Delhiwale: A mask soliloquy
Face, what is it like? To make pandemic-era sense of our evolving bond with the ubiquitous face mask, we’re making mask-specific interrogations with fellow maskers. Here’s one with Nayan Sharma. A copywriter in a Gurugram-based education portal, the 21-year-old is currently working from home and was snapped on WhatsApp video, wearing a grey mask.
What’s your face like, without the mask?
I have looked at myself for all these years and yet never really looked at it. So I sent my pic to a couple of friends asking them how they would describe my features to a person who couldn’t see my face. One pointed out that I have a symmetrical face with “a very Roman nose”. Another said I have grim, contemplative eyes. And now I give my take—my face is long, with a wheatish complexion and a few moles. It is mostly symmetrical except for one eye that is slightly smaller than the other. I have a light stubble, a slim long nose, and brown eyes. I never cared for the shape of my lips but now I look at the mirror and they seem broad and even. To think of it, neither would I ever notice the lips of people in the BC (before corona) era, but usually I do remember the eyes of the people I meet. It’s a good thing masks aren’t covering our eyes.
What’s your personal history with masks?
I had to wear a mask as well as isolate myself for two months in 2019 when I was diagnosed with pleural effusion. Exactly a year later... déjà vu!
What kind of mask man are you — plain or bright colours?
Plain colours. I don’t use the mask to make any statement though it’s now a part of life.
Any work of art you identify with the mask?
‘In The Flesh?’ from the rock band Pink Floyd. It expresses the emotion of a person wanting to go out in the world but not being able to, and when they finally do, the world seems nothing like they would have imagined. All they see are cold eyes and disguises amid loud noises from all around.
How many masks do you own?