The social narrative itself will need to change. Perceptions will have to alter. The frameworks of reference will have to shift

When information has reasonable chances of being accurate and comes from a knowledgeable source and that authority cannot be identified, it is customary to say that the information being provided is from a “reliable source.” Hence, as per usually reliable sources, so far as Covid-19 is concerned, the coming week-10 days are crucial to come to a reasonable conclusion on the trends of the pandemic.

Be that as it may, it is obvious that when the Coronavirus passes into the corridors of time, the kind of world which would then have emerged would not be exactly the same as the one which experienced the onslaught of the pandemic.

To put it simply, as has been pointed out by some thinkers, many in the world today are really in the mode of grieving the death of the normal; of life as we know it. Life no longer begins with the morning routine of rush or leisure, depending upon whether one is exercising or not. Breakfast doesn’t follow necessarily at the same hour and one is not rushing out of doors to take some transport/or drive to the place of work/school/college. The rest follows. There is no further rush in the morning. The upper three-four per cent of the Indian population may or may not be opening their computers, laptops or otherwise. There may or may not be a protocol to attend and there may or may not be a webinar or a briefing.

Couples who barely found time to catch up with each other’s welfare now have to spend all the time indoors. Sometimes there are dependents; the elderly or the young who are thrown into the mix together. Some are isolated alone, their lifeline cut off. Clearly these times do not fulfil a forecast. No book on futurology, no, not even the most accomplished soothsayers had forecast this pandemic.

The contradictions, as are usual in a time like this, are many. If one cleans the hands with sanitiser there is a television feature which warns against the skin going dry and the Coronavirus, even though dead, continuing to be lodged there with its own complications. The basic question remains to what extent is the cleaning of the hands with a sanitiser a valid and a safe hygiene effort?

Gloves have also been equally touted and warned about. Gloves are selling at a premium and even getting them is a problem because stirring out of the house may invite the wrath of the regulatory agencies who may not appreciate the legitimacy of a walk for gloves. Even the gloves obtained in such a manner draw a mixed reaction from commentators. There are features which say that even if you hold a headset with gloves it is possible that you may have touched your face with the glove covered fingers and the transference of the virus would has already taken place. The protocols of transfer vary in versions.

The list can be endless and if “commentary” is a legitimate exercise in the era of Covid-19 a rhetorical question would be acceptable because it is valid. The regulatory agencies would have an obligation to spell out some standards. The question remains about what parameters to use to recognise the valid use of gloves, sanitisers and masks? It doesn’t take a genius to answer this question. Obviously some common sense has to be applied. Only that “common sense” across 10 individuals need not necessarily have an algorithm.

When common sense varies from person to person then it may be valid to point out that it could become the basis of not so pleasant a conversation among people having to share the same space. Social systems could vary from one location to another because the people there would have variances in patterns of interpersonal relationships. This would lead to each cluster becoming like a “zoo of interpersonal relations”, bound by space and time.

The long and short of it is, some basics in hygiene, say of social distancing may need time for sociological platforms  to evolve, to an acceptable level of consensus. Till then, discussions, arguments and worse will become more common between two contending parties. Many sociologists will testify that this has a potential of turning into a very difficult social situation.

The ultimate resolution of the contending views in the preceding paragraph (and there are many others) will show that it is possibly a social tinderbox situation.

The challenges are so many and on so many fronts that any governance system will find itself stretched. The delivery systems will have their own overtones.

Perhaps, the social narrative itself will need to change. Perceptions will have to alter. The frameworks of reference will have to shift. One can no longer talk of being “stuck” at home. One should think of being “safe” at home. This is a new overtone for an experience which is unique. In the common parlance of human societal structure, it is lifestyles not only for work but also entertainment and often of rituals,that need a quick re-look.