Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXXI No. 2, May 1-15, 2021

Short ‘N’ Snappy

– (Wo)MMM

Living with the Corona virus

Last year, The Woman from Madras Musings had been rather optimistic about 2021. Like many, she nursed hopes that we would leave the worst of the pandemic behind as we stepped into a new year, better informed and better equipped to fight the virus. However, it looks like the war against COVID-19 will rage on for the foreseeable future. We must learn to live with the coronavirus until the tide turns, and so, (Wo)MMM has made a useful list of lifestyle trends for our readers to follow.

1. Masks are in

Face masks are quite possibly the trend of the decade; you could be wearing exclusive, high-end fashion, but the ensemble will fall flat in the public eye if it’s not accompanied by a face mask. It has to be a proper one, too – no hankie or saree pallu can actually replace a proper mask. There’s little reason not to buy a good quality mask – they come in a rainbow of colours and patterns suited for every pocket, so you’re sure to find ones that suit your aesthetic and budget. The kid down the street from (Wo)MMM has a supervillain face mask that she is frankly quite jealous of, even though she’s a little too old to wear it herself.

It goes without saying that masks must be worn properly, of course, so that they cover the nose and mouth in entirety. Anything else looks plain weird – masks are simply not meant to cover your chin or dangle from one ear. They look much cooler when worn properly, to be honest – you wouldn’t catch a ninja with a slipshod mask, would you? Remember, when it comes to masks, conformity is hip.

2. Social distancing is in vogue

Gone are the days when hugs and air kisses signalled sophistication. Today, the chic thing to do is to maintain a physical distance from others. In these touch-taboo times, the ways of our elders are making a comeback – for instance, a simple namaskaram serves to establish politeness quite effectively.

Further, it’s considered rather gauche to be seen seated close to another in a public space, especially in a closed enclosure – it is generally recommended to maintain a two-arm distance. In fact, the best thing to do would be stay home and head outside only for essential work. We live in the digital age, after all – you know you’re with the times if you log into Zoom to catch up with friends or watch a movie on Netflix.

3. Kindness and empathy are cool

Perhaps the hottest trend of all, being considerate to others is more important than ever right now. Your brand of kindness is all yours – you can make it as simple or elaborate as you want, it will be stylish just the same. You can choose to forego watching a much-awaited movie in the theatre; check in on the elderly or vulnerable in your locality; or donate to a trusted NGO helping people who need support in these times. Every little bit helps.

Living with the coronavirus isn’t easy. But tough times call for tough people, to paraphrase an old adage. (Wo)MMM has every faith that we can beat this scourge together.

Hitchcock’s Birds, Chennai style

The Woman from Madras Musings was enjoying the morning coffee when the pater-in-law made an entrance with a spring in his step. It transpired that he had noticed a dog following a terrified pedestrian on our street and helped chase it away with a shout of warning. Good deed done for the day, the pater-in-law turned his attention to the newspaper, quite self-satisfied.

The canine in question was actually a familiar dog on our streets. It had never gotten up to mischief as far as (Wo)MMM knew; this sinister stalking behaviour was rather uncharacteristic of the animal. The pater-in-law’s theory is that public activity has reduced so much that our street dog is going behind anyone it sees in a desperate bid for company.

It got (Wo)MMM thinking – while she can’t speak for other animals, she has noticed bolder behaviour from the city crows in recent times. It was just the other day, in fact, that (Wo)MMM found herself in the unwelcome company of a crow which had hopped onto the garden table seeking to share a plate of biscuits. (Wo)MMM had no intention of doing so, of course, but it held (Wo)MMM with a glittering eye with the head cocked to one side, completely unconcerned by all the frantic hand-waving and shouting. In the end, it took three biscuits to get it to leave (Wo)MMM in peace.

Truth be told, (Wo)MMM has always harboured a deep distrust of Chennai crows. While the aforementioned incident was the closest shave she’s had with these bally birds, there have been enough instances in the past to justify the suspicion she views them with. The crows of Stella Maris College for example, were particularly infuriating as (Wo)MMM remembers them. They were not scared of the students at all, hatching multiple plots to sneak away lunches and snacks with alarming success. (Wo)MMM once saw a flying crow land upon a friend’s head presumably to rest its wings before flying away to a branch. The whole thing was quite terrifying.

Once – and (Wo)MMM swears that this is a true incident, unbelievable as it may sound – a crow flew into
(Wo)MMM’s car as she was driving down the Marina beach road. (Wo)MMM had woken up early that day to take a drive with the nephew, so she had let down the windows to enjoy the cool morning breeze. God knows what possessed that blighted bird, but it flew in through the driver’s seat without warning and – again, this is pure, unfiltered truth – sat in the back seat.

(Wo)MMM had just received her driver’s license at that time. She was quite new to this whole business of driving a car and the crow in the backseat did nothing to boost her confidence. Gathering her courage, (Wo)MMM drove into a side street and calmly stopped the car before making a quick escape from the car along with the nephew. The crow was still visible in the backseat, likely expecting to move along again soon. It was gravely mistaken, of course. (Wo)MMM collared the first gentleman to come walking along, entreating him to remove the crow from her car. Though it took him a few minutes to comprehend the matter, the gentleman was admirably efficient; he strode to the car without a word of protest, opened the back door and removed the crow with the flair of a VIP releasing doves at the Olympics.

(Wo)MMM and the nephew were scarred for a few weeks after the event though; it was impossible to see a crow even in the distance without flinching.

(Wo)MMM hopes the lockdowns and quarantines are not emboldening the city crows. They’re fearsome beasts as it is and the last thing we need is a crow revolt on our hands.

Share Beware

The Woman from Madras Musings found it greatly amusing when last year, eager investors bought up shares of the wrong Zoom company, presumably wanting to cash in on the spiking demand for video conferencing software. Readers may remember that investors pushed up the stock price of the wrong company by about 1,800 per cent before the SEC stepped in to remove it from the stock market.

History repeats itself they say, but (Wo)MMM wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon. With medical oxygen in short supply, investors are seeking to purchase stocks in companies that serve the demand. Consequently, they’ve been buying up the shares of a certain Bombay Oxygen, to augment their portfolio. The company’s name belies its purpose however; it is a non-banking financial company and does not manufacture oxygen at all. That hasn’t stopped its share price from rocketing by more than 250 per cent in recent times – now that’s luck!

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