Living In A Loop
One Mercury solar day lasts 176 Earth days or 1408 hours. The nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus has so far completed 1032 hours. So, it’s not a stretch to say we are now living Mercury Days rather than Earth days. The post Covid world will have many unique words and phrases to fit our altered reality.
Today is the 43rd day since lockdown began and I feel like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day where characters are caught in a time loop, repeatedly reliving the same day and no one but only Murray knows about it. The disadvantage of such a scenario is that things are repetitive and boring. The advantage is that you can fix the previous day’s mistakes.
‘A Bald Discovery’
My 43-day lockdown has been an attempt to find time for things I should have been doing but couldn’t, and to be aware of things that I wish I weren’t. This time for self-discovery also, unfortunately, helped me discover a bald patch on the back of my head! There was little time to lose. The table was set, and Google was approached. I spent prodigious amount of time researching about hair loss in middle-aged men. I found millions of false prophets of Alopecia and spent taking photographs of my bald patch by contorting my body into uncomfortable postures with the sole aim of getting the most flattering angle. But alas, at the end of Mercury day, progress has been sparse.
‘A Tryst With Music’
They say that if you repeat something for 21 days then it becomes a habit. I picked up my old guitar after 30 years and thus began the finger numbing process. The joy of playing a musical instrument is hard to describe; there are dents and numbness on fingertips and the sounds I play make my dogs stand up in fear. I am now convinced that dogs do not get music. I fantasize about playing my guitar in the pubs of NCR area soon but please remember dogs aren’t allowed.
‘Neem Hakeem, Yet Again!’
I earn my bread and butter by running a drug research company and days have been spent working with different pharmaceutical companies exploring the treatment options. The lockdown (a word I never cared for much earlier) has taught us some hard business lessons. We are realising that office spaces can be reduced (if not completely eliminated). We are also recognising that fewer office interactions are leading to the absence of serendipitous experiences and breakthrough thinking. The challenge is to find the right balance. Drugs which modulate the body response, like Gilead’s Remdesivir, provide a glimmer of hope. On the other hand, we see virus treatments suggested by some deep thinkers like Baba Ramdev (the yoga guru claimed that if one applies mustard oil through their nostril, the coronavirus would flow into their stomach and would be killed by the acids present inside).He must also recommend that we put mustard oil in our eyes and ears too to avoid viewing or hearing such advice. Then you have the leader of the free world – US President Donald Trump – who wants us to inject bleach. A theory not too dissimilar from that of the magistrate/scientist of Bareilly who started the clinical trials on migrant labors by spraying them with bleach.
‘That Innate Desire To Defocus’
The lockdown has taught me about human beings’ desperate desire for distraction to get over discomfort. I am forced to exercise at home and so have taken up skipping in a big way. And to get through the agonizing self-inflicted pain, I put on some hard rock music with the Soprano Series on mute. The music isn’t enough, so I need a mafia serial too.
Lastly, I have contributed significantly to my wife’s Zen journey. She has started her deep breathing exercises, and whenever I open my mouth, she puts a face mask on my face to help reduce the risk of Covid with the added benefit of possibly making me shut up.
(The author is the national spokesperson of AAP and former Lok Sabha MP. Views are personal.)