Witerati: My Big Loud Indian Boom on Zoom
The ‘Virtual as the New Real’ narrative has been unveiling a comic sub-narrative – the Big Loud Indian Cross Talk Boom on ZoomUpdated: Sep 12, 2020 22:38 IST
Cross firing. Cross boundaries. Cross Limits. It sure is a season that is seeing all sorts of crossing – from crossing of borders to Corona crossing the million or trillion mark to Trump, Tractors (tinsel town ones razing star offices) or Tirades (in Sushant sleuthing opera) crossing limits.
Interestingly, as a subtext of the Lockdown and Unlock narratives, there has been another ‘cross’ action that has gone unsung. And it is being staged by none other than New Normal’s Digital Living Room – Zoom.
It’s called the Great Indian Cross Talk Boom on Zoom.
There is recession left, right and centre – in the economy at the macro level, in its malls, multiplexes or migrants’ livelihoods at the micro level; recession has not even spared the New National Lower Dress of India Unlocking, for under the visible elitism or formalism of white-collared shirts for #WFH webinars, there lurk the lower wear’s invisible receding hemlines – micro minis or micro shorts.
Ah, but there’s one place that is showing signs of zero recession – The Big Loud Indian Boom on Zoom.
Coming to the cross talk, it could be happening on any stage – the bedroom-turned-into-WFH office, balconies-turned-into-Lockdown’s Living Rooms, or crammed Condo life’s common corridors doubling as the new Pandemic’s Parks for Perambulations.
The Great Indian Cross Talk Boom on Zoom is to the ‘Virtual is the New Real’ narrative what cross caterwauling among primetime panellists is to an Arnab Goswami studio.
If you’ve been a Couch Potato-esque spectator to an Arnab show – Arnab and panellists all jibber-jabbering at cross purposes like amplified All India Radio shows stranded on or straddling jumbled airwaves – you’ll get a drift of the overlapping sub-narratives on Zoom, Google Meet & Co.
Who better to bear testimony to it than our Lollitas, Lamba jis & Lally jis!
Of pay cuts & peanuts
Picture scenario One. Lollita is lolling in the living room, smartphone in hand, wish-list in the head and frown on the forehead, tapping the touchscreen fast and furious. Fast, because, on the one hand, she’s chattering into a Zoom call with her literati gang and with the other hand she’s frantically keying into the iPad her Long List of groceries, confectioneries or toiletries, to be appended to Lamba ji’s Long Short List for Big Basket. Furious, because of the insanely irritating responses she is begetting from Lamba ji, who is babbling on his Zoom with the office guy gang.
Lamba ji’s one ear encased in the earphone, the other earphone is levitating between a northern and southern latitude, thanks to his lackadaisical attitude. Lollita divines in it a sign from a cooperating Cosmos that he’s lending her an ear.
The conversation could be trundling on these lines:
Lollita lulls her lungs to a whisper between her Zoom call, “Are these on the Short List … Dried Red Chilli?”
“Oye Oye, Sheikh Chilli!” Lamba ji guffaws gregariously at some babbling bloke in his Zoom grid, thinking Lollita to be rambling to her literary gang, but treating her prattling as a prompting (with key words), to steer his Zoom chat.
“Do I keep this on my Long List … Masala peanuts?”
“Peanuts … that’s what my poor, pandemic pay slip looks like!” Lamba ji lapses into a lament about recession on his Zoom, not forgetting its fallout on the density of his cranial crop.
“Dranex … Will ‘one’ instead of ‘two’ drain cleaners do?” Lollita whispers aside again.
“Damn Downsizing! How our lifestyles are going down the drain!” Lamba ji babbles his boom into Zoom.
The curious case of “Honey, I shrunk the Long Short List.”
Of Pandemic’s Parks & Crammed Corridors
Picture Scenario Two. Lollita steps out on the seventh floor of their sky-rise into the common corridors, the Pandemic’s new parks.
She’s hoping to kill two birds with a stone – catch up with cousins on Zoom and bestir bloating limbs into downsized Zumba.
Behold, at the same time, the neighbouring Khullar jis, Khanna jis & Co sprint out on a similar mission, except they’re not only killing two birds with a stone, but doing bit of “bird” watching, too.
“How I needed to stretch my feet!” Lollita chirrups into Zoom.
“Five feet … chalegi chalegi,” Khullar ji jibber-jabbers into his Zoom call.
“Sweetie, that deal, did you manage to close it?” Lollita asks her corporate cousin.
“Close … Come close … give me a better view,” Khullar ji coos, ostensibly into Zoom.
Lollita goggles at him with a glare as glacial as the Gangotri glacier.
“These creeps, my foot!” Lollita thunders, half into her Zoom grid.
“How many foot?” Khullar ji persists in prodding his property dealer for ‘specs’, as Lollita slips from the scene.
The curious case of “Honey, I shrunk (away) from the Grids!”