24 May 2020  |   03:23am IST

The abnormal new normal is here

As literally the entire labour and boots on the ground workforce leaves Goa, the state will have to add another item to the growing list of abnormalities which will become normal- functioning without hands to till the land, pluck produce on the trees, bring in the fish catch, deliver bread and so on. The new normal also includes many changes in our social behaviour, customs, and etiquette as we embrace the new world of dealing and living with COVID-19
The abnormal new normal is here

Ajit John

A young lady from abroad who lives here and whose work involves meeting people and forging connects and relationships asked a group of friends in the middle of a quiet afternoon chat “I’m so baffled. When we meet people, the natural instinct in Goa is for men and women to politely kiss. Now we hesitate. If the person is really known, a quick hug is natural. But what if there are others you don’t know. Is a handshake enough or nothing at all?”

This is not an ordinary dilemma in a state where social graces are important and natural. The very act of having to wonder how to greet a person, especially when people of opposite gender greet, does cause tension and strain to any Goans.

 

 

AROGYA: THE ONLY ‘SETU’ WHICH CAN BRIDGE YOUR DREAM & REALITY OF FLYING  

 

Then, flying will soon be a different experience altogether From the time you plan your journey  to its end, which could well be a quarantine center, the experience  will be fraught with tension

 

Yes, you need a ticket but before you do that, the Aarogya setu app will decide whether you get on that aircraft. If you are green as per that app, you are then safe to go.

 

WHEN YOU BOOK A TABLE, STATE BY WHEN YOU WILL LEAVE

Humans are social animals. They enjoy interacting with people in weddings, parties, product launches to name a few such occasions.  It can be safely said restaurants are going to be very different places now. Perhaps the seating arrangements will change. Or for that matter when one calls and books a table, there will be a certain amount of time which will be allotted to you and your partner. If you have booked a table for 9 o clock it will be available to you till perhaps 10.15. Perhaps the paying customer will think it makes better sense to pick up the food and eat it at home. Perhaps the time has come for meal kits. Meal kits provide the consumer with the opportunity to save money and have fun creating and cooking their favorite foods from their favorite restaurants. Groceries are now being delivered to residences by popular services which earlier delivered food from restaurants.        

The hospitality industry is now in deep comatose. Hotels are like deserted areas. In Goa, the landscape is littered with empty hotels with owners and senior management praying this period ends just like a bad dream would. Vincent Ramos, Area Director, Taj Goa , and General Manager, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa felt, it would be appositive change when the situation improved. He said “Social norms have changed and I feel it is for the positive. The government has come out with these standard operating procedures which we will all have to follow. Weddings will be allowed but now with fifty to a hundred people at the venue. Yes, everything has changed completely”.      

 

LIVE EVENTS WILL BE ‘DEAD’ FOR NOW

Craig Saldanha of EMC Event Management was of the belief that the curbs which were in place now would gradually wither away over a period of time. He said “Curbs have never stood the test of time. It will take a considerable period of time before we have another live event. Everything as we know is cancelled. I think restaurants and pubs will start operating first before live events start”.

 

TECHNO WEDDINGS WHERE THE BRIDGE, GROOM, AND GUESTS ARE ALL VIRTUALLY THERE

Another individual who was part of the wedding planning industry but has now moved on and does not want to be named said it would be very difficult to ascertain how the industry would be in the next couple of months because it would all depend on the laws in place. He was however willing to say that digital technology could perhaps play a very big role in the industry. This would however change the entire chemistry of the event. Look out for techno digital weddings where the bride, groom. the bridal entourage etc will all attend the wedding from different places, online.

Perhaps the words of Lovlita Mehta an event management professional based in Panjim will resonate with a lot of people who said “Our company is dead, everything is on hold, wedding ceremonies are on hold and people are looking for an opportunity to party. Events will happen, give it time, a lot of events will happen.  we also need to be smart and careful when we organise these events in the future”

 

WHEN FC GOA SCORES, DRUMMER CARLOS GONSALVES WILL STREAM LIVE PICTURES OF HIM BEATING THE DRUMS

Football matches might be played in a stadium without a crowd. Even the drummers and the cheerleaders will be in different places and link to the match telecast online

 

PHEW, THAT CRAMPED MIDDLE SEAT WILL ALWAYS BE FREE

Goa is a state that depends on the tourism industry. It has not been the best of times for a number of seasons and this virus has called it off completely. Earnest Dias, VP Kuoni Travel India admitted there were a lot of apprehensions when the virus first came. But now with procedures in place, the situation he felt was under control. He said “Earlier there was talk of not using the middle seat but now all that is talk of the past.”

 

FOR MEDICAL OPERATIONS, BE COVERED HEAD TO TOE AND EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN

But perhaps the biggest change will be in how we will all be treated for any illness. Dr. Shekhar Salkar   Consultant Oncology Manipal hospital said it was going to be a totally different world. Costs he said for medical help would increase. He said “We will have to wear all the protective gear. Even if you do the test, you may not harbour the virus but it will not be a hundred percent true. How are we going to test everyone in the country? It will take us twenty-five years to do so. 

We will have to follow the etiquette for the next three years for sure. Social distancing will be the new normal. You have to remember the strain in every country is different. So, an antidote that works in America may not work here. Sanitation will have to be very important in our country and the slum areas will have to be an area of focus. Everything has changed and the way we have lived cannot be continued”

The Coronavirus has may have forced many of us to totally online. But it has also brought many of us to get in line, for a more regulated life.

 

IDhar UDHAR

Iddhar Udhar