It’s been almost six months since we’ve been indoors, working from home, trying to make the most of our time, reinventing ourselves and consuming a lot more media. Whether it is Netflix, Prime or good old regular television for news, we’re definitely finding more ways to saturate our brains and continue surviving these unprecedented times. Everyone has been talking about media/ content fatigue, taking breaks from reading news completely and finding their mental peace.
This pandemic lockdown started with a whole lot of panic, anxiety and uncertainty. As the weeks went by, we became used to the news – rising numbers, the vaccine race, the irresponsible country leaders, the migrant crisis. We focused on health for once as a race, locked ourselves in for the larger good. We praised the bravery of the essential service persons, we finally understood the plight of the medical fraternity, and the household struggles of the everyday homemakers. We all found ways to cope but some of us never really changed.
From health sensitivities we quickly moved back into our routines of patriarchy, slandering, witch hunts and selling out morals for justice. Any crisis brings along mental and psychological impacts with it and most of us don’t know how to deal with them. We, as a group, have become greedy for distractions and drama but we need relatability. So we lapped up the bullshit of Bollywood mixed with politics.
“With great power, comes great responsibility”, this dialogue from Spider-Man could not have been more appropriate to use here because our power of technology, knowledge, accessibility and cognitive thinking comes with its own set of responsibilities. Reading is your power; checking, verifying, and refraining from spreading hate is your responsibility. There have been multiple news stories from Covid-19 to border unrest, suicides, democratic rights infringement, and increased discriminatory agendas.
During the last few months, all sections of this society have been affected. The migrant workers suffered from lack of choices, small businesses suffered for lack of access to financial aid and affected operations, content creators suffered due to banned apps and limited opportunities, employees faced mass exodus’s, TV and film industry labour suffered due to paused projects, and the list definitely goes on. A lot of people have been hit financially and mentally, unfortunately a lot of them have given up their lives; every other day I read about a Hindi TV actor, or from the Kannada or Telugu industry who made that decision for themselves.
Every time there is a media circus created that starts feeling way out of proportion, I start distancing myself from all the narratives and take a step back. Even if it doesn’t necessarily affect me, our society is consuming this content and making up their minds, forming opinions and taking sides. I realise I cannot always survive in a void of my own, so I need to be informed; not necessarily have an opinion on either side – but be aware of my objective view point. Therefore, I spend more time reading than speaking, observing rather than participating in the debate. Because I don’t always need to pick a side but I need to reason with myself why I chose not to.
And just to bring things back into perspective, we’re still far from the pandemic being over, the cases are still rising, precautions are still required and masks are for the larger good, wear one before you step out every time.