Epiphoney Columns

The 2021 to-do list

What’s redundant?   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This virus has not only taken away lives and livelihoods, it has made even the staunch right question their self-elected government — which is currently facing a PR crisis of the times.

But I promised myself to not add to the negativity through my column. Instead, here are five skills that were hitherto indispensable but, once this whole episode ends, I will shed and leave behind. In the future that awaits us, they will be as redundant as our elected leaders. Sorry, last one.

1. Self grooming: No point following the CTMP skincare routine (that’s cleanse-tone-moisturise-protect for the cave dwellers). Or showers, for that matter. There will finally be an upside to smelling like a walrus’ fart — not only will it lead people to automatically socially-distance, I will also become a mobile rapid-test kit because if someone can’t smell me, they’ll know they’re Covid-positive. Further more, think about the money and water saved and all that chemical waste not being poured into nature.

2. Ironing/polishing shoes: From denouncement of inner hygiene to outwardly appearances, I commit; half-baked is not for me. If I can’t be bothered with filing my nails or even removing the dirt underneath, ironed attire or glaçage-finished shoes will become far lesser worries. Anyway, with all work and meetings going virtual there’s only so much one can be judged by their thumbnail image on an outdated laptop camera transmitted over a patchy 4G network. Just put up a picture from your wedding album which was possibly the last time you were properly dressed or, better yet, create an avatar because somehow 2020s is the new 90s.

3. Dining etiquette: Fine dining was already a dying indulgence, even among the decadent as the ED got all serious about unpaid heavy borrowings to lead lavish lifestyles. Add to this the fact that post-Covid nobody will know the precise order of the courses of a classical French meal. Napkins would be redundant since we all wear dark coloured shorts all the time anyway. Even famous chefs by now would have a repertoire that’s limited to sourdough crepes and instant noodles which they made a 100 times for their social media page.

4. Social chit chat: My recent in-depth research, which took all of two hours late last night, concluded for me that I never really enjoyed people. The solitude these lockdowns have afforded me have also left me with a deep sense of satisfaction, and the realisation that, when it comes to usefulness or meaningfulness, most humans can’t hold a candle to a puppy. As I renounce society, with it will go the need to speak politely, sensibly, with intonations and pauses, or at all. Limiting all interaction to deadpan poker-faced factual exchanges will mean that we have no more need to ask about the weather, the partner, the babies, or the last vacation. In case I ever miss random people trying to sound wise and talking endlessly in a dull drone with the conversation going nowhere in particular, I’ll just log on to Clubhouse.

5. Boy scout skills: At school camp-outs, I was useless at lighting a fire by rubbing two stones. It was a rubbish skill and yet they made me feel bad about it. So what if you can read a map or chart a course by looking at the stars? Will it help you find the nearest parking spot to the mall entrance? Early May, I managed to confirm three vaccine slots within the span of one week. Who’s better equipped for the urban jungle now? Going ahead, we all will need new scout skills — like buying the right size of bedsheets online, rationing the alcohol and mixers so they run-out in-sync, and finding innovative ways to crowd-share Netflix passwords without having to upgrade the account.

This column is for anyone who gives an existential toss.


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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 1:21:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/the-2021-to-do-list/article34667760.ece

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