2020 - The new 2012

Picture by Arushi Rawat

An item and its price are only as good till the competitor comes along. The more there is a supply in the market, the lesser the item's price becomes. These are some things that I read about in my economics books, but never for a second did I think that I would get a more explicit example of these things with the onset of our uninvited guest. The contenders were a few too many for everyone to process, and frankly, they're not to be blamed.

News about Covid-19, just like the virus had been spreading for months. But before it could take the controlling percentage in the news, we had humongous bushfires, and I'm glad I could visit a few places before the bushfires could catch up with me. The President of the United States had his impeachment trial. We lost Kobe. The UK withdrew itself from the EU. All this was just in January. And if all this wasn't devastating enough, 2020 signed a contract with the oncoming months too. Running alongside covid-19, each piece of news in the oncoming months was worse than its predecessor forcing the people and news anchors to move on to the next ghastly item like a toddler leaves his toy for the "shinier one." The supply of new reports and news pieces was so gargantuan that when the Pentagon released UFOs videos, the people didn't even bat an eye. But if this had happened any time before, it would have taken the world by storm. But such was the grace of this virus that nothing could surprise people anymore. We didn't even have a stage of denial. We directly moved onto acceptance. The impact was like getting stuck with a gigantic wave, literally. It has been months since all this unravelled, and it's this container that keeps on spilling where all of us are still working on damage control and containment, again literally.

The world was going to end in 2012. This news seemed to be the talk of the town when I was younger. I chuckled because I knew this wasn't going to happen. But when they said technology would soon be taking over the world, I had no trouble believing it, and well, this was something I was all in for. The sudden onset of our uninvited guest- COVID 19 got the rails in motion for technology to prove to be a lifeline. The new life now included using video conferencing applications, which are proving to be our knights in shining armours. Be it a meeting or wishing someone a birthday, this orange is now the new black. Forget weeks, a few companies like Google and Facebook have already authorized and extended their work from home policies till 2021, thus showing them strive towards normalcy and a safer future.

Organizations also leapt towards facial recognition systems for scanning the temperature for the company's and the employee's safety. The people already with offer letters will now be getting themselves behind a laptop again to find another job. The companies would now be firing their employees to make up for the damages to the company's and market's finance. Using machine learning algorithms crucially, they will also try to ascertain the company's future decisions and investments, considering how this virus has swept all four legs of the economy.

People's college lives are also shaken right now as technological forums have become the new classrooms, albeit having mixed reactions. As some say, it's from the comfort of your home without much physical strain or activity; this is not the same as traditional classes as it would take just a second to get distracted and not pay any attention. We pay lakhs of money to these institutions but don't pay the most important thing of all, which is our attention!

While learning is essential, something that builds students on a personal level is a doubt. These doubts could be resolved for a shy person after the class without the slightest level of hesitation, but with these virtual classes, the whole class might listen to your doubt, which might hinder your self-confidence. This is when the connection is fast and efficient, but loose/faulty connections are inevitable. The most important thing that we need to focus on in these virtual classes is our self, as loneliness is prevalent in these times of solitude. Taking a break with our friends and going to get a coffee together was one of the most refreshing things you could do after a class, but now the closest we can get to our friends is through our mobile phones. Even when it comes to corporate and personal lives, they have been uprooted because of the present scenario.

Flexibility and resilience are what's vital right now, for when push comes to shove, you'll be swept away by the wave. Fear instils caution in people. People who used public transport would now rather walk to work than risk their lives, making this one hell of a lemonade from the lemons thrown at them. People's mental health will now get a chunk of focus, too, as loneliness could limp a person's mental health. Checking up on people and calling them could be the star in their black night. All small businesses will now try to keep up with technology's help, practising no contact deliveries with some people chiselling their way into having a secondary revenue scheme due to the job market's instability. Life during and for a few months after COVID-19 is going to be like when you've been gobsmacked, and someone has to shake you literally to tell you, but everything sounds faint and echoed, and you just run without thinking anything. With all that has happened this year, nothing will be new for people. You could see an extinct bird and drive by it.

A newfound sense of discovery will be omnipresent. They would discover new cooking skills, coding, playing a new instrument, video editing, dancing, or writing articles (4th wall cracks in the distance). Anything good that happens after covid-19 will be a pyrrhic victory. If someone had told me a year ago that I would lose my internship to a pandemic, I would have laughed him off and brushed off such claims, but lately, I think the tables have turned. Jobs and training that were hard to get initially would now be as easy to get as breaking a coconut with your hands. The uneasiness in everything post-covid-19 would increase tenfold. Staying away from people couldn't be enforced anymore. A part of life involved mingling with the masses in concerts, water parks, and whatnot will now be put in the locker, waiting to be used at a moment's notice. The words "social distancing," "masks," "hand sanitizer" will now be hardwired into people where we'll have to get used to talking with our eyes. Muscle memory will be so robust that the first thing you get up with won't be opening your eyes but wearing a mask.

Even after the virus, people will have to learn to live by themselves or basically practice putting themselves under house arrest. College semesters now entirely online, jobs from now on enforcing work from home routines with food delivery apps having a blast. Educating the anti-maskers couldn't be more paramount. It's almost as if 2020 has already taken it too far with no intention of stopping. Dealing with death would now be more normalized. With everything that's happened, life now basically just feels all about survival. It makes me question if we are just a little world in an alien's snow globe where he orchestrated everything for his science project where he crossed his to-do list for the world and has just kept us on the top of his shelf with a ribbon next to it. It's time for us to carpe diem each day as each day is uncertain. Get that certification, get the job, and accomplish as much as you can because this is the new normal, and this new life is here to stay.