We know most of you all out there are yearning for things to become normal. Being cooped up 24/7 is not easy, and it’s taking toll on relationships as well. Lubna Jerar Naqvi is not finding it fun, either; here is her take on life in the lockdown. Enjoy!
Everyone is talking about how the world will change because of the novel Coronavirus, also popularly known as COVID 19. Life, as we know it, will be changed forever – but this is not the first or last time that we will have to adapt anew. It happened after the first and second world wars, industrial revolution and the internet revolution.
Being locked in the house with the family is lovely, and we have short intervals of loving it. But, like everyone, most of our time is spent trying to avoid the family as much as possible. When we were online, at least we could mute each other – not that I don’t love my family, they are my world. But you can have too much of a good thing, too.
Even if the most amorous lovers like Romeo and Juliet had been lock-downed together for weeks, we would have seen a very different end to the story. They would have either killed each other or bid each other adieu.
The title of the story would have been ‘Romeo and Juliet – The Cabin Fever days’ instead of Romeo and Juliet.
So, yes, the world has changed and we will adapt to it as we always do.
For now, as I work from home like a lot of others around the world, I am developing links with them that I think I had lost due to my hectic work schedule.
Now that I am at home, with the euphoria of bonding with the family already over, I realize I am working more than when I was before the lockdown. Pre-Coronavirus, I did some chores in the morning before going to work, paid bills, got the groceries, picked and dropped things and children – the norm.
Now, I am doing all that, and then some. I am cleaning, washing, dusting and even cooking (groans from the family. Well, I have news for them, they may not like my cooking but that’s all they are getting, until we think it is safe to order – so there! And I am the parent).
My duties also include other chores around the house I didn’t know existed - the housewife/homemaker role. Of course, my mom is doing most of the things but I am burdened with the ‘Baji, should I do this? Baji, where should I put this?’ chore from the helper.
And when I manage to do away with that, I have to play referee to my grown-up kids. Yes, parents, they never grow up. I was on an online panel and I had to tell my kids to zip it – no fighting, no quarrelling, no passing by in the background and definitely no looking into the screen to see if I am talking to khala, mamoo, taya, chachi - unless I invited them to.
My mom cannot understand why any of my work-related people would want to video chat with me. And she peers into the screen from behind the camera, fortunately, never seen on camera – so far.
Coming back to the lockdown, it has changed everyone and everything. I have seen booklovers getting sick of them. Binge watchers are watching other things like the outsides through their windows, oohing and aahing about the beautiful sunlight, trees or just the traffic on the road.
One person in my house - who shall remain nameless - plays board games, especially Ludo at least 70 percent of the day. If no one agrees to play with them, their game goes on with ‘invisible’ partners.
I am beginning to think we are in a horror story where the kids have imaginary friends who are real.
Another member of my family is pursuing higher education and will graduate with a doctorate from the USMMD – the university of social media, misinformation and disinformation. This particular person is currently working on a research on whether coronavirus is manmade, natural or inflicted upon us by some alien species.
One early morning, this person intercepted me as I sluggishly walked to the TV room telling me that a Nobel winner doctor had said that the coronavirus was “not natural”. “Why would he be lying?” I was asked.
Gleefully, I was told that the Nobel winner Japanese physician Tasuku Honjo, the 2018 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, had said he will give back the Nobel if his theory is wrong.
I inquired where this information was ‘posted’ – I knew it was a social media nugget of knowledge. “YouTube!” I didn’t take the bait because I have learned by the now not to contest the claims made by the social media platform scholar without solid proof.
After a short search, I found out the truth that this was indeed a fake claim https://factcheck.afp.com/nobel-laureate-tasuku-honjo-refutes-false-quote-attributed-him-about-novel-coronavirus and just another addition to the long list of misinformation and disinformation being put out in the cyber world.
My other concern is that by the time the lockdown ends, my kids are going to be changing their line of education and future professional goals.
One is going to become a sniper and a member of a special ops team that conducts strenuous stunts. These claims of committing physical feats in the real like the Avatar in the cyber world from a couch potato – who finds it difficult to get up twice within a span of a day without resting – who is super fit in the game the team plays in!
The second one has a choice of either being a sniper, car thief or serial killer. But knowing the introvert composition of this one, I am sure none of these will be selected as a profession as it means coming in contact with real humans.
The third will become a TikTok personality – with 12.5 followers; the 0.5 is actually me because I have followed but don’t have time to check anything on this platform.
The youngest will either sue or be sued by a famous social media artist or performer. If you have the courage to tag to a rich and famous social media personality - who is earning millions from their performance on these platforms – telling them that the style of dance that she has created and performed is all wrong. And then not even leaving it at just that, but posting a video besides her video, telling her the mistakes which she had made in her video.
And, finally, we have the potential cyber victim family member, who falls for every online scam ever created. Fearing the worst, I have already warned that many scammers are looking for victims and will share different things to get your attention and then your info. They will use your vulnerabilities against you, so beware.
Short of making a flow chart, I have explained to potential cyber victim family member that the State Bank of Pakistan - let alone the World Bank & IMF - does not have time for personal calls, SMS/WhatsApp or emails to chat and also mention that they are informing the customer that their account is vulnerable.
And no, UN Secretary-General António Guterres does not need your bank number or ID card number to shift funds to help victims of Covid-19.
Ok, have to go … my mother is peering in from the side of the screen, and I can hear my kids’ shouts in the distance, but they are coming closer, so really have to go now.
Hope to see you on the other side of the lockdown, healthy and happy.