Covid has brought with it many unwelcome additions to our life. There is the constant mask-wearing which is challenging at the best of times but downright unbearable during the Indian summer. There is social distancing that has made hugs and even handshakes a distant memory. And then, most disquieting of all, is the constant fear that any of us may fall prey to the virus at any time.
And on social media, it has created a new subset of influencers, a po-faced bunch I have dubbed the ‘How Dare You’ brigade, who seem to exist only to berate people for trying to squeeze some joy out of life in the times of Corona.
You know who I mean. And I daresay, like me, you have run afoul of them on a number of occasions as well.
It doesn’t take much to trigger them. And, once triggered, they lose no time in telling you what an insensitive/entitled/elitist type you are for posting pictures of your holiday in the hills, your time at the beach, your adventures in the kitchen, your meal in a restaurant… I could go on listing all the many things they find offensive, but I am sure by now you get the idea.
In their view, posting pictures of your happy moments, of things that give you pleasure, is a slap in the face of all those who are struggling with life at this time. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that those people who are posting this stuff are also suffering in the same way. They are merely trying to search for some joy in a challenging world, to find a moment of happiness in a time of ineffable sadness, and celebrate it with their friends and followers on social media. It takes a breathtaking lack of imagination and compassion not to see that.
But the HDY brigade is too busy clambering on to the moral high ground to appreciate this. Once there, it spends all its time performing its How Dare You routine. How dare you go on holiday to a beach resort; don’t you know you are endangering the lives of the locals? How dare you post pictures of your three-course meal in a restaurant when the world is full of people who can’t get three meals a day? How dare you post make-up tutorials in a world where people are stuck at home all day? How dare you?
Well, I am here to tell them that I dare do all these things – and more. And that I am far from alone in being fed up with their joyless preaching from their vantage point on Mount Self-Satisfied.
So, here, in no particular order, is a short list of things that I will continue to dare to do.
• I will continue to document the mini-breaks I take on my social media feeds. I will post pictures of sunsets on a beach, rolling mists in the mountains, poolside barbeques, and more. And I will take satisfaction in the fact that not only am I doing wonders for my own mental health but I am also doing my bit (teeny-tiny as it is) for the travel and tourism industry that could use a break.
• I will continue to post my adventures in the kitchen, whether it is experimenting with baking (not one of my core competences), making Thai food, or just rustling up an aloo subzi with puris or a humble khichdi with chokha when I feel like comfort eating. And yes, I will post videos of my cooking, no matter how amateurish they seem to the rest of the world.
• I will continue to take pictures of every meal I eat in the restaurant – mostly because I am so excited that I get to do that again – and post them, no matter how humble or humdrum they may seem. So stay braced for endless posts of hamburgers and fries, pizzas, biryanis and even the odd sandwich.
• And last, but certainly not the least, I will continue to flood my timeline with selfies shot in locations that range from the banal to the sublime.
And as far as the How Dare You brigade goes, it can continue fulminating – and get off my timeline while at it.
The views expressed by the columnist are personal
From HT Brunch, August 8, 2021
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