Has The Pandemic Wrought Any Positive Changes?

Today’s topic is the brainchild of Shackman who I know has had a great deal in mind and life during the pandemic as I am sure that all of us have had too.

In my case, at the individual level some positive changes that took place are the following;

1. I recommenced Jala Neti as recommended by some doctors who I trust.

I however use an old trusted vessel which I had stopped using some years ago.

2. I recommenced Pranayama exercises as part of my daily yoga routine.

3. I rescheduled my morning routine to accommodate these changes and now follow a different one than I was following pre-pandemic. This change has improved my digestion and sleep and overall wellbeing.

I am convinced that I escaped the annual tryst with the seasonal viral infection that I undergo every winter last year due to the above changes. That was the biggest gain that I had during these different times.

At the macro level, some positive changes that I have noticed personally are:

Return of some types of birds to my neighbourhood that had disappeared till last year.

Improved quality of air due to reduced traffic on our roads.

Thanks to the pandemic to some extent and its belligerence on our borders, our dependence on China has reduced considerably and local enterprises are rejuvenating to fill the gap. This in turn has contribute to our economic recovery for the IMF to predict that India will grow at and astounding 12.5% this fiscal.

Reduced consumption of oil has brought prices and demand down and people everywhere are finding that they can live differently and a better life.

Working and studying from home has brought about a paradigm shift in our approach to employment and education. Quite how this will pan out in the future is yet to be seen but, having tasted the simplicity and efficacy of these developments, there is bound to be major shifts.

Hygiene’s importance in our lives has been driven home more strongly than ever before by the practical experience of the pandemic.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 3 On 1 blog posts where Conrad, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to the other two blogs to see what they have to say on the same topic. Thank you.

Consumerism.

1. Organised-efforts by individuals, groups, and governments to help protect consumers from policies and practices that infringe consumer rights to fair business practices.

Consumer protection in India is very strong for those who are willing to take the pains to fight for their rights. I know a number of cases where the consumers have won big settlements from large corporations here and I am sure that it must be the same overseas as well.


2. Doctrine that ever-increasing consumption of goods and services forms the basis of a sound economy.

and 3. Continual expansion of one’s wants and needs for goods and services.

This is something that has overtaken us human beings from the time of the Industrial Revolution which was speeded up from after the second world war when it was discovered that women could also come into the non agricultural workforce. Rather than expand on what has happened elsewhere in the world, let me concentrate on India where we got out of the Socialistic Pattern of Society in the 1990s of the last century and got royally involved in the rat race.

The one word mantra is Growth.  Everyone and his uncle obsesses about growth.  If the GDP growth gets below a certain percentage point, all hell breaks loose and the pundits start baying for the blood of the politicians. And such growth can only come from demand for goods and services constantly increasing to facilitate production of goods and services. So, businesses have come up with the brilliant strategy of advertising overt and covert to keep the demand pot simmering and producing goods and services highly subject to obsolescence so that replacement demand also takes place besides demand for new goods and services.

To facilitate that process, financial institutions get on the bandwagon and offer products, read loans, to make borrowing attractive so that people are perpetually in debt often just meeting interest payments without the original borrowed sum ever reducing at all. Another phenomenon that one can watch is that of the debt servicing going up for individuals as their incomes go up too! A self perpetuating cycle that leads to many of the modern ills.

I am glad to report that I do not contribute to the growth of our GDP. I am in the process of simplifying my life to the extent I can by becoming a minimalist. I refuse to be swayed by advertising for goods and services though I am sucker for advertising for movies and books. In the latter case however, I prefer buying a kindle version and buy hard copies only when I cannot get an electronic version. I however doubt that my splurging on these two items will seriously impact our GDP, the current growth of which is 7.3%, among the highest in the world!

I had suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.