Used worldwide since the Stone Age, the Mask has been the coveted asset of high-profile criminals for concealing their identity, and a favourite of theatre artistes for acquiring a new identity to portray a particular character, like Kathakali dancers of Kerala. Even Jain Monks wore the masks so that they didn’t inhale micro germs floating in the air, out of compassion for all living beings.
And yes, young girls, too, have been using stylish and customized masks, as a fashion statement, to hide acne, pimples and wrinkles on their otherwise beautiful faces. Now, look at the parody. Covid-19 has made wearing a Mask mandatory for everyone irrespective of profession, age and sex, to save them from Coronavirus, especially when they are out and about.
But no one ever dreamt that the ubiquitous mask was going to be a disguised blessing for many people. So, don’t despair. Instead, count the blessings. It will cheer you up.
For meeting the sudden spurt in its demand, small units which had so far been making medical grade masks in limited quantity, became large-scale manufacturers overnight. But, the real windfall has been for the poorest of poor tailors sitting on pavements with their sewing machines to earn their livelihood.
Each one is now churning out thousands of cotton masks for the poor who couldn’t afford the expensive masks. Suddenly, mask making became a flourishing business for alleviating the poverty of poor tailors.
Along with Mask, wash your hands became a new war cry. But don’t get alarmed. Covid-19 is not pushing the world back into Dark Ages. Washing hands with soap, not with water only, as many times as you touch anything, is another effective measure to arrest the spread of Corona virus to a great extent.
And, the moment washing hands became obligatory, soap became a ‘must’ item for even poor households, in cities, small towns, and even villages, in fact, everywhere. And, equally suddenly, the soap witnessed an unprecedented demand. Existing soap manufacturing plants started running to their full capacity, in the process, doubling or trebling their earning.
The real benefit was, however, reaped by small soap making units. They sprouted allover to meet the escalating demand. Yet, another blessing in disguise of Covid-19; this time, for soap manufacturers!
Along with soap, came the Sanitizer on the scene. Because soap cleaned the hands by washing the dirt away, but Sanitizer killed the virus and bacteria also, hidden in millions of microscopic pores covering the skin.
As compared to soap, Sanitizer manufacturing was miniscule. But Covid-19 made it a mega business, with unprecedented production, and scores of never-heard companies cropped up for making Sanitizers.
And, Sanitizer became another money spinner business, yet another blessing of Covid-19.
Because of its role in disease prevention, non-observance of this injunction is mandatory, and also a penal offence not only in India, but all over the world.
But mavericks being what they are, have termed Social Distancing as a classy euphemism for the curt ‘don’t touch me’ diktat, going to the extent of asking others to maintain six feet distance so that even their shadow didn’t touch them.
And, the cynics went few more steps further by equating ‘Social Distancing’ with untouchability. To buttress their retrograde outlook, they cited with glee the landmark judgement of the Constituent Assembly of India which had declared untouchability unlawful, way back in 1949, much before the Constitution of India came into being.
But this ignorant tribe knows not that ‘Social Distancing’ has apprized the entire world of the ancient Indian culture of No-Contact greeting i.e. NAMASTAE with Folded-Hands. Kings and Queens, celebrities and commoners, everyone is now exchanging greetings with NAMASTAE, and also trying to say it;… haltingly;… with a cute baby smile.
We will say adieu to both Covid-19 and Shake-hands very soon. But our Iconic NAMASTAE will remain forever and forever.
*Satish Pandya is a veteran writer and has written hundreds of scripts for the Television during his active writing days. He has also published an anthology of short stories ‘Enlightened Souls’, an assortment of soul-searching stories of passion and compassion.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the author and do not reflect the views of raagdelhi.com which does not assume any responsibility for the same.