21 Nov 2021
Suddenly, smiles have disappeared from the faces .Only masked faces everwhere.Eyes now speak more than what they did before.Obamas new book while writing about some world leaders ( seems to have touched a million copies sold already)writes about the blue eyes of Merkel,which makes me wonder,how observant he was even before masks came into the picture!(“Merkel’s eyes were big and bright blue and could be touched by turns with frustration, amusement or hints of sorrow” : A Promised Land)
Now when the world leaders meet as I saw during the visit of the American Defense Secretary’s meeting with our Foreign Minister where they made the elbows to do the talking before the actual dialogue began.Unlike a Namaste which is a very dignified Indian tradition ,one which had foreseen centuries ago the virtue of keeping an arm’s length, whether good times or bad times or an enemy or friend,or male or female,whereas the elbowing looked plain ugly and a fake gesture.I have never ever understood the brushing of cheeks ( even pecking , kissing on cheeks and air kissing- spreading more virus , could be the reason for more cases in Europe) especially in Europe which unnecessarily was getting too personal and often exposing to the smells and liquids emitting from nose and mouth. Our Page3 Social butterflies took this to another level with even less hygiene standards and one has to often extricate from the vice-grip with some effort!.With now mouth and nose covered the foul smell issue in the country has moved rapidly to a better solution making Swatch Bharath to that extent very successful.
I think it is not a bad idea to continue this acquired habit of wearing Mask for all times to come and it can be a source of income for funds starved State Governments also as the Delhi CM has discovered,by charging fine of Rs 2000 he hopes to enforce wearing of mask in public places.Now other Governments can emulate this example and charge even more to make up for GST deficit if any.
As people have started using mask other diseases seem to be coming down like normal cold and cough.Now we can engage in a conversation in a room or travel in Metro with out droplets of saliva from animated conversations and unexpected sneezes spraying on you even phlegm sometimes.Most importantly,masked faces cover emotions so well you can cry ,laugh,hold derision on your face,and even pull off major heists.One of very eminent exporters who is now manufacturing masks had an experience recently when an order was placed in his unit by a few masked men for double layered blue masks for Rs 3 lakhs and asked to be delivered in a godown in a market place.The delivery people went to the designated place and saw a masked man waving in front of a shop asking them to go to the sidelane behind and when the delivery van wriggled its way there found two other masked men showing them where to unload the stuff and thereafter asked them to go and collect money from the masked man who earlier waved to them and when they reached back to the front of the shop found to their surprise that the shop people knew nothing about the masked person who waved to them and when they went back to the spot where they unloaded the goods found nobody there.The police who checked the CCTV could not recognize the persons as they were masked.The exporter was scammed by the Masked tricksters .So masks have now sprung a whole new game.
People are coming for interviews wearing masks and you don’t know the person whom you talked to is the actual person joining later.I saw a sitcom wherein the boy who is meeting a girl for marriage is frustrated as the girl refuses to remove the mask even for a second as she sticks to strict protocol in Kerala!
The branded masks are now big business and earlier beards were hiding most of the face of men and all the makeup for women.Both have been now done away with money being spent on expensive masks.People are becoming now enigma wrapped in mystery.
In my meetings with my colleagues I am unable to fathom their reactions anymore .Also no lip reading possible.
The results for the elections like in Bihar couldn’t be predicted as the leaders were wearing masks and the anchors were also were wearing masks but the people weren’t.In the confusion all results predicted were way off the mark.In the remote zoom Meetings also people and panelists are discovering the advantage of masks as they could simply become inscrutable.
Suddenly Corona Pandemic has helped the humanity to understand that mouth and nose are also private parts and need to be covered and world has changed for ever. Overall and coverall are modern versions of the dress already in vogue in certain communities and now have got acceptance across transcending nationalities and religions etc
I saw in Archie’s masks and in various shops unimaginable variety of masks and the prices range from Rs 3 to 30000 or more !I have seen gold and precious stones clad masks and a kind of primeval look is the Fashion look of the Season.
Sometimes I have a feeling whether all this is real.Earlier unmasking the real from the reel was the job of journalists and now we need to learn both masking and unmasking.The cottage industries of making masks are springing up everywhere. May be already the Fashion world which works on Shifting Errogenous Zones(SEZ) of the body has shifted attention from plunging necklines,legs,shoulders,navel to the mouth and nose by having entire collections for the next season revolving around the new SEZ!