Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXX No. 2, May 1-15, 2020
Enough is Enough
At a time when people are dropping dead owing to this virus, there is a whole host of people going live on social media. The Man from Madras Musings notices that anything and everything is grist to their mill – haircuts, washing vessels, cooking, workouts, yoga sessions and much more. MMM realizes that he should be thankful these publicity stunts don’t have anything of a more intimate nature.
That these are mere stunts MMM has no doubt about, for he is of the view that all of these people, celebrities every one of them in their own right, have been so much in the limelight that they cannot imagine life outside of it. Which is why all these desperate attempts. But MMM has to give it to them – they being masters of how to appear before the camerathey manage to make most of these shows as aesthetic as possible. That cannot be said of the mango people as a politician’s son in law, (or was it brother in law?), described the rest of us. Taken up by the rich and famous going live, a whole lot of others have decided to follow suit. Unfortunately, cameras pointing up nostrils, lighting more noticeable by being absent, and singing offkey do not make for good programmes. But if people are willing to make public displays of themselves, who is MMM to complain?
And then we have the grim left wingers who have long ago given up on smiling. To them doom is always around the corner and even the thought that it is already upon us does not get them to bare their teeth. This lot, who probably cannot detect humour even if it is served up to them on a plate, go around trashing anything and everything. If someone put up a video of some food item they cooked, the immediate response is about how insensitive the whole thing is considering that so many others are starving. True, but cook shows have always been around haven’t they? As has starvation. While not for a moment condoning the insensitivity given the times, MMM must point out that these displays of food are not in any way stopping the flow of relief to the deserving. So why not just accept these culinary displays as another aspect of life’s infinite variety? By the way, MMM has been asked by many as to why he does not go live – watering plants, being kind to dogs, looking happy among flowers, etc. but he has chosen to resist this temptation thus far.
He did however accept a couple of invitations to talk online. MMM did not realise that he would have a kind of ringside view of most participants and was rather shocked to find that many of them, chiefly male, turned up in sleeveless vests and were not above scratching themselves. Some lounged about in bed and sofas and kept lifting their arms. It was enough to put MMM off for life. The women, and in this the lady from Lancashire who once took umbrage over MMM writing in such vein will forgive him, were better turned out but a couple were in their nightgowns, rather like Wee Willie Winkie of the nursery rhyme.
Like the go live shows, liked and hated in equal measure are these lockdown laughs – you know that perennial supply of jokes on life during lockdown. They had their heyday during the first three weeks and then even as the lockdown kept getting extended, people grew steadily tiredand have stopped circulating them. But while they lasted, they had a field day. Jokes about husbands learning to cook, women having to work from home, manage the kids and cook for them, the travails of washing vessels in the absence of domestic help, the queues in front of the few shops that have been kept open, and the non-availability of liquor have all circulated, been laughed at and gone. Now these is a sense of foreboding. It is like one of those wars that jingoists assure us is already won and then when it comes to the actual fighting you realise that the enemy is quite well equipped and not the walkover we thought they would be.
Be that as it may, MMM prefers these laughs any day when compared to those go live programmes. As is often said, laughter is the best medicine, and so may we have the courage to at least smile through these times.
Summer is here
The Coronavirus having hogged the limelight, the Man from Madras Musings notices that the arrival of summer has gone practically unnoticed. Where are those advertisements for holidays, summer camps for kids, cold drinks, prickly heat powder, refrigerators and air conditioners? And those standard celebrity stories on how they beat the heat? And those usual recipes of food items cooling to the system? All put in cold storage for the nonce.
Mind you, what with the so-called peak summer period already upon us, MMM feels that summer this year is milder than normal. It could be the lack of ambient activity, less pollution, no dust billowing about or it could just be that MMM being homebound has not noticed the steady rising of temperatures. But it is not just MMM- the mosquitoes, which normally beat a hasty retreat to the cooler climes of the Buckingham Canal at around this time are also of the same view, for they continue to hover around. Or perhaps they have taken a lesson from all that wildlife that is supposed to be wandering about cities all across the world if forwards on social media are anything to be believed.
Which brings MMM to yet another aspect – what happened to all those predictions that come summer the COVID virus would automatically bow out for it cannot proliferate then? On the other hand, it appears that in the last few days, just when summer officially arrived, the virus has gained strength. We are flooded with news reports of spikes, containment zones, hotspots and clusters. This appears to be a virus that is quite immune to any changes in weather patterns. And so MMM guesses that the hot-weather-will-end-COVID theory has to be consigned to the same bin where other cures – a cup of rasam, a clove of garlic, cow’s urine mixed with dung and other such quackery – already rest. MMM is quite sure that the next theory will be that the rains, when they come, will wash away the virus.
Actually, the interesting aspect is that quite a few people, who at one time confessed to MMM that they are jealous of children, lawyers and judges for having summer holidays, have come to rue the fact that they kept praying to be given one too. Now they have an extended break and yet they are unable to enjoy it – the endless round of household chores and the uncertainty over the future is destroying all the fun in this holiday. It seems that you just cannot win with this virus.
The city, the country and the world may be under lockdown but it is rather touching to realise that there are people out there who expect a printed copy of Madras Musings to be delivered at their doorstep no matter what, rather like the strange device Excelsior, which if you recall was borne amidst snow and ice. Why am I not receiving my copy of MM ask a few rather imperiously over email. To these the Man from Madras Musings has only one answer – we are under lockdown as a precautionary measure against a virus called COVID-19 (never heard of it? Good!). We will be back as soon as normalcy returns. Till then, read us online at www.madrasmusings.com and stay safe.