, the pollution levels hit the record low in decades. We have seen the incredible images of dolphins leaping in the air off Marine Drive and peacocks roaming freely on the roads of South Mumbai. Nature indeed has been reclaiming its space. Hopefully, the lessons this pandemic has taught us are etched on our mind forever and we’ll be more sensitive and caring towards our natural environment.
6. Will India travel again?
‘Definitely!’ is the only answer to this question. Travel in lockdown isn’t possible but as we move ahead through the phases of ‘Unlocking’ and ‘Mission Begin Again’, let’s hope life will be back on tracks soon. We all will get through this together and emerge more strong and more responsible. As it’s rightly said, ‘The show must go on’, people will definitely take to roads, air, and sea in the pursuit of exploring our big beautiful world. Of course, this will happen with all precautions and measures in place.
As Maharashtra’s honourable Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said in his public address just a few days ago, “… if imposing a lockdown is a science, lifting it is an art… “Let’s learn this art of living in a post-lockdown world. And it isn’t rocket science. Just a little care and awareness from our end can turn unimaginable of the things, easily manageable for us. May the force be with the entire world!