• 11 Jul - 17 Jul, 2020
  • Ayesha Adil
  • Fiction

Blog entry 105: Life is all about adapting and evolving. If you don’t evolve you’re dead, wiped out, redundant. You cease to exist as a member of the human race or animal kingdom. With the onset of the Corona virus a large part of the world population had to adapt to the technological world around them. Employees who hadn’t used a computer ever in their lives now had to not only acquire the gadgets but also learn to use them all in a fast forward mode. No excuses, no mistakes; if you wanted to hold on to your job you had to take that quantum leap, like it or not.

Pakistan is still a very largely paper based society when it comes to the workplace environment but like I said earlier with the impending threat of losing their jobs and their positions people had to be pushed to become technological in not a matter of days, but in some cases in a matter of hours, which is very commendable considering many of them didn’t even own an android phone until now.

So, how did this happen so quickly and efficiently I ask? I think we owe a lot of credit to the youngsters amongst us, the generation that was born into technology and understands its different shades like the back of their hands. So yes, now that kid staying up late in the nigh on his computer or cellphone saved the day. Not every super hero wears a cape comes to mind.

Like I said earlier, who taught them all of this in the blink of an eye? Their children! The youth of our nation. I think we owe far more to the youngsters in this time of crisis than we are ready to admit. They, the youngsters in every household helped set up the systems necessary for their grownups to begin their “work from home journey” and to once again become useful members of the society.

Was it a painstaking process, I’m sure it was. But it was a labour of love from both ends. The grownups knew that this was the one terrain that they were avoiding like the plague, pun not intended; but now had to cross over and embrace with their full heart and mind no matter what. And the children realised that if not now than when. They had to make their elders self-sufficient because that’s where the bread and butter were coming from. It wasn’t about gaming and social media anymore, it was survival.

I think everything happens for a reason. There is a certain glory attached to how the youth raised to the occasion in such a selfless way.

Whether it was downloading apps or creating accounts, it was the youth that made it happen. Universities, colleges and schools all converted into online and virtual places of studies and once again the balls of academia and commerce started to roll.

With this transition, it also came with some horror stories. The essential mute and video button, nothing less than the red button heralding the nuclear bombing of the world. If left on it could be the source of immense stress and far more embarrassment than you can ever imagine or care to. So, once those apps were downloaded, make sure you understood the use of those two buttons.

Since the lockdown, we’ve been reading and watching stories of all kinds where the webcam was left on or the mute button was on unmute, in fact in all honesty, we’ve actually enjoyed some hilarious bloopers. I know you all can relate and really want to forget those incidents rather than recounting them. But did we experience some moments of absolute shock? Moms yelling at kids, dads foolishly having meetings in the bathroom with all the sound effects on full volume because the mute dial was left on.

I think it’ll make for some interesting stories to tell our future generations someday.

As a generation we will laugh over these moments, days and months later, but on the spot these were incidents when we really wanted to die. I don’t think any of us had the courage to face our peers after such ridiculous happenings. But then, a new day emerged and we were ready for some more, stupid stuff and much more!

The virtual world is not without its pitfalls we learnt the hard way.

My mind trails back to how it all started. How we jumped the band wagon of the remote lifestyle.

We weren’t stocked with the gizmos we needed and with the lockdown happening so suddenly many of us had to beg or borrow or invest in ridiculously expensive things bought online. Then, securing the right net connection ate up our budgets too. Also, setting up our schedules to suit work and home life. All that adapting didn’t come without some heartache or tears and funds.

But adapt we did. (Did we have another choice?)

However, now that we’re here I think the greatest challenge is going back to the new norm. Very soon the lockdown will be lifted and we’ll be expected to return back to some degree of normalcy. Fawad has already started work and other places are also opening up albeit gradually. There is a new wave of adapting to come our way. Late nights, lazy mornings and long afternoon naps have become habits that will be hard to break. We’re really not ready for that life again are we?

Even though we miss the “good, old days” a tiny part of us all want to continue in the same way given the time and effort invested in adapting to this life. It took us so long and hard to get here and now very soon we’ll have to turn back the clock? Tick tock, tick tock.

Let time stop.

Another reason why we are so reluctant to return to that life is the fact that there isn’t “that life” out there anymore. The simple act of buying groceries is so daunt with stress and perils that one would rather stay home. A lot of people are ordering online. They aren’t even stepping outside at all. There is the danger of the early onset of paranoia in so many of us but then, again the media has made sure that better suffer from paranoia than Covid. Everything is different now.

Life as we know it no longer exists. No longer will we sit at cafes and enjoy happy meals with family or friends. When will we be able to get out for a quick breakfast with colleagues before heading out working? No more casual walks in the park or late night movies at the cinemas. Everything is covered with a mask and everything else around us is unsanitary and germ infested. Nothing is carefree or fun anymore. Nothing is the same anymore. It’s like an apocalypse without the zombies, but it feels the same. It feels alien and it feels unhomely. Covid-19 took away more from us than we are ready to admit. It took away our lives in the metaphoric sense. It took away our rhythms.

So, where do we go from here? Stuck in some strange unknown limbo. Where do we go from here?