Sign of the times

Updated: Apr 06, 2020, 08:37 IST | Fiona Fernandez | Mumbai

Midway through the 21-day period of self-isolation, we take note of the professions who will benefit post the lockdown, and brace ourselves for the possible emergence of a new sub-species

The nationwide lockdown has been in place for over two weeks now. File photo.
The nationwide lockdown has been in place for over two weeks now. File photo.

Fiona FernandezSalt and pepper are turning out to be the undisputed flavour of lockdown season. It's what you reach out to each time you're about to indulge in a sunny side up for breakfast. Or any time of the day during the lockdown. In such times, it also happens to be the trusted twosome for most seasoning adventures while whipping up something new in the kitchen.

Then, there is the other kind of salt and pepper talk that's causing quite a bit of stress for some folk. Uncles, aunties, millennials, xennials, Gen Ys, Gen Xs and everyone before and after them residing in my multi-aged housing complex have been spotted with silver grey, salt-and-pepper hair; oh, and may we add, unkempt moustaches and beards, too.

In several cases, it's developed into a heady (pun intended) tricolour of black, white and the dyed shade of hair colour. Sigh. "Ufff, I toh am so fed up of these greys; April 14th ke baad bahar kaise jaaye?" Aunty no 1 tells Aunty no 2 during evening walk. Parlours and salons are so going to rake in the big bucks when the lockdown gets a gradual phase-out. The queues are bound to put the serpentine lines outside grocery stores to shame, me thinks. I wanted to tell Aunty No 1, 'Not to stress; it doesn't matter if you're black and white; hum sub saath saath hain in this struggle!'

Another bunch of professionals who I'd imagine could possibly benefit from this lockdown in a big way would be orthopaedics and physiotherapists. Why? Well, all the leaning-into-laptop time, thanks to WFH, might result in a new physical disorder that the universe will have to deal with. Droopy shoulders, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow….the menu could be endless. Add ophthalmologists to the list of medical experts who will see a surge in numbers. Such a pain, literally!

Two sectors of our public transport that might actually welcome you and me, with zero fuss will be drivers of autos and kaali-peelis. At least, I am hoping there will be a change of heart post lockdown. I recall being spoilt for choice by taxiwallahs post work by the same ilk who would otherwise ignore my pleas for a drop at a late hour, '…kyunki Mulund bahut duur hai.'

A few definite ploys from our retail marketing mandarins will ensure that people make a beeline to stores to overturn their dry spells. Sales. What else will draw the Big, Fat Indian Family(ies) in droves to malls? This, we seriously hope and pray, doesn't actually fructify, because God and government both know that that will mean committing hara-kiri, a million times over after all the good work that the lockdown would have done to help flatten the curve.

Talking about curves, we will see a spurt in gym memberships. The love handles and the bat wings will all have to go. At whatever cost. Unless, you're as driven as Milind Soman and his family, or are among those training for the Olympics (hell, even that got postponed to 2021), lack of physical activity has led to a whole new weighty issue (pun intended, again). And don't blame those cool Netflix shows for your lack of movement. Post fighting the virus, the flab will be fought.

Something tells me that when we all emerge from our caves (thanks to no domestic help), it will be a sea of hunchbacks, long nailed, loopy eyed bodies, salt-and-peppered mops, sluggishly moving around the city, buried into their gadgets and devices. Self-isolation would have led to the creation of a new socially intolerant sub-species, and we suspect that he/she might possibly resemble our Neanderthal ancestors. Don't tell us we didn't warn you.

mid-day's Features Editor Fiona Fernandez relishes the city's sights, sounds, smells and stones...wherever the ink and the inclination takes her. She tweets @bombayana
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